Baby and Kid Friendly Places to Visit in Albay

I’ve always loved traveling and exploring places. I vowed that I will take my kids with me traveling around too. It was easy with my first born, we started going around when he was already five years old. But it was a different story when you have to carry around a bundled baby to explore too. There are lots of doubts about safety and comfort of transportation, dining options and of course the places to visit.

Before we jump off to far off destination, I’ve decided to try exploring home base sights with my tweener, my baby and my friends. The opportunity came when the Sadullo family came to Albay for a visit.

Having a car is a blessing when you are travelling around with kids. It lessens the worries about transportation and going around. We had a simple itinerary for 3 adults, 2 kids and 1 baby. We had to content ourselves with spots that are not too perilous and convenient for both kids and adults. Here are a few spots you can find around Albay 360 (Around Mt. Mayon).

Albay’s Black Beaches in Sto Domingo and Bacacay, Albay

Having an active volcano in the province means we have an abundant supply of sand. All of these comes down and are carried off to our beaches. The Albay gulf is known for it’s black sand beaches and tame waters. You can take a dip with your kids while you enjoy a view of the perfectly cone shaped volcano that is Mr. Mayon.

The Mayon Skyline and Planetarium in Sabluyon, Tabaco City

Mayon Skyline and the Planetarium is a great place to visit with the kids. It is situated on the slopes of Mt Mayon. The elevation will give you a breath-taking sight of neighboring Mt. Masaraga and the Albay gulf. The planetarium also showcases large print photos of the outer space, planets and heavenly bodies. There is also a small theater where the legend of the Magayon is shown.

Kawa-kawa Hill in Ligao City

Situated in Ligao City, this place is a favorite destination for both young and old. The steep climb to reach the “Kawa” (bowl-shaped top of the mountain) can be challenging but even oldies manage it slowly. The place is also popular during Holy Week as it has life-sized images of the Stations of the Cross.

Quitinday Hills and Sumlang Lake in Camalig, Albay

Everywhere you go in Albay, you get a view of Mt Mayon. In Quitinday Hills in Camalig, you can get a fresh view of the famous volcano amid green hills. It will require a short but fun climb and the kids will surely enjoy this. On the other hand, Sumlang Lake gives visitors an unobstructed view of Mt. Mayon and its reflection on the lake. There are now activities you can do on the lake and the local government has put up stores around the area to display products of the residents. Best to come in the morning or late in the afternoon.

Our Lady of the Gate Parish in Daraga, Albay

This Church is very accessible as it is situated atop a hill in the midst of bustling town of Daraga. It is one of the country’s Heritage Sites and gives visitors amazing view of Mayon and the City of Legazpi.

Embarcadero de Legazpi

This can be your last stop after your 360 Degree trip around Mt Mayon. The place has views of the sea and Mt Mayon. Most people come to here to run, jog, walk and bike during morning and late afternoon until evening. The sea breeze is said to be good for kids health and here you can enjoy a pollution-free seaside. There are also restaurants you can explore to satisfy every craving.

Travel Bites: Sweet Treats at Tampuhan Cafe, Taal, Batangas


After our exploration of the St Martin of Tours Basilica, the largest Catholic Church in the Orient and Our Lady of Casaysay Church, we walked down the cobbled Calle Marcela Agoncilio and admired the Old Hispanic houses we passed by. The sumptuous lunch we had earlier at Feliza Cafe seemed to have vanished and now our throats are feeling parched from the heat.



While walking, we passed by a lovely street art depicting how life was lived in 19th century. We took pictures but we were mostly enticed by the seemingly cool interiors of the adjacent cafe called, Tampuhan.



The word “Tampuhan” basically means lover’s quarrel and as unique as it’s name, the cafe has a lot of quirky stuff going on inside. They seem to encourage free-form art and you can find many interesting pieces on display. A freedom board also invites guest to share and leave something significant in this quaint cafe.



We ordered three cold drinks and a small pizza and took our time scrutinizing the place. They only had four tables though the place is very cozy and inviting. Teloy gamely drew something on a paper so that he can post something on the freedom board. We decided we had enough exploring for that day and that we should leave anytime soon to get back to Sto. Tomas.



Before leaving the cafe, we noticed the stairs going up and asked if we can check it out. There were more memorabilia and antique pieces upstairs on display, but the kid is getting quiet restless so we decided to move on.



Taal, Batangas: A Haven for History Buffs

It was scorching hot with the summer sun beating down on us, we look back at Cafe Feliza and longed for it’s cool and comforting interiors. But it is already afternoon and we still haven’t explored the famed heritage town of Taal, Batangas. So we walked on and headed towards the massive St Martin of Tours Basilica.



St. Martin of Tours Basilica is awe inspiring in real life. It is huge and can accommodate thousand churchgoers in one sitting. We decided to explore more of the church by going up to it’s bell tower which then gave us a bird’s eye view of the town.





Right outside the church is the Escula Pia which is currently being used for a community meeting. Walked on and the side of the Municipal Building and wondered where we can find Our Lady of Casaysay Shrine. Tricycle drivers seemed hesitant to direct so we just asked them to take us there. I have no idea what we will find there but learning about the story of Our Lady of Casaysay gave us goosebumps!



After praying at the shrine, we headed at the back of the church and found the St. Lorenzo Ruiz Steps. We decided to ascend, now knowing where we are headed but we were quite surprised that at the top of it was the same spot where we hailed a tricycle and asked for directions to Our Lady of Casaysay. Instead of pointing us to these steps, he told us to ride his tricycle because he can take us there and took a long and winding route to reach our destination.

Miffed but still enthused about roaming around Taal Town, we headed down the street without much knowledge of what we might find. We passed by Galeria de Taal and Villa Tortuga which are just some of the lovely heritage houses that draw tourists to this charming town. We also passed by the Leon Apacible ancestral house and was quite taken by the story written on it’s marker. But we were not able to see inside because it was closed for some renovations.


A few more steps brought us to a quaint street art beside a cafe. It did not take a second thought for us to enter and try out Tampuhan Cafe’s cool refreshments. The cafe has a number of artwork on display. It also allowed visitors to leave a bit of something on their freedom board.


After our meryenda at Tampuhan, we decided it was time for us to head back to Sto Tomas. I find myself and my son very lucky to have visited this Heritage Town and we hope one day we’ll be able to explore and learn more of it’s historical nooks and spots.

Animal Encounters At Baluarte Zoo, Vigan

It was our last day in Ilocandia and we are to explore Vigan City today. I wasn’t very enthusiastic about visiting a zoo, but Teloyskie had a grand time inspecting all the animals that we saw here.



Baluarte Zoo in Vigan is own by the famed politician, Chavit Singson. There is no fee for visitors here and they are open from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. You can find a wide selection birds, deer, camels, ponies, snakes and other rare animals. There are animal shows that visitors can enjoy watching, these are very entertaining and kids like our tot are pretty much amazed.



Although the sun is blazing, we tried to walk around and cover much of the park as we could. We went to find the tigers and tried really hard to get a picture with him but when I went out to get something from the van, I was surprised that there we tigers in cages near the gate of the park!



Much to Teloy’s delight, ostriches and some sheep where roaming around the park like it was the most natural thing in the world. He also loved reading the signboards around the cages specially those about the reptiles. Among the places and activities we’ve visited in Ilocos, this is one of the best for him.



And so I learned to really consider his ideas when I’m working on our travel itinerary. While he’s not the kind that throws tantrums when he’s bored or when he doesn’t like something, his lack of interest in some “grown up things” can really scrape on what could be an amazing travel experience.

Quitinday Greenhills in Camalig, Albay

The lush, verdant green hills of Quitinday, Camalig, Albay alongside the majestic beauty of Mt Mayon has recently conquered my Facebook newsfeeds. Tagged as the “chocolate hills of Bicol,” these green hills is easily accessible by travelers and tourist visiting the province of Albay.


Camalig is our neighboring municipality and its local government has been very active in promoting and developing tourism hotspot around the area. Back then, Camalig is known for their “Pinangat” (Bicol Delicacy) and Hoyop Hoyopan Cave. These days, local and foreign tourists alike are having a grand time exploring more of Camalig town. Aside from Hoyop Hoyopan, nature trippers will surely love Sumlang Lake and Quitinday Green Hills.


My chance to visit the much raved about trekking spot in Camalig came as a sidetrip. After a hot (literally) discussion of our advocacy to more or less 800 NSTP students of BU Polangui Campus, our little group decided to look for Quitinday. Kuya Bob, suggested we take the back roads and pass through Guinobatan. We drove around asking for directions, until finally we discovered that we cannot pass through because the roads are still under construction at this end.


We decided to explore another way and luckily we found the marker that showed us where to go. The jump off is a small clearing with huts, a wide parking space and a clean, well-maintained toilet. A lady let us log on the record book and we paid P20 each for registration. She advised us to avoid the cave on one side and to come down when there are lighting because of the thunderstorm.


The trek was relatively easy but the weather was so humid so we were profusely sweating when we reached the first hut on top of the hill. A thunderstorm is happening and we can see fingers of lightning strike on the far end of the rolling hills. The view was truly refreshing from the top and you can see vibrant green hills all around you. Too bad Mt Mayon was not visible because of the dark clouds, otherwise, every picture would have been perfect.

We ascended to the connecting hill to get a higher vantage point. And after several more minutes we decided to descend seeing and feeling the rains and lightning coming at us. And like her playful self, Mayon showed her full glory when we are already on the road home.



It was already four when we reached the main road and we were all eager to go home. Exploring Quitinday was indeed a refreshing break from our usual hectic schedule and we were thankful for the opportunity that we took to find it.


At the moment, the best way to reach Quitinday is via the Ilawod-Cotmon Road. Then take the Baligang-Caguiba Road until you reach Quitinday, which is the very last Barangay of Camalig.

Where to Eat in Albay: La Terraza Cafe, Ligao City

“Champion” was all that my companion can say when he took the final bite of his Pulled Pork Empanada during our recent meryenda session at La Terraza Cafe in Ligao City.


The first time we dined here was during a tour of Albay couchsurfing friends. We have “Kawa-kawa Nature Park” in our itinerary and one suggested that we can just have our lunch at this restaurant. Back then we placed our orders first before we started our steep climb to reach “Kawa-kawa”  and appreciate the view. After a photos and selfies, we descended to our lunch.

la terraza lunch
photo by: Maki B


It was consist of Sisig Pancit, Tinutungan na Manok, Lumpiang Shanghai, Pinangat and Rice. The Sisig Pancit caught my fancy back then, it was a bit sweet and salty and it has crunchy sisig bits as toppings.

la terraza lunch 1

So when an opportunity gave me a chance to dine there once again, I easily gave in. After a morning session of lectures in Naga City, my two body guards if they would like to try Sisig Pancit for meryenda and they readily agreed. We were the only customers that afternoon and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that an order of the coveted noodle is only P100 and it is already good for 3! I also ordered their Pulled Pork Empanda because it has a “bestseller” seal on the menu. And it was indeed a bestseller!


The pastry was hot and crisp. While the pulled pork taste like asado or adobo, I really don’t know but it taste divine! I ordered two more to take home to my tot and ate lo.


For a price of P200, we were able to feast on a hearty meryenda that was truly worth the detour. La Terraza Cafe and Restaurant is located near “Kawa-kawa Nature Park” in Ligao City.

Mom’s Moonlighting Marvels: Scraping Up Funds to Feed Our Wanderlist

My world of constant jetsetting, took on a slow turn when Baba, my home-buddy life partner arrived and the little tot was not so little anymore.

That day when we decided to settle down and took parenting on a serious note, I realized that trips would no longer be on the extreme cheapskates,boisterous, rowdy side. My travels will now be on the more subtle, a little fancier than the rucksack strapping style and will prolly be centered on comfort and safety especially with my boys. Travel now also means that my usual travel expenses will be tripled, and if I want to travel I have to perfect budgeting and do moonlighting marvels to scrape funds to fuel our wanderlust.

Aside from using the Envelop System of Budgeting, which I still have to master, I have here a list of moonlighting marvels which has given us enough budget to make weekend misadventures possible for us three.

Garage Sale/Closet Clean Up

kiss garage
Kiss Garage

I didn’t fully realized how much stuff we already own until I moved back here in Bicol. When we were about to transfer to our new pad, Baba was amazed that we have lots of clothes and knick knacks packed away in boxes and drawers. Our relaxed and sedentary lifestyle along with delish foods here in the province have caused us to grow out of many of our clothes. On the other hand, Teloyskie is growing like a weed so most of his stuff no longer fit him. I have been posting and selling used stuff through Ebay even before we settled here and now, I’ve opened a page called “KISS Garage” maybe gain back a little something from items we once treasured. Everything we earn from our garage sale goes straight to our travel fund envelop.

Facilitating/Lectures/Public Speaking


I never imagined that I can earn a little something from these stints. As an information officer, conducting lectures, facilitate workshop/seminars is a part of my job. But during weekends when some school or office requests for your services beyond work days or office hours, they would offer a small allowance for the time and effort. Speaking in public is one of my weaknesses but being pushed to do it as part of the job made me swallow down the tightness every time I stand in front of an audience. Seeing kids, students and having an audience that genuinely listens and are thoroughly wrapped up in what I’m discussing is enough encouragement that I am doing a fine job of something that I’ve always been scared of.

Online Writing

Started writing in 2006 just to try it out and I haven’t stopped since. I write because it was an outlet of the things I feel. I write not because I was any good at it, but I know that if I continue to write I will get better at it. I write because I love to. I may lack confidence with my work sometimes and getting recognition for “best research paper,” or “wonderfully written articles” still come as a shock but I know that this is my craft and I will continue to muster it.

Most of our travel fund come from the savings spare and the income generated from my freelance online writing. I have to thank my clients for continuously believing in me and for understanding my limitations. Baba used to tell me to lessen the assignments I take from the clients so that I can have more time for rest and relaxation with them, but soon my boys realize that writing is my way of relaxing thus they would give me leeway to quietly work on articles for our blog and for our clients.

The Long Road to Taal and the Comforting Interiors of Feliza Cafe y Taverna

It wasn’t near, really. We’ve always been curious about the largest Catholic Church in the Orient so when we were in Batangas last summer, we decided to take the high road that led to Taal as part of our Visistas Iglesias for the Holy Week. We asked around for directions, and decided to take jeepneys to get there. It was not easy, it took us three long jeepney rides to finally get there and more or less 1.5 hours amid the hot summer morning of April. When we finally alighted from the Lipa-Lemery jeep, it was almost 1 in the afternoon. We checked out the very first cafe/establishment that caught our attention, and was immediately thankful that we did – the Feliza Cafe y Taverna.




A group was finishing lunch when we arrived so we curiously checked out the antiqueties displayed around the restuarant first. The cafe has a cool and comforting ambiance and sitting in one of the tables will give you an impression that you are dining in another century.




Although we’ve read that it is best and more affordable to try Taal food in the public market, we are already too hungry to search for the market. Food in Cafe Feliza is not that affordable but they are not too expensive either. I ordered Tapang Taal for me and Teloy and Ate Karen choose the Sinaing na Tulingan. Teloyskie ordered San Rival Cake and I asked for Suman Taal for dessert.

Tapang Taal


After attacking our food with much gusto, our waitress offered to tour us around the cafe and upstairs. The name Feliza came from the owner of the house, Feliza Diokno. She was the secretary our country’s very first president – Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo. History buffs will surely fall inlove with this cafe. The larger dining area keeps a circa 1900 typewriter, copper pans and pots and a Flag of the revolution.

cafe feliza y taverna

The second floor of the cafe-resturant showcases memorabilia of the late Feliza. Her office table, steel cabinets and other items which will easily give you that late 1800’s feel. Our waitress/tour guide offered 2 available rooms for Php2000 if we are to stay overnight. There was also grand dining area and a door opens to a balcony in the second floor area.

The original desk and caja de yero of then Secretary Feliza Diokno.


cafe feliza y taverna1
2nd floor area of the cafe is a B&B and lots of interesting stuff.

We took a lot of pictures with the help of our tour before we decide it’s time to start exploring more of the historic town of Taal. She was very nice to offer us to try their coffee after our tour.

Hotel Review: Amami Beach Resort, Talipanan Puerto Galera

Puerto Galera is a famous destination for people craving a dose of “Vitamin Sea” yet have limited time to travel away from the metro. Galera’s proximity to Metro Manila makes it a favorite weekend vacay thus, one can easily find accommodation options for every budget and taste.


Amami Beach Resort in Talipanan was a welcome respite from the chaos we’ve experienced when we landed in White Beach. Yes it was far from the action and happening, but it was pure restfulness and peace that we’ve experienced during our stay here.




We arrived at 9:00 which was clearly too early for check in, so when the owner Favio told us that we might want to check the “playa” first, we did. We left our bags at the resort restaurant and made our way towards the farthest end of Talipanan were there were rocks and the famed Cucina Luca was located. After spending several hours sipping shake while Teloy play in the water, we decided to spend the remaining two hours at the resort.


Fabio seems to be having a fit when we arrived back at the resort. He saw us and exclaimed, “Where have you been? I’ve been waiting for you all day! Your room is ready since 10:00 AM!” Oopps sorry we really wasn’t expecting that. But it was really a nice gesture for them to prepare the rooms so that we can check in early. He carried our bags, gave us the wifi password and gave us some tips and pointers for our vacation.


Amami Beach Resort is a well-acclaimed family resort in area. Agoda users will find nothing but praises for this native-themed resort in the quieter side of  Puerto Galera. Baba’s sister was quite impressed to see that we were the only local guest in the area. Most of the other guests were foreigner families looking for some amazing R&R.


The staff were friendly and truly accommodating. I asked for something that’s not in the menu and they said they’ll see what they can do about it, and they made it for me! So whatever you need or want, you just have to ask them and they will work wonders for you. I have originally booked for a night in the resort and we decided to extend our stay.


The resort has limited number of rooms so they get fully-booked and overbooked sometimes. We stayed in a De Luxed Room which has a double bed and a single bed. The rooms have comfortable beds with canopy, wooden floors, nipa roof and abaca mats. These rooms face the garden and the sea beyond it so Ate Karen and I have spent a lot of time on our own veranda too.



They have dogs, puppies, cats and kittens which young guest can pet and play with making them feel like they’re just at home in the resort.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne thing that I did not enjoy much though is the pricey meals. Although we got free breakfasts and unlimited coffee and tea, we had most of our meals in nearby restaurants because we didn’t think we can afford the food in our resort! Other than that, our stay at Amami was pure bliss!

Barkada Trip Series: Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, Ilocos Norte

After exploring Laoag, our team of weary explorers pushed forward to Pagudpud. Baba, though a major complainer of long trips seem to be enjoying the opportunity of being somewhere really far from where we came from.


Pagudpud is located in Ilocos Norte and it is very very far from Legazpi. It faces the South China Sea and is known for its wonderful beaches. Well, our tour operator booked us in a beach front property with a very forgettable beach with really overpriced room rates.


Anyway, we snoozed off most of the trip and woke up somewhere near the lighthouse. The sun was glaring hot and there was already a surge of tourists in the area. We hesitated knowing that there will be another fiesta like atmosphere and thongs of people trying to take the perfect picture of the light house.


Lighthouses always seem haunting yet they are very intriguing. I’ve seen several lighthouses and each one of them has it’s own mystique and charm. Like many lighthouses, Cape Bojeador was built atop a hill overlooking the West Philippine Sea. It was built in the Spanish Era thus it has that signature red brick material for the most of the structure. The lighthouse is still considered as an active lighthouse that guides and keep our marine trade safe to this date.

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse is situated in the municipality of Burgos, Ilocos Norte. It has become a landmark that one shouldn’t miss when visiting Ilocos Norte.