Museo Pambata in Manila: Where Learning Begins and Fun Never Ends


It was Teloyskie’s first time in a museum and it is also my and Baba’s first time in this museum too. On the way here, we passed by the National Museum and asked the boss (Teloyskie, coz it’s his day)  if he like to check this one out or the Children’s Museum, to which he choose the latter of course.

Museo Pambata is located along Roxas Boulevard just beside the US Embassy.  We took the Proj 2-3 – Kalaw jeepney at E. Rodriguez Ave and in Kalaw St. We walked a few blocks and asked for directions and easily found our way.

We paid for our entrance fee and started our exploration of the different theme rooms in the museum. At that time, two exhibit were closed for renovations but we still have several to go so we set right off at the “Old Manila” wherein miniture tranvia, Spanish galleon ship and cathedral can be explored by our tot.

Next we explored the Global Village and Teloy tried playing the traditional Filipino instruments such as the kulintang. The Karapatan Hall sits right next to the Global Village and it displayed the different rights every child should have.

The second floor of the museum have the Career Options Exhibit, How my Body Works, I love my Planet Earth and the reading room. The former two exhibits are closed so we simply took our time exploring the latter exhibits. Afterwards we headed down to explore the last two exhibits – Kalikasan and Pamilihang Bayan.

What’s really unique about exploring the Museo Pambata are the interactive and hands-on exhibits so that they can discover the different concepts as they learn and play. It was not only the tot that enjoyed the Museo, even me and Baba took our time re-learning things that we have overlooked as kids.

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.

Barkada Trip Series: Dolphin Watching and Island Hopping in Bohol

Our second day in Bohol started early. I have no issues waking up Teloyskie and we prepared for our dolphin watching and island hopping tour. The first time me and my friends did this, we are all in awe and deliriously happy to see dolphins in the wild.

We are leaving from Alona beach this time, so we had a glimpse another beautiful sunrise from another part of Panglao island. It rained sometime during our boat ride, so the group took their time taking photos instead. Because we are a big group, we took two boats for this tour. Teloy enjoyed watching pods of dolphins swimming around our boat. We were also gifted a rare sight of whales near Pamilacan island.

Our boatman unfortunately seemed to be in a hurry so we left the area and headed to Balicasag island. I really think that the fees in his marine sanctuary is overrated. It was P220 per head I think, and the same applies to Teloy! I was really disappointed and hoped for a refund because Teloy seemed to be overwhelmed by the sea and he was terrified of going down the water. He cried and asked to stay in the boat just less than 5 minutes of trying to snorkel!

Teloy made up for the lost fun in Balicasag by playing and enjoying much of the shallow waters in Virgin island. However, I find it too touristy already. The long sandbar became a parking lot for the boats and plenty of hawkers and vendors are lining the narrow walk already. The sun’s heat is now unbearable and most of my friends choose to stay in the boat instead of exploring the island.

We ended the day early and retired to our accommodations for the afternoon. After a short nap, we explored Alona beach. It looked like a part of Boracay to me, but it was a little on the mellow side. It was quieter and more peaceful. The tourists here are mostly divers I assumed based on the many dive shops and resorts around. There are also high end resorts such as the Alona Kew and the Alona Beach Resort. The laid back atmosphere and the beautiful beach makes me think, I’d love to spend some lazy days here with Baba and Teloy in the future.

Barkada Trip Series: Bohol Day Tour Via Tubigon

Once a year, our tropa schedule a couple of days off from work or whatever that’s keeping us busy so that we could travel and spend time together. We make this in time with Sheng’s vacay from Dubai and last year, it was during the height of summer that we explored the Bohol. It was also Teloyskie’s first time to ride a plane and he was very excited about it.

 Most of us have traveled and explored this fine gem in 2009, yet we have more joiners now and we also want to visit Karl in Cebu who recently got married. (And maybe he’d forgive us all for not attending their big day. Hehe)

I was asked to prepare the itinerary and make arrangements for the trip and I gladly did so. Called up old contacts, Kuya Tatsky and his wife Kathy for the accommodation options and the tour. I tweaked the usual Cebu-Tagbilaran route and went for Tubigon so that we can experience Danao Adventure park this time. I tried to make this trip as affordable as I could yet I must admit that I’ve overlooked the fact that not all of us are backpacker type of travelers. But despite several mishaps, misadventures and “aberya,” we’ve all been patient and and willing to adjust to the comforts of each one of us including Teloyskie.

Coming from Manila and Legazpi, we converged in an apartment in Cebu. Spent the night there and managed to score ticket for the first trip to Tubigon. Unfortunately, we missed it (lol what’s new!) and so waited for a boat that can take us all there. We were given seats at MV Starcraft’s open air seats and this was located near the motor. After an hour of travel, we all ended up a bit deaf and remorseful of our lateness.

Tour started at a much later hour than planned. We hurried to Sagbayan Peak to view the infamous Chocolate Hills from this point. A small enclosed area near the exit also gave visitors a chance to encounter the Tarsiers, an endemic specie of primate that are only found in Bohol.

Next on our IT was a short stop at E.A.T. Danao where we, including Teloyskie tried out extreme activities such as zip-lining over a canyon of dizzying height. I would have wanted to try the “Plunge” but worried over how this would look to my then 6-year old kid. (He might think his momma’s a suicidal type!)

Lunch was late and we had it via the pricey feast at the Loboc River Cruise. There were lots of boats offering this service but most are already done for lunch service since it’s already 1:30. Our driver/guide choose the next best one he could find. Having experienced this before, cruising Loboc seemed to have a lesser charm than my first time here.

We continued with the day tour feeling worst for wear. Most of us are feeling tired and think that destinations in Bohol are actually very far from each other. There seems to be too much traveling so we forgo some items on the list such as the Hinagdanan Cave and the Blood Compact Site. We visited Prony and stopped at Baclayon Church before finally heading to Alona Beach for our accommodations.

Writing this, I feel really lucky to have traveled with Teloyskie before the big “quake” happened to Cebu and Bohol. I remember seeing the news and being much affected by the disaster.

Mayon ATV Tour Experience: Extreme Adventure Worth Taking

My first ATV experience in Boracay can be considered mild if not for my freak accident with the gas, an incident which left me with gashes on my legs and Baba with a horrifying picture of me almost being thrown off the machine. The incident made him a bit paranoid about me getting into other motorized vehicles on my own so when Sheng invited us to join them and experience the Mayon ATV ride, I kept mum about it and decided to tell Baba what I did after the experience.

Woke up early that Sunday and headed to Bebe’s house to meet up with her, Gang and Joa. Then we dropped by Rochelle’s place before heading to Bogtong where the ATV company would fetch us. I’ve heard and seen “Your Brother” ATV in Legazpi but have never really thought about giving it a try. The tariff price, Php 1500 for the activity seems too pricey for me, good thing Sheng is treating us today.

After some prep-talk and two rounds to warm up, we proceeded to the gully of sand and stones. We started at around 9:00 in the morning but the temperature is fast rising. We loved the view of Mt. Mayon from our trail and the guides are very attentive to our needs – photo ops and all. But just a short distance from our starting point, Bebe fell off her ride which worried the whole team. A guy with some sort of medical training checked her vitals and for anything out of place and applied first aid. Once we are sure that she’s okay, we resumed riding, but this time, she was just a back-rider on Gang’s ride.

The trail going to the Lava wall really was challenging. Compared to the short ATV ride we had in Boracay, this one truly is extreme. The price was justified with length of the ride and the distance covered. Finally, we arrived at the Lava wall, had some water break and excitedly hiked up the wall of rocks formed from the Lava that Mt. Mayon spewed out. It was already noon and the sun was blazing hot so we hurriedly took pictures and got back to our bikes, despite the lovely view we have from there.

With the Mayon ATV Experience, you will really ride through all-terrain possible! From rocky, to sandy to muddy, river crossing and finally, some much needed flat grounds. We returned to “Your Brother” ATV headquarters all feeling battered and broken. Each bone and muscle in my body seem to be aching and in pain. When they announced that we still have a free zipline ride in  Lingnon Hill, we all declined feeling we had had enough adventure for the day.

After having lunch together, we all went home tired and sore but happy otherwise. I went straight to bed and woke up late in the afternoon, decided to call Baba and eventually admitted to doing what he was afraid I would do. Fortunately, he was only a bit sore and was just cool about it!

Interested in Mayon ATV Tour? Contact:
Your Brother Travel and Tours
Brgy Pawa, Legazpi City
(052) 742-9871 / 09054557594
www.mayonatvtour.com

Mt. Kinabalu: We’re On a High

Being on top of the mountain brings me that certain kind of high… but it was quite the opposite with Baba. Descending back to the rocky plateau to rest a while, he looked worst for wear – bluish and not looking very elated with the experience. This is his first climb ever, quite ambitious of us to do this but we did it!    I feel kind of selfish now looking at him, assuming he agreed to do it only because I wanted to do it. He is having altitude sickness and we want to go back on flat lands to end it.

After soaking ourselves up with chilly mountain air, we started walking down despite feeling like old women with a nasty arthritis attack. I admit not being too prepared for this climb, and like my previous climbs, descending had always been the part I dislike a lot. Slowly, cautiously we arrived at the cliffs and the ledges. What we’ve been walking on earlier is steep cliff with only those white ropes to anchor us and prevent us from toppling over amid strong winds. Baba said, it was good that summit assaults are made while it’s still dark, so we can’t see how scary the fall would be lest we do fall…

We must be one of the last batch of people to arrive at Laban Rata after climbing from the summit. It was around 10am and we need to check out at 10:30 – gone was Baba’s wish for shut eye before the long walk back to Timpohon. We organized our things and settled down in the mess hall for our breakfast. Baba seemed to feel better and we can smile in our pictures. We explored the hall and amazed ourselves with the events that led to the fame of Mt. Kinabalu climbs. We read about the unsung heros of Laban Rata and the climbathons that were held in this mountain. 

Once again we joined Ilya and Irina’s guide because ours excused himself once more. We haven’t reached the first rest area when batches of climbers started to pass us. Those fre*k*ng stairs are starting to torture our abused limbs more. Baba and I had to control our grimace with every step and try to smile at the excited bunch of climbers passing us.

We ceased our whining and complains when we met porters that carried so much heavy loads on their shoulders. Baba’s limited Malay vocabulary lead to some interesting conversations with the local porters and our guides. We learned that our guides make about 2 to 3 climbs in a week if the tourist influx is heavy. The porters on the other hand can do 2 climbs from Timpohon to Laban Rata in a day!

It started to rain, thankfully Ilya had an extra poncho for Baba. It was colder than ever and the view is obscured by the clouds. We are indeed very lucky to have started the climb the day before and were able to see the views. Several more hours on the trail, we met exhausted climber yet they managed to get excited with our tales of magnificent views on top. We tell them that it is truly worth every step they took.

It was almost five in the afternoon when we reached Timpohon Gate and another 15 or so minutes more to get a taxi and ride back to the park. The Balsam Hi-Tea Buffet was already closed and we were only given a pack of Yang-chow to eat. Our group was quiet. 
We all decided to wait for a bus to Kota Kinabalu and luckily got a ride. The ride back to town as quiet. I slept all the way through, waking only to snuggle closer to Baba. It was worth it. We are worth it. The price we paid, the sacrifices, every ounce of pain involved in every step of the way – they were all worth it. 

Bagasbas Beach Surfing and the Bagasbas Lighthouse Beach Resort

This is part 2 of mommy and Teloyskie’s first ever backpacking experience together in the Bicol Region. We first explored Calaguas Island before coming to Bagasbas.

Soon as we landed in Vinzon’s port, our group boarded 2 tricycles and headed to Bagasbas. I was really very excited to see the waves here and boy they did not fail me! I’m no pro at surfing but the big waves in Bagasbas seem to call on to me, I got goosebumps just looking at the continuous waves coming in, but our tummies got the better of us and we started the search for food.

We wanted somewhere we can rest and rinse, but the establishment lining the stretch of Bagasbas beach disappointed us a bit. They were more like beerhouses and bars, so we settled for the pricey-looking Catherine’s  in Bagasbas Lighthouse Beach Resort.

The resort itself looked comfortable with a pool area, restaurant kiosks, kiddie jungle play area and coffee shop/bar. The shower area was open even for us diners and we asked if we can leave our stuff in the kiosk while we find surf instructors since the resort can’t provide for us. We had a hearty bicolano lunch and yummy milkshakes before heading down to the beach and finding surf instructors.

Except for Teloyskie who is still quite terrified of the waves and the water, the whole group enjoyed being pushed and splashed on by the waves. Teloyskie kept playing with the camera and behold, there’s no one single shot of mommy’s wave riding spree!!

A Dip in Calaguas Turquoise Waters: A First of Many

It’s been a month since Teloyskie moved in with me and we started living a sedentary life. He got summer school and photography workshop for the whole month of April, while mom worked at the adjustment required from a mom. Our world then revolved around one another, his summer classes, mum’s office, adventure time and hotdogs.

Outings were limited to malls, cafes and fast foods until that one fateful invitation – are you going to Calaguas with us? You and Teloyskie?

That fateful day came like a breathe of fresh air. I left the office at noon that Friday. Hurried home and packed my stuff, I was anxious at the getting good seats in the van from Daraga going to Naga and from Naga to Daet, Camarines Norte.

This is my first time to go traipsing with Teloyskie in a place we both don’t know and I thought it would be that easy. Sitting in the jump seat of a cramped van with my kid on my lap and his pack on his lap, my only though was…

“how in the world can they do this and make it all look so flawlessly easy?”

After more or less 5 hours of land travel, we arrived at our destination for the night – Daet, Camarines Norte. We stayed in Pink Diamond Hotel and explored downtown that night. The hotel is more like an apartelle, it has crappy internet connection and cable but it sufficed. Come morning we’ll be off to Calaguas!

We met with our companions at 6AM in Jolibee Daet-Bayan and soon found ourselves in a jeepney bound for Vinzon’s port.

teloyskie’s lifejacket
yawn… are we there yet?
Teloyskie was soo cool about everything and never did he complain about the 2 hour boat travel to Calaguas nor the oversized life jacket that swallowed him whole. He just ate, slept, looked around, slept and woke up when we arrive at our destination.

A Blue so Blue

Ate and I cannot find the exact words to describe the blue, the aquamarine, no the turquoise waters of Calaguas. It was so darn beautiful for words and Teloyskie turned to the temperate clear blue waters at once!

The long stretch of creamy white sand reminded me of Boracay Island. It was so powdery soft that you wouldn’t feel stones poking your soles when you walk around. The only issue we had was it was HOT! It was considered peak season for Calaguas beach camping thus the limited trees on the beach was surrounded with tents wishing for shade. The water was dotted with lots of service boats obscuring what could have been gorgeous view of beach.

There was a multitude of beach combers and the island was full of activity. I suddenly felt a pang of nostalgia for the true blue beach camping experience I had in Anawangin and Nagsasa were you can count the campers in your hands and you prepare all your food from scratch (or from the can/pouch). But that would have been an experience with a capital E for one with tot that keeps vanishing from sight every 10 minutes or so.

Teloyskie spent most of his time playing in the water in the morning, after lunch I successfully convinced him to rest and take a nap for him to re-charge and have more energy for more playing the afternoon. At sundown, asked one local to get us some water for rinsing at P10 per balde. After dinner, we settled down and prepared to sleep. Teloy still is reluctant to do so and make incredulous comments just to irk mommy. I know he’s enjoying this activity and I can see that he’s taking backpacking like a duck to water.

Woke up from a comfortable sleep and settled outside our tent to admire Calaguas at sunrise. My little lion still sleep soundly in the tent, but soon he stirred and stretched. And while he was stretching, he said “Mommy, I’m gonna swim…” so we did.

After brekkie, we spent all our remaining time down the waters and baking “siopaos” and “siomais” in the sand. And even when we are about to leave, ate and I still can’t find the blue that is Calaguas.

Our Calaguas experience was made oh-so-convenient by a local tour operator. Andy and Rocky of Calaguaslocal.com made sure that each and every one of their guest enjoyed Calaguas.

My little backpacker even had the privilege of occupying the “top deck” of the boat to and fro the island.

Travel Tips for Holidaying to Menorca

source

Minorca is located to the northeast of Mallorca, and is the second largest of the Balearic Islands. Not only is it one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean, but it remains the least overrun in terms of western commercialisation. Its tranquil and unspoilt landscapes are a joy to behold, and it’s no wonder that thousands of tourists from all over the world travel here every year. From the food and culture to the water sports and marine life, the island of Menorca really is a joy to behold.


Although Menorca is a lot smaller compared to the other Spanish islands, that doesn’t mean it has less activities to experience. Its beaches are some of the most stunning in the Mediterranean, and many of them are protected by conservation projects to ensure their beauty remains intact. During some parts of the year, handfuls of tourists are able to have entire beaches to themselves, and there are a number of luxury holiday resorts and apartments that will cater for families with young children.

Menorca has a rich and vibrant history, and this can be seen through its present-day culture. Having been occupied by the Romans, British and the Moors, each group of settlers have left their mark on the island, whether it’s through cooking, art or architecture. Thankfully, Menorca has managed to avoid the stark commercialisation that has dominated many other Balearic islands, meaning it continues to remain as authentic as ever.  Let’s take a look at some of the best travelling tips when embarking on your holiday to this fantastic island.

Culture
If you you’re looking for a holiday where you can top up your tan by the pool, then Menorca isn’t the place for you. Yes, there are plenty of places to take on the typical sun-lounging duties of a holidaymaker, however that would be a terrible waste of this island’s valuable and historic culture. If you’re taking a trip to Menorca, then experience the island in all its glory is an absolute must, and that means historical exploration.
The Carthaginian civilisation founded both of the island’s largest cities, Ciutadella and Mahon. There are a vast number of historical and architectural gems to be found in the pebbled, winding streets of these cities, including an 18th century Arabian palace. There are also a number of burial sites that date back to the Tudon era, so if you’re a keen historian, Menorca is certainly the place to visit. Cheap flights to Menorca can always be found online, so make sure you compare prices before you book.

Out and About
If you venture off the beaten track, you’ll be able to experience some of the most charming and friendly villages on the island. Although cultural experiences are never few and far between on Menorca, there’s always something that little bit special right around the corner – you just have to know where to look.
Hire a tour guide to help you explore the city, and we can promise you that you won’t be left disappointed. There’s a hidden side of Menorca that tourists rarely get the chance to see, however if you venture far enough away from the souvenir stands and deck chair suppliers, there’s a secret world just waiting to be discovered.

5 Things to Do in Boracay Island this Summer!

flicker.com

Ah summer… Just two weeks ago, I can still feel a chill in the air, but now it’s suddenly scorching hot, a clear manifestation that summer season have started early. Here in the Philippines, Boracay is a popular destination for beach bummer these hot summer months. I’ve been lucky to set foot in this lovely island twice in the past years and it definitely has a lot to offer for different sorts of travelers and tourist. So here’s my top 5 list of to do’s when you’re in the hot island of Boracay!

1. Be Sporty – Try out Water Sports


flicker.com

The first time I was here, I was with my dragon boat team and I did not do anything but paddle and drink. We trained, rowed and competed during the day and they got drunk at night night with those guys who flew in via Air Canada. But yes, Boracay is the place to learn and play the hottest water or summer sports because they are easily accessible and conveniently available for anybody interested. There’s kite surfing in Bulabog beach, paddle boarding, PARA-SAILING!, dragon boat competitions and a long list of sports and water activities you can try out!

2. Indulge: Eat!!

When in Boracay, do eat at places that you can only find in Boracay. Both times I was there I tried Jammer’s gigantic burger (we’ve cut it into four parts!), Backyard Barbeque and the popular Jonah’s fruit shakes. You’d never go hungry in this island with it’s unending list of food options. 
3. Soak in the Sun: Be Beach Bum

Summer is synonymous with lazy days and hot party nights. People in this island wake up a bit later into the day to lounge around in the beach, people watch (celebrity stalk I say), become human espasol and for pale skinned – to get a tan! A beach blanket, a bottle of water, sun tan or sunblock, nice reggae music and a good book in hand completes the beach bummer’s armada!

4. Party Like there’s No Tomorrow!

Boracay is not called the Party island for nothing! After admiring the sultry sunset view that the island is popularly known for, people head off to change into their party attire and prepare for a vibrating night of music and booze. Boracay is home to some of the best beach parties in the country, there the Summer Place, Juice, Paraw Station and Cocomangas to name a few. You can’t stay here a few days without a taste of the night scene!



Photos: AF, Tripadvisor, Flicker

5. Sigh to the Sunset

This is probably my most favorite activity while in Boracay. I have always been amazed by the beauty of the sunrise especially when I’m up in the mountains, but sunsets can truly take one’s breath away when you’re down at the beach – Boracay to be exact. Watching the sunset is one thing that you should never miss when in Boracay. It’s fiery, sultry and romantic and it’s one of the most beautiful sights you can share with a loved one. 

Issues about Boracay being overcrowded is something that can easily turn travelers off. But despite coming here on the peak season – April and May, Boracay remains to be one of my favorite beach destinations. It’s not for the parties and the night life, I didn’t try it on both times I was here, but for it’s legendary white sand, cool waters that is soo inviting and of course – the sunset.