Pongas Falls: One Mighty Sight and Uncaptured Moments

If you haven’t yet read our first taste of Sagada Adventure read about it here 🙂

After a hectic afternoon exploring the caves of Sumaging and Lumiang Cave connection, we were already doubting our capacity to trek to the falls the next day. We wanted to see Bomod-ok or the Big Falls but it was closed due to some event with the tribes. SAGGAS suggested Pongas Falls instead. It is one of the newest discoveries by the Association and they guarantee us another amazing experience of Sagada.

Our second day started with a hearty breakfast at the Yogurt House. Baba had Tapa meal and I choose the Hiker’s Breakfast which I can hardly finish!

Then we headed to SAGGAS office to check our scheduled trek to Pongas Falls. We opted for a jeepney ride to Suyo (southern part of Sagada) which is the jump off point of the trek. The guide fee for this site is P600 and a vehicle can be rented for P600 for convenience, but we did not think about our ride back to town and simply hopped on the top load of the jeepney bound for Suyo.

Trek starts at Suyo and we passed by the Sitio’s rice terraces where harvest time is happening. Our sourly guide said the trek will be about 1-1.5 kilometers across the rice fiels and will take on a rocky and slippery route.

first sight of waterfalls

Pongas Falls was indeed a magnificent sight to behold. It was a challenging and fun trek with an amazing reward. There were other traveler when we reached the site with whom we had friendly and funny exchanges. One thing we all agree on is that this site should never be missed by anyone visiting Sagada.

Our Sagada Adventures are soo sulit. We crave the thrill and the challenges of both the caves and the trek to Pongas Falls. I think surviving all these challenges together bonds us even stronger. We hiked back to Suyo mainroad and waited for something that will take us back to Sagada. Our guide was a little cranky because me and Baba were already considering just walking back (5km :D)

We waited and considered other options such as renting motorbikes, fortunately, Sagada MPS pick-up was in Suyo that time and allowed us to hitch hike. Me and Baba settled at the back and once again savored the sight of nature. Our guide was comfortably settled inside and had our camera with him so we didn’t have any pictures. Still we can’t help smiling at our fortune and the best memories we’d forever treasure in our minds.

Baguio Budget Escape 2: What Eats and Where To’s?

We surely had a blast on our Baguio Budget Escape Day 1, and the weekend was far from over. We woke up early the next day and prepared for our host – my housemate and Baguio resident Lalai with her son Kabay will take us to The Manor for a buffet breakfast which Baba and I promised in exchange for the free ride up and down the City of Pines.

The Manor, Camp John Hay, Baguio City

Lalai and her family took me to The Manor the last time I was stuck in Baguio so I was pretty excited to have another round of delicious breakfast meals in a beautiful location.

Breakfast Buffet Rates at The Manor are:

Adult : Php 550
Kids : Php 275

please make me an omelette with everything on it!
winner waffle with maple syrup and blueberry jam

Kabai with his fruit plate

Lai’s plate

We took turns at getting some time off and exploring the grounds of the hotel before we had our part 2 of the brekkie. We would love to spend an over night here on Baba’s next vacation.

the Manor

we love it here!

After a hearty breakfast, Lalai took us to Good Shepherd Covent in Mines View Park to buy a couple of Pasalubong favorites – the famous Ube Jam. There was a long line of customers so Baba and I decided to take pictures while we waited for Lalai to complete her purchases.

Good Shepherd Convent, Baguio City

From here, we passed by the Botanical Garden and the Mansion but we did not go down, instead Lalai dropped us off at our Inn to rest while the rain poured over the city. This trip was completely unplanned so Baba and I don’t have anything in mind to go to.

After our siesta, we then decided to take merienda-cum-early dinner and go to the Lourdes Grotto. I was still raining on and off so we just took a cab though we had some idea on how to go there already.

the Veniz Cafe

counted the steps up the Lourdes grotto

Despite our lack of planning, we thoroughly enjoyed exploring the City of Pines. We’ve both been here before but have not really explored the city, and now it felt really good getting lost and finding the right way together. We do plan to re-visit Baguio next year and maybe we’d be able take Teloy along with us then.

April 30-May2: Tagaytay/EK Weekend

April 30

After work, me, jane and azi decided to just meet up at Pasat/Taft terminal to catch the bus going to Tagaytay. Our friend Sheng is on vacation here in the Phil. and she wants to bond with the tropa. Sheng comes home for a month’s vacation every year and this year she decided to explore tagaytay and enchanted kingdom with her family and us, her friends.
We arrived late at Olivares and discovered that they are staying at Golden Rooms in Brgy. San Antonio. It was a few minutes drive to the tourist places. I think it very practical to just rent out these types of apartment when you are a big group because it is much cheaper and you are also allowed to cook your meals. The Golden Rooms charge P2500 per night stay on a room with 4 double beds. They also charge 250 for the LPG for the duration of your stay.

May 1 Saturday

Most of us woke up late because we missed each other so much and we had to update each other about the things that happened while Sheng was in Dubai. After lunch, the party decided to visit the people park in the sky (i forgot what the place was called). We started out late so this was the only place we were able to visit on this day. But it was good just spending the time with Sheng and her family.
May 2 Sunday : Enchanted Kingdom

When me and teloy came to this place last year, it was raining badly so were not able to enjoy much. This year, the weather was good, Teloy would have loved to run around the park but this time i don’t have enough budget to take him here. So i just rode all the rides i can.. This is a treat from Sheng and we also got to enjoy ice monster delights and pizza for lunch. The day ended with the party all tired and gas filled from all the screaming and shouting on the rides!
One of the best things in spending time with friends in carnival is the way it brought back the kid in us. It was fun playing around and forgetting all the grown up worries and problems for a while, after this we are all set again to face the challenges of the real world.

Anawangin: A Beach Camp Haven

(pic from: Virtual Tourist)

Anawangin has been very controversial for me. I’ve researched about it since last year as me and my officemates considered having a trip there. Due to some negative feedbacks and safety issues raised we decided to forgo it and just fly to Coron, Palawan.

Now after a year, I was invited to Anawangin and looking at the pictures and still remembering how people raved about it’s natural beauty, i was intrigued and decided to go.
However, this is not for pleasure and exploration, it was more of an “alila” trip which actually enjoyed. The four of us, titit, boyet, vhong and me were tasked to take care of 18 participants all throughout the trip. we don’t know their names but vhong handled everything – vehicle rentals, gas, food, resort stay in pundaquit for the 7 participants and boyet brought in 4 tents for the others who will be sleeping with us in Anawangin. All in all it was a pleasure and exploration trip for the participants without them having to worry about anything else.
Anawangin cove was thick with campers that weekend but we were able to camp in an area near a table, near the store, near the comfort room and near the deep well.
The participants were taken picked up in Binondo and others in Buendia. The trip to Pundaquit took about 3 or more hours. The boat ride to Anawangin cove was only 20 minutes. They were taken to Talisayin for a tour and brought back to Anawangin for lunch. After that they were toured around the cove and finally the 7 participants left for their resort in Pundaquit at 530 pm while the remaining rested in their tents. The next day, the participants were picked up from Pundaquit and from Anawangin and were toured at Capones Island for some photo-ops. The four of us brought their lunch at 1pm and then we all went back to Pundaquit.
The budget given to us by the organizer was only 2,500 each from the participants. But I discovered from one of the participants that they were asked for 3,800 each. This was quite disappointing because we where the ones who worked hard to provide the participants needs and comfort.
Still it was a good trip for me, though i wasn’t able to explore much of the cove and the island, i was still able appreciate the views and sights around me.
Anawangin trip for participants:
Transportation (Manila-Pundaquit)
Accommodations / Tents
Boat Ride (Pundaquit-Anawangin-Talisayin-Anawangin-Capones-Pundaquit)
Distilled Water
Food (Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch)

Travel Diaries: Coron, Palawan Trip, IT and Budgets

Coron Trip 3 Days and 2 Nights June 25-27, 2009
PAX: 5
Budget: 9000 Per pax 
Accommodations (Board, Lodging, Fees and Transfers) & Tours – 
Coron Village Lodge Tour Package III 6400
RT Tickets (Cebu Pacific Promo) 950
RT Terminal Fees 220
Pocket Money 1500
  1. 2 Days room accommodation (aircon, TV, hot & cold shower, T&B)
  2. 6 Meals & 2 snacks
  3. 1 Day island hopping for swimming, snorkeling, nature tour and adventure plus hot spring
  4. 1 Day Calauit Animal Sanctuary tour
  5. Entrance fees to tribal and private islands
  6. Services of a guide/ staff during tours
  7. Free- flowing coffee
  8. Airport transfers
  9. Tricycle transfers within the town
  10. Welcome drink.

Day 1
9:00 am
Off to the islands – Cayangan Lake , Lake Barracuda , Twin
Lagoon, Banol or Caliwantay Beach , Siete Pecados, Makinit Hot
5:30 pm
Back in town / free time
Day 2
4:30 am
Off to Calauit
7:30 am
Arrive at Calauit Animal Sanctuary after a 2 hour jeep or
van ride and a 10 minute banca ride across the channel.
8:30 am
Tour of the sanctuary by safari truck.
11:00 am
Early lunch
12:00 nn
1:00 pm
Travel back through Salvacion town. stopover for snacks.
4:00 pm
Back in town / free time
Day 3
6:30 am
7:00 am
Off to airport for trip back to Manila.

Reminders! (A series of Unfortunate events)
Check your Air tickets! LOL!! We missed the 9:05 flight to Busuanga and therefore had to buy another for the 2pm flight to Busuanga and shell off another P900. Instead of just having a light morning meal before the flight, we were forced to partake a ridiculously pricey lunch at Chaikofi while we pass the time and wait for the next flight to Busuanga.

Also, consider the weather, because of the apparent climate change I was confident that the rainy month of June will still grant us fair and travel friendly weather. Unfortunately, a typhoon came up early in the week made the flight to Busuanga a little shaky. When we were just about to land, the pilot’s voice started talking about coordinates and told us to look at the build up cumulo-nimbus clouds that is visible from where we are and goes all the way to Busuanga. After which, he announced that the plane has enough fuel to stay in our position for 30-40 minutes and wait for the “clouds” to disperse. So the plane just circled over the islands, islets and seas for what seemed like endless minutes until finally God heard our prayers and allowed us to land safely.
Busuanga Airport served the towns of Busuanga, Coron, Culion and Linapacan or the Calamianes Group of islands in the Northern part of Palawan. The town proper of Coron is on Busuanga mainland while there is also the Coron Island facing the town and can be reached by boat within 15 minutes.

Coron is still an hour away from Busuanga Airport; a van we shared with 6 or 7 other people that will stay in the lodge next to ours.  Coron Village Lodge was quite a surprise for us. When we were still searching for accommodations and tour in Coron, the Lodge’s website offered the best tours and prices, however we were a little unsure of what to expect about the rooms and the place because of the limited photos displayed. Feedback on the packages was also scarce, though I got a really positive feedback at one time.

I was looking at the starfish decoration with so much wonder! @ the Coron Village Lodge

The staff were nice, we had welcome drinks (uber sweet ice tea!) brought to our lovely rooms. The whole of the Lodge had a real nice and cozy atmosphere with framed collections displayed on rooms and on the resto’s wall. We got two rooms, both with a double bed and a single bed, dressers, TV, cabinets. Our room had a terrace where a hanger stand and a table with chairs are conveniently placed.
We were served the lunch we missed even if it was already 4PM. One of the best things about the Lodge aside from the staff and the ambiance is the FOOD!

the lights looks even more inviting at night

We were not able to have our island hopping on the first day but we were able to relax and have a dip at the Maquinit hot springs which is only 15 minute tricycle ride away from the town. The Lodge staff also advise us no to go on with our Calauit Safari Tour the next day because of the possible landslides caused by the heavy rains the past few days. We then decided to have a whole day island hopping tour the next day instead.
Maquinit Hot Spring have a max temp of 40 degrees celcius  (yup sooo hot!)
Island hopping in Coron simply is one of the best experiences you can have. Our tour guide, Kuya Gary was very informative on the history and fact and trivias of the island and places we visited.

docking site  to cayangan lake

they call this the Blue Lagoon

descent to Cayangan Lake
the Philippine’s cleanest lake so far – Cayangan
Cayangan Lake and Blue Lagoon are sites to behold though going around Coron Island would really give you a restful and serene feeling. We had lunch of yummy adobo, grilled fish (huge!) and ensaladang talong at what seem like our very own private beach before moving on Twin Lagoons. I can’t say much about this place except that it is also one of the must sees. Towering limestone and surround a peaceful but really deep lagoon which you can access by diving into a hole during high-tide or if it is low tide, you can easy pass through it.
waiting for low-tide to get through the Twin Lagoon
I experienced snorkeling in Bohol, but snorkeling in Siete Pecados is way more exciting! Here fishes are like trained to eat from your hands though the larger ones really freaked us out! And please don’t step at the lovely corals when you get tired, just go get back on your banca.
tired after a day of island hopping
On our third day, we tried climbing Mt. Tapyas (rumored to be more than 700 steps high) but we only reached the middle part because of the sudden heavy rains. When the rain stopped, we decided not to continue the climb and just take pictures of the amazing site we have where we were stranded – two rainbows appeared in the island of Coron, one end on an island, and the other end on another island!
After breakfast, Nina, Arvin and me went to Coron Gifts and Souvenirs to buy trinkets and handicrafts. The Lodge also displays beautiful crafts in their resto and garden. We had an early lunch and left for Busuanga airport at 12noon.
And because of the cancelled Calauit Safari, we had as much as P2000 savings each on our bill!
Must see for a 2nd Coron Trip is Cagban Beach and diving on some of the WWII Japanese Shipwrecks as well as the Banana and Macalapuya(?) Islands.

Yummy Fried Worms: Thailand’s Exotic Foods

i know i know, i havent been able to update mine and teloy’s blog for long.. but i’m hoping i can from now on. though im still too busy, there’s been a lot of things i wanna write about.. new experiences – im loving the freedom of being single and doing the things i love.. soon teloy would be a kid, study and need me even more.. by then, i might just share with all the things that mom loves to do.. traveling, writing, exploring and searching for adventure.

not long ago.. hmm maybe just at the onset of february, Jissa’s older sister Jihan went to Bangkok for a tour, she brought with her a bunch of delicassies from the Thailand. One that really caught my attention is the pack of fried worms which really was so gross to look at.. still being the adventurous me, i tried some… and i really love it! haha my officemates and classmates were really squamish just looking at it.. but like wat they say, an excess of something would be bad for you.. didnt realize till later that the worms were like shrimps and i am allergic to shimps.. so i had allergies just a few hours of eating the whole pack!

here’s how they look like before i popped them up!
yummy fried worms!

wondering what i will try next.. do you think teloy would enjoy these too? haha!

For the Love of Flying: My First Flight Ever – 17 July 2008

my flight to legazpi last july 17 was my very first time to board a plane and experience being airborne. i was able to avail a cebu pacific plane ticket for 1,200. too bad my flight schedule was days earlier from their promo of P699 manila-legazpi and vice versa trips which would start on july 22 up to october 15 2008.

it was a smooth flight, with a real fine weather as we took of the old terminal 1 in airport road, pasay. lucky i was never really prone to motion sickness and i got a window seat so i was able to enjoy the view from up there. legazpi had bit of a cloudy weather when we got there so i wasn’t able to take picture of the magnificent mayon volcano as the plane passed on its side. the flight took only 40 mins, we departed at 11:55 or so and arrived at 12:35 in legazpi airport making our arrival 15 minutes early.

i was also very lucky to personally see Noemz (Cebu Pacific Flight Attendant) whom my katropa Pampz was so crazy about. but we weren’t personally introduced so she doesn’t know me.

Hobbies for Singles and Single Moms!

1. Traveling
Being single and not having anyone to think about(my son is with my mom so i have plenty of time for myself) gives me chances to travel to places an attached girl might miss. Since my son is still too young to come with me, I travel with my friends backpacking way to places around the metro. It’s all adventure and excitement being one with nature during hiking and trekking on mountains, rivers and going around little towns. You can also try out a variety of food and delicacies from the places you’ve traveled, pick out souvenirs and and tons of funny photos as remembrance from your trip. When mys son grows older, I’m sure to take him with me when I go some places to feed my adventurer soul.
2. Fitness and Exercise
This is somehow connected with my first hobby choice. Fitness and exercise doesn’t necessarily mean that it should only be done working out in a gym or being holed-up at home with a Hip-hop Abs video. My kind of fitness and exercise is something more fun. Swimming is one of the best exercise for me, walking, hiking and trekking are great ones too. You may also want to try some other water sports like kayaking and wake boarding(this is a hot one nowadays).
3. Scrapbooking
This is such an easy and enjoyable hobby one could get lost in. I love decorating and placing scrap materials for my baby’s album. It gets out the creative you, being surrounded with colors and accessories. Digi-scrapping is also a hit now, not too messy to do but you have to have a knack for photoshop and other applications too.
4. Crafting/Crafts
Just like scrapbooking, easy, fun and you can even earn here! lol! jewelry, bags, soaps, perfumes? ornaments? you can make your own. Get creative, be messy and have a blast with making them.
5. Study
This need not to be academic. You were wanting to take up swimming lessons, piano lessons or make-up classes, dancing classes but you were always busy dating before. Now is the time to go for it. It may require some investment but you’d surely enjoy your singleness during this time. I for one took some academic classes because it would give me an advantage in my present work. Its my ticket to getting that promotion that I’m eyeing for quite sometime now.

Best Summer Destinations in the Philippines

one more month and summer is already on! even this early in the year, some people are starting to plan their summer outings, vacations and escapades. i am also one of them, though not really planning yet, i am dreaming and imaging a totally stress-free and laid back summer days.

work has been hell this past few weeks and i can feel it taking toll on my back. i am somewhere near being burnt out and it is really stressing me out. thinking about lazy summer days though seems to lessen that burnt out feeling.

there is of course the beaches. i am lucky to be living in the philippines where you can find one of the greatest beach in the world. though its only within the country, i still haven’t really been there. and that’s where i wanna be this summer! i hope! haha… imagine pure powdery white sand, bluest crystal sea water, …. i think the waves are calling out to me. boracay.. one of these days, i’ll be there. =)

what else could beat this!

up next in my destination list.. well actually a second choice if i don’t make it to boracay this summer…. puerto galera. though not as good as boracay, puerto galera would be more accessible from manila and of course lesser the expenses. said to have great dive sites resorts and also great beach!

of course there are also the ones in palawan and in bohol (i have been hearing great great praises for beaches here in and great places to visit). it makes me real proud when tourist name these places paraside beaches. what it could we call it but that. thus my urge to go and visit these places any time soon! i live here but i havent seen these places yet! makes me think i’m really missing half of my life!

panglao beach, bohol…..

so they say… nothing beats philippine beaches, agree! agree!! need i say more? =)