5 Local Summer Hot Spots For the Adventure Seekers

Summer vacation is just a few weeks away and while some people have started planning early on, others are still undecided where to go. Here are some of our favorites  that you can consider and why we are suggesting them.

1. Baler

People flock to Baler for the clean surf break in Sabang Beach and the thrill of surfing at Cemento Beach and Charlie’s Point. Considered to be the birthplace of surfing in the Philippines, you can find all sorts of accommodation lining up Sabang Beach. Beyond surfing, Baler is rich in culture, history and natural wonders.

2. Bicol

Of course, I love my own region. Bicol is composed of six provinces and each one
offers a different kind of thrill for the adventure seekers. Explore the lovely islands and crystal blue waters of Calaguas in Camarines Norte, Caramoan in Camarines Sur and Tikling in Sorsogon. Adrenaline junkies can try out wake boarding in CamSur Watersports Complex, surf in Bagasbas Beach in Cam Norte or try out the ATV ride to Mayon Lava Front. Bicol is also popular for its culinary expo featuring hot and spicy dishes. Do try out the Chili Ice Cream!

3. Boracay

Many people complain about Boracay being too crowded especially during the summer months, but still you really can’t say no to this beautiful island paradise. I am much awed by its powdery white sands and crystal blue temperate waters. When in Boracay, you’ll find all the adventure you want and need. Head to Bulabog Beach for some hot water sports such as kite boarding and jet skiing. You can also try parasailing and other group activities such as banana boat ride. And for us, nothing beats the sunset view in Boracay.

4. Palawan

Why not Palawan? I’ve visited Palawan twice at the height of summer and love it both times. Coron is located on the northern Calamian group of islands. Island hopping and snorkeling in Coron gives you the best views of tall limestone karsts and the colorful marine life under the waters. On the other hand, flying to Puerto Princesa gives you the option to explore the country’s greenest city or head to other hot destinations such as El Nido or to Sabang beach which is the jump off point to the Underground River.

5. Sagada

Sagada is a town you will surely fall in love with.  The weather is cool and you are provided with scenic landscapes and mountain views around you. Adventure seekers will not be disappointed with this charming town up north. The Cave Connection will deplete all your energy in a pumping 4-hour cave exploration adventure. Your hiking and trekking activities will also be rewarded with magnificent and powerful waterfalls such as the Bomod-ok and Pongas.

Puerto Princesa Underground River: Its Nature at its Best

When the voting for the new 7 wonders of nature started, i was really proud that the Philippines has a nominee! Yes I voted for it soon as i could and wished that someday when I am able I’d be able to visit the place. Explore and see what the hype is all about.

Last May13-15, my wish of visiting Palawan and exploring the Underground River was realized. What made this trip more exciting is that I am with my well-loved friends! We were big group and a tour was arranged with Sea Adventure. Im not sure how much was spent all in all but we did enjoy the island hopping, underground river tour and the city tour (only paid for my airfare and Php3,000 for 4days/3nights food, accommodations and tours).

The highlight of the trip is of course the Underground River Tour. The trip to Sabang which is 50km north of PPC took about 2 hours, was mostly spent snoozing. The view greatly improved when nearing Sabang. You can see limestone karst mountains where the UR flows underneath. The sight might remind you of Pandora in the movie Avatar 🙂

A short boat ride awaits at Sabang port which will take you to the mouth of UR. You’ll get a good view of Sabang beach and other limestone karst on the way. You can explore some part of the densely vegetated beach which you will pass to get to the mouth of the cave. Then a paddling boatman with take you to navigate inside the UR. The Underground River of Palawan is considered as the largest. It is about 8.2 kilometers long, but only 1 or 2 kilometer is allowed for tourist exploration.

The cave has major stalactite and stalagmite formations as well as huge chambers. It has many channels too but most of them are closed from public. Im thinking of bringing Teloyskie there one day. I bet he’d be intrigued by the bat cave chamber mentioned by the bankero. The cave was definitely huge – something that might just leave you wondering, “how can nature ever create something like this?”

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.

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? =)