Swimming with Sea Turtles – Apo Island

 

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Looking for another reason to finally visit Dumaguete City? Here’s one for you.

Apo Island, a lovely tourist destination located in Southern Negros Oriental less than an hour’s drive from Dumaguete City, offers you the rare chance to swim with sea turtles!

The island is about 30 minutes boat ride away from Malatapay, Zamboanguita – you can hire your own private boat or hop on the once-a-day-only public trips. If you are travelling alone or in a group of less than 5 and would like to save on the P2,000 to P3,500 approximate boat rental, you can always arrange to share with other travelers. Apo is a famous summer spot for local and foreign visitors alike, so finding someone to share with wouldn’t be a problem.

We hired our own small boat for P3,000 – shared by 7 “kuripot” friends and that’s around P430 each! We spent around P1,000 each including food, drinks, cottage, snorkeling & guide fee. A BIG bang for your buck! Exactly my kind of trip.

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Being a legit island girl myself (Siquijor Island will always be No. 1 in my heart!!), I’d be honest and say that Apo’s beach can do better. But hey, look what’s in the water. I wouldn’t dare complain.

It was a magical moment for me to finally see these gentle creatures swimming and feeding so peacefully in their natural habitat. I thoroughly enjoyed Hongkong Oceanpark but this is the real deal. Something you should see for yourself at least once.

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If given the chance and time, Apo Island is definitely up there in my places to re-visit list. Why don’t you come yourself? 🙂

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Christmas Trip – Bacolod

Traveling with friends is good but exploring places with your family is on another level of awesome.

I’ve always dreamed of giving back to my parents through simple local trips. I want my oldies to try new experiences while they’re able and living in Dumaguete means Bacolod is a no-brainer travel option

After Christmas in 2016 and together with a few cousins, all four of our small family went ahead with the fun road trip my brother and I prepared as a gift to our parents.

We rented a van for this 2-day trip and started out really early. Breakfast was at Kabankalan. We even stopped by Mabinay for a few photos since it was my first time going that route.

Travel time from Dumaguete to Bacolod via Mabinay was about 4 to 5 hours. Though a little tiring, we went straight ahead to exploring Campuestuhan Highland Resort.

Needless to say, it was well worth the extra effort. It also didn’t hurt that we got foot and back massages to ease the stress.

For dinner, we went to Manokan Country for our Chicken Inasal fix. My brother, papa and my cousin’s husband had some good grilled oysters too! So busog! I wouldn’t mind coming back here each time I’m in Bacolod.

The next day, we went early to The Ruins for some lovely picture time. It was dark when I first went here so it’s pretty awesome to finally see the ruins in broad daylight. The parents definitely loved it too!

 

On our way back to Dumaguete, we went to Murcia and visited Mambukal Mountain Resort. The boys even went for a dip in the hot spring pools.

We only enjoyed a few hours in Mambukal and hurried back to Dumaguete just before the shops close. We had a few hours to spare and bought fruits, cake, and pasalubong as we prepare to welcome 2017.

This short trip was a great way to end 2016 with high spirits and positive energy!

Trip date: Dec 2016

Davao Memories

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Our short but sweet visit to Mati and Davao City in stills.

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Took a break from the long ride from Davao City to Mati and took pictures of the “sleeping dinosaur”. A good way to stretch!

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Culture-tripping in Subangan Museum, Mati.

Stayed in Dahican for a night to prep for Ultralight Flying the next day.

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From Mati, the tribe hit the road & traveled back to Davao City. Found this lovely place for our lunch stop.

We checked in at Go Hotels Lanang and spent the rest our limited energy exploring. We visited the busy Plaza for some pasalubong, bbq and foot massage for some of us. Ended the night with McDo coffee (exploring late at night was pretty safe) and some wine for a good night’s rest.

Our last full day in Davao was as jam-packed as can be!

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Museo Dabawenyo

Malagos Garden

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Eden Nature Nature Park

Random fruit stand for some durian and other yummy & affordable fruits!

Crocs, tigers and other animals at the Davao Crocodile Park. This made me sad though. I kept thinking about all the caged animals and it was pretty disturbing.

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Pasalubong shopping because– why not? haha

Ended the day with dinner at Jack’s Ridge bc we enjoy tourist traps like that! lol

Always thankful for the time, energy and opportunity to experience travelling with friends. What a lovely way to end my 2016.

One for the books!

 

Swinging it in Davao

Spent a day at another thrill-seeker’s paradise – Eden Nature Park.

Though it was drizzling when we visited, the rain did not stop us from experiencing the best in Davao thrill rides. My friends went suspended biking with fog surrounding them! To support the dongsaeng who is afraid of heights (and because we figured we’ve tried biking up in the air in CHAP Bohol) I enjoyed the mini zip lines instead.

It was so fun, I felt like a kid again!

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I couldn’t completely pass on the opportunity to try another cool ride though! hahaha Even if I was a little apprehensive riding it newly-fixed, I didn’t want to leave Davao without trying the Sky Swing for myself.

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“Ang GoPro nakalimtan!”

While filming videos is the best in capturing a moment, dropping from 80 feet above the ground makes you instinctively grab hold for dear life. haha!

What a highlight to my Davao experience!

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Judging by the looks of these BIG kids, it’s safe to say Eden made us feel 20 years younger!

(Visit date – December 2016)

 

Up up up Mati

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This post is dedicated to the thrill-seeker in me! That reckless little person inside my head who throws reason into thin air for that twist-in-your-belly, cold-sweat thrill and exhilarating joy of adrenaline in my veins.

If your an adrenaline junkie like myself, get a bunch of crazies you could call friends haha! Good thing all my close friends are so game with anything, adding ultralight flying in our Davao itinerary  is a no-brainer.

Yes yes yes! It’s crazy-terrifying at first to be flying on a small aircraft with only you and the pilot side by side (not because he’s cute although that can be the case too lol). But once you get to settle your nerves for a minute, the ride is actually really scenic and informative.

Mati is such a beauty from up there! Would you really want to miss out on the opportunity of being the closest you could get to flying? Bet you this is well worth your nerves.

 

Visit Mindanao Saga Flying Club in Mati to experience this firsthand.

(Trip Date -December 2016)

 

Bacolod-Iloilo-Guimaras Birthday Trip

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A tried and tested formula to know if you really like a person? Travel together.

I always believed that the next best thing you can do to really get to know a person (other than living together) is to spend a few days together in a new environment. Exploring and the potential of getting lost, finding restaurants and tasting foreign food (with the chance of getting hAngry in the process) and constantly seeing each other 24/7 is good test of character and compatibility not only for romantic relationships but also for friends.

I personally don’t mind getting lost because I love adventure and wandering but never EVER get me hungry cause I can be a bit** when I am. I also don’t mind wherever I eat, just get me clean water (and by this I mean bottled & distilled if possible. I’m no longer risking a week in the hospital which I experienced btw). And I’m never picky w/ what you put in the itinerary but just give me a few hours to look at art/museum or local markets cause they’re the best places to understand culture for me.

And here you might start to ask, what’s all this got to do with this post eh?

This trip around a few places in Western Visayas is actually not the very first time I am travelling with the three friends I met (and still treasure up to this day) in my part-time teaching job. We went to Bantayan once and decided that we should try somewhere a little far. We were originally booked for Davao but with the plaza bombing at that time, we decided to cancel and have a little DIY trip in Bacolod, Iloilo and Guimaras instead.

We went to Murcia for Mambukal Mountain Resort and stayed there for one night. It was beautiful, peaceful and refreshing. Something all of us residing for too long in the city needs from time to time. They have hot spring pools and waterfalls and ofcourse the Ilonggo chicken inasal which you wouldn’t regret eating.

For Bacolod, we went to Campuestohan Highland Resort for some (wacky) photos. Those who like adventure would love it here. They have the hamster ride, zip lines, suspended bicycles and many others. They also have a pool if you feel too hot. By around 6.30 PM we were even able to visit The Ruins. But your Bacolod experience wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Manokan Country – for more inasal of course! Can’t hurt to try the grilled oysters too.

Last on this leg is our short but sweet visit to Guimaras and Iloilo. We only have a day and half left for exploring so we decided on a private multicab day tour in Guimaras – a quiet island just a few minutes from Iloilo (and will only cost you less than P20 to visit, would you believe?). What left a deep impression for me was our sunset windmills viewing – and the scary trip back to the port with unlighted streets and the risk of not getting on the last ferry for the day! LOL

Iloilo is culinary haven. The Ted’s Oldtimer Lapaz Bachoy and Mang Inasal are only two of the brands widely popular nationwide that actually started in this city. We couldn’t resist going to the very first stores!

Aside from all the fun (and pictures) that I brought home with me in this trip, something that I am most grateful for is the true friendship that I have found in these 3 new friends of mine. I will always remember how a short trip made me friends I will keep forever. ❤

Appreciating the Surprises of Gillian Flynn

My friends know that I go a little nerd about books and my taste can range from children’s literature to young adult to action. But my favorite genre of them all has to be suspense.

I have to be honest – I knew Gillian Flynn only after the hype about the Gone Girl movie. I even got my 2 other books on sale from National Bookstore. I might be late but I’d like to dedicate an entire post to  appreciate the beauty that is Flynn’s head.

After Gone Girl, I went for Sharp Objects – a novel narrating the life and struggles of a cutter (a person who cuts her own skin) as she unravels the truth behind children disappearing and killed from her hometown while facing her own demons. The story is ordinary on the surface and to be honest I thought I got the killer guessing game down pat. Lo and behold the shocker that was the last chapter! Flynn did not scrimp on gory details – the psychological part about the need to cut skin is so disturbing and I love it.

The recent book I finished just a week ago was Dark Places – a story about a family murder survivor Libby and how her desire to prove her testimony (that resulted to her brother’s lifetime imprisonment) lead her face to face with the awful truth. Told in 2 voices of the past (her mother and brother’s) and Libby’s current one, the novel is a gripping guessing game. One of those books that tempts you to take a peek at the last few pages just so you can sleep at night. This is definitely dark and gory, so if you like those things this one’s for you.

Would you like some Flynn gore too?