Changes for 16 Days Itinerary

Since I had so much fun surfing over the past two days, I’m going to change my 16 Days Itinerary. I think I can be really good at this. Haha.

I’m trading Iligan for Daet.

LEG1: Batanes, Banaue (Mar. 22 – 27)

Manila –> Batanes  Mar. 22, 23, 24, 25
MNL to Basco: 5:30AM

Batanes –> Tuguegarao by skypasada Mar. 25
Tuguegarao -> Tabuk -> Banaue by bus Mar. 25, 26, 27

Banaue -> Manila Mar. 27@5PM
* need to catch first flight to Palawan

LEG2: Puerto Princesa/El Nido, Iloilo/Guimaras(Mar. 28 – April 2)

Cebu Pacific had a Piso fare promo last March 7,8 and I was able to book my MNL–> Puerto Princesa–>Iloilo flights. Yahoo! Perks for planning early.

Manila -> Puerto Princesa/El Nido Mar. 28, 29, 30, 31
Flight Manila to Puerto Princesa: Mar. 28, 8:10am

Puerto Princesa –> Iloilo/Guimaras–> CDO Mar. 31, Apr. 1, 2
Puerto Princesa to Iloilo:
(Mar. 31, 920AM) straight flight

Iloilo – MNL

April 2

I’m still thinking if I’ll take an Iloilo–>MNL–>Naga connecting flight or just take the bus going to Daet from Manila. It all depends on promo fares. If I can get a flight as cheap as a bus fare, why not?

LEG3: Bagasbas, Calaguas (April 2 – 6)

The plan is to surf in Bagasbas before heading to Calaguas. As a beginner I think I can be more productive surfing during the weekdays since there’s going to be less people fighting for the waves.

April 2: Travel from Iloilo –> MNL –> Daet

April 3, 4, 5 – surfing at Bagasbas

April 5 afternoon travel to Calaguas, overnight

April 6 afternoon – back to Daet and travel back to Manila

Sea, Sand, Sun Overload!

16 Days

Backpacking Itinerary for 2014. Make It Happen.

Overwhelmed by responses. Check out the itinerary.

LEG1: Batanes, Banaue (Mar. 22 – 27)

Manila –> Batanes  Mar. 22, 23, 24, 25
MNL to Basco: 5:30AM

Batanes –> Tuguegarao by skypasada Mar. 25
Tuguegarao -> Tabuk -> Banaue by bus Mar. 25, 26, 27

Banaue -> Manila Mar. 27@5PM
* need to catch first flight to Palawan

LEG2: Puerto Princesa/El Nido, Iloilo/Guimaras, Iligan (Mar. 28 – April 4)

Manila -> Puerto Princesa/El Nido Mar. 28, 29, 30, 31
Flight Manila to Puerto Princesa: Mar. 28, 8:10am

Puerto Princesa –> Iloilo/Guimaras–> CDO Mar. 31, Apr. 1, 2
Puerto Princesa to Iloilo:
(Mar. 31, 920AM) straight flight

Iloilo –> CDO
Straight flight: 1055AM April 2

CDO –>Iligan –> Manila April  2, 3, 4

CDO–>MNL
1010AM straight flight (April 4) ETA: 1115AM

LEG3: Caramoan/Calaguas

*James suggested  Calaguas instead of Carmoan because it’s nearer and more beautiful.

Manila –> Naga –> Caramoan/Calaguas –>Naga –>Manila Apr. 4, 5, 6

Naga-> Sabang:  1.5hr via van
Sabang  Caramoan 2hrs boat ride 5:00am first trip; last trip: 1:00pm

MNL to Naga:  1250PM (April 4)
April 5 Caramoan and Calaguas
Naga to MNL: April 6 PM

 

***Pls. check out this post for Itinerary changes.

https://mysunnyafternoons.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/changes-for-16-days-itinerary/

Make it Happen

Make your dreams happen. Stop making up excuses.

Traveling has always been a part of my bucketlist but everytime I think about doing it, I always find an excuse not to. I’m not that brave enough, I don’t have the money for it, I can’t take a leave from work, I have other things to spend on and the list goes on.

A few days ago I was sitting beside a lone foreigner traveler in a bus who’s just seen the Philippine Rice Terraces and thinking why the heck haven’t I seen that place considering I was just a bus ride away.

So…there I was dreaming about traveling too, getting sucked in by the appetite of going to places I’ve never been to, writing about it and then boom!  my mind tells me to just make it happen. It there’s a will, there’s a way. I can spend years saving up money to travel after retirement but boyyyy being 70 and backpacking doesn’t sound so fun. Might as well do it now that I am fit and single and no kids to worry about. So I began my research.

I must admit I am not the backpacking type. My sisters and friends will probably roll their eyes when I tell them about my plan. But you know what? I’ve already got a plan. But of course, I’m not doing it alone. I can’t do that. I’m not the type of a lone traveler especially with my poor sense of direction.

I’ve never ever taken a vacation longer than 3 days so I’m making sure that this trip will be a 2 week adventure. Of course, it will cost some amount of money so I’m planning one year in advance (yes! one year!). Firstly, to save on airfares since promo fares need to be booked months in advance. Secondly, to find some travel lusting people to do it with and thirdly, to save money since it is cheaper to travel as a group.

Of course, it’s just right that I check out my own beautiful country first. I have 6 travel destinations, 5 of which are destinations from  Journeyingjames’ Top 10 Philippine Destinations  and included Caramoan to it. Batanes has always been on my bucketlist.

Travel period will be from March 22 – April 6 2014. That’s 3 weekends, 16 days in all.

Holy week will fall on April 14-20 so I want to avoid those dates since it’s going to be the peakest of the peak for travelers and vacationers.

 

March

 

Su

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April

 

Su

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We’ll be traveling from North to South. I have never planned anything like this before. I’ve checked flight schedules and did some research but things may still change.  Our only pitstop in Manila is the airport.

LEG 1: Manila –> Batanes –> Banaue (via Tuguegarao -Tabuk) –> Manila (Mar. 22 – 28)

LEG2: Manila –> Puerto Princesa/El Nido Iloilo/Guimaras –> Iligan(via CDO) –> Manila (Mar 28- April 4)

LEG3: Manila –> Caramoan (via Naga) –> Manila (April 4-6)

Check out my map below.

Untitled

If you are interested in joining me, leave me a message.

My only requirements for you are the ff:

1. Physically fit

2. Sense of humor

3. Street smart

I’ll probably start booking flights mid year since promo fares start really early.

I sound ambitious I know but wadahek! It’s now or never.

Wanderlust

One day I’m going to sell my belongings and travel.

Ha! Of course that’s just one of my biggest dreams and I hope I won’t be too old when I get around to doing it.

Actually, it’s so tempting to that right now but with all the bills I’m paying and our current family financial crisis, it would sound selfish to do it at this point.

I wish I’ll build that courage to abandon everything and just go see the world or even just all the corners of my dear country.

Last night I was sitting beside a foreigner during the bus ride from Baguio to Manila. Somehow, our seat numbers got duplicated with another 2 guys who booked their ticket in Manila. The foreigner and I came later than the 2 guys so we were kicked out of our seats. Anyway, I had it arranged with the security guard and we got our seats back. The foreigner was only carrying 2 books and a bottle of something and he smelled like he needed a shower. He opened one of his books, something written in what I thought was Arabic. The other book was something about the Philippines. No doubt, a traveler. From his facial features I guessed he was from Israel.

After the first bus stop, the lights were dimmed and he stowed away the book he was reading. Ganun pala yun, pabaliktad ang sulat and they also flip it from the back. Out of curiosity I asked him what language the book was written in. He answered it was Hebrew. I asked where he was from and he said he was from Israel. He’s only been in the Philippines for 5 days and he just came from Sagada and the Rice Terraces, traveling alone. As a souvenir he got one bottle of Bugnay wine.  He was heading to Mindoro next. Wow! Tapang! How come I can never do that?! It was such a shame that he’s seen places I’ve never been to in my own country. I asked him where else he’d be going and he named a few places like Bohol, Boracay and Palawan but he’ll be staying here for another 3 weeks with some friends. Nakakainggit lang! I just feel envious of people who can be that adventurous and …erhmm rich.

Now, I’m tempted to buy out my Life Insurance and spend it for traveling. Haha! Who needs life insurance anyway?! Right?

 

Misibis Bay Weekend Maximized

A week later and everybody’s (me, my sisters, shiela and mark) still raving about our weekend trip in Misibis Bay, Albay. We missed the buffet, lounging in the pool area and doing water sports.

Before our trip, I’ve read varying reviews of the resort, from greatness to dullness (which I interpreted as “kaartehan” lang).  But for us, every centavo was worth it. Why? Because we made sure we get the best out of the experience, never letting small stuff bother us. Our goal: SULITIN!

It was raining when our plane landed in Legazpi and we were scheduled for the city tour prior to checking in. The rain was boohoo but we didn’t let it dampen our mood. Plus, our tour guide, Bert, was keeping us entertained. It was drizzling when we visited Lignon Hill and Mt. Mayon was barely visible. (Sayang! But hey it’s always a reason to come back. They say the mountain hides from evil people….. ugh so we debated on who the jinx was..nobody conceded) Next stop was the Cagsawa Ruins, a church that was built in 1724 and was buried by Mt Mayon’s eruption in 1714. Only the bell tower survived. Bert told us there were photographers around the area who offered to take trick shots in exchange of a small amount of donation. My niece, Ishi, was so fond of the photos. We also bought our pasalubong from the adjacent market. Bicol Putoseko for the win! Nex stop: LUNCH!

cagsawa

Colonial Grill was famous in the area for their Tinapa rice so we decided to give it a shot. I still couldn’t forget the tinapa rice and laing I had over a year ago in Legazpi while visiting Camsur. Our lunch did not disappoint. The best part was dessert, where in we ordered the famous sili ice cream and calamansi ice cream. Boy! That sili ice cream tasted like Labuyo with matching guhit sa lalamunan but the creamy taste to it was a nice combination.

colonial grill

I think it was an hour drive before we finally got to Misibis Bay Resort. The rain has stopped and there were dancers in costume who greeted us at the front lawn. Tine gleefully joined them in their dance. Dinaig pa yata sila. Welcome drinks and chips were given at the reception area. By the time we checked in, it started to rain.

We got to our respective rooms via the golf cart because of the downpour. Tine, Irhys, Shiela and I stayed in the 1BR Deluxe while Dianne, Mark and Ishi settled in the adjoining Premier Villa. Ang sarap matulog! But of course, sleep was last on our list. Complementary beach woven bags were placed on each bed. Acca Kappa toiletries in the bathroom!  And… tada! meryenda on the kitchen table. We saved the palitaw for later since we just had our lunch. We got into our swimsuits and went to the water sports area.

The rain was teasing as it poured and stopped but what the hey to the rain. We didn’t care. Allan greeted us at the waters sports area and gave us waivers to sign. All non-motorized water sports are Free of Charge to all guests. Yahoo! We got into our kayaks and paddled away. The sun started to shine and the wind calmed. We heard the hobie cat sail was a nice ride so we got rid of our kayaks after a while and headed out to sea with Allan as our sailor. Sayang we didn’t have underwater cameras. It would have been nice to take photos of ourselves getting splashed by the sea water. The splashes were unexpected so it was very fun to watch each other get drenched and hit on the face.

red vs blue

We still had so much energy so we decided to try wind surfing. I was the first to get on it. We listened to Allan as he gave us a short briefing on the whats and hows of wind surfing. In fairness, hindi siya madali! I might have fallen 10 times before I was finally able to surf on my own. You need to have upper body strength and balance. Shiela tried it next but she wasn’t able to sail on her own. I had bruises on my knees from repeatedly getting on the rough board. It was already 5pm so we decided to try it again the following day. The water sports area is only open from 8am- 5pm. Out of curiosity we also tried the trampoline, wherein we roared with laughter seeing someone fall and then we also tried to climb that freaking floating white mountain and the orange one too.. but failed miserably. There was no way we could reach the first handle bar.

watersports

It was getting late. We lounged at the pool area while we took turns to get showered. Puto was waiting in our kitchen table. (Winner!)We had dinner at Spice Market. Some of the crew offered us their dinner buffet at a much lower price (huh? natatawaran ang buffet?) but we settled on ala carte since were not that hungry. After dinner we checked out the recreation area. Ishi was already sweating, jumping and moving infront of the kinect screen. Syempre nakilaro din kami! We returned to our villas happy and contented. We shared 2 bottles of wine and some cheetos and called it a night. That was only our first day and we felt like we have done so much already.

When we checked in, they gave us a print out of the suggested itinerary. My roomies woke me up at 6:30. It was too early but they wanted to get the best out of the buffet breakfast so I obliged my half asleep self. For day 2 we skipped the snorkeling and enjoyed our buffet breakfast until 9:30am. I’m a breakfast person so I love breakfast food but I’m not a buffet eater. I really have a very small appetite. I had to shoo away the demons that say “you’re eating too much. stop!” during that particular trip so I indulged. Pancakes with layers of whip cream, blueberry jam, kisses and chocolate syrup! Happy tummy!

Ziplining time! We got to the zip lining area at 10am. We were the only group there. We got strapped and climbed up the narrow ladder to the take off point. It was onlya 150m long ride since the longer one was non-operational due to the rainy weather. One by one, we took our turns. We were allowed to repeat as many times as we wanted. Sulitin! So I did it 3 times even if it meant walking back to the start line in that squeeshy mud and grass.

Next stop, we dropped by at the ampitheatre. Magnificent view! In fairness, ang gagaling maglitrato ng mga tao dun. Our golf cart driver offered to take our photos with matching posing and angle na nalalaman. Thumbs up, kuya!

ziplining

It was already lunchtime by the time we got back to the resort but we were still full so we decided to head for the beach. Hobie Cat Sailing round 2! I brought a book and Shiela her tablet. We were going to lounge but then we changed our minds and strapped on our life vests, pulled a kayak and started paddling. Unlimited is awesome. After 2 rounds we headed back to the shore and propped on our beach beds. We were settled comfortably on the beach beds and bathing in the sun when suddenly the rain decided to pour. We scampered to the shaded area and decided to go back to our rooms. We were walking back to our villa when the rain stopped. Shiela and I turned around and walked back to the beach. Took the cabana and settled on the cushions. I wanted to get my tan lines a bit even so I propped on my elbows under the sun and began to read the book I brought. Shiela was reading on her tablet. The sun was shining but the wind was blowing madly. I think we dozed off for a few minutes. Tine and Irhys arrived a few minutes later, followed by Mark, Dianne and Ishi. Shiela, Irhys Mark and I played a bit of volleyball then switched to soccer. Shiela and Irhys were the goalee while Mark and I ran after the ball trying to score. Hingal! I was sweating and breathing heavily. Dang! Ang hirap pala. Mark and Irhys won. Boo! Hobing Cat Sailing round 3! Alex was our sailor this time and he was very entertaining, maneuvering the boat to maximize the splashes we were trying to duck. Ang galing prumeno sa tubig!

The wind still hasn’t calmed but Tine was decided on trying out the wind surf. Everybody was having a good time watching her, including the water sports crew. In the end, nobody got to surf successfully because the wind was relentless. So, we decided to try the floaters again… to no avail.

One of my greatest accomplishment during our stay was being able to get up on the stupid orange floater. Took all my strength. Thanks to Kuya Dan Lloyd who helped me get up.  Shiela was the only one left on shore to watch my victory! Hurray! float

Dinner time! I promised the group I’d treat them to dinner so we attacked the dinner buffet after getting showered. Sinulit!

My body was so sore and tired I fell asleep instantly. The following day was our last. We ate our breakfast wherein I wasn’t able to eat as much as I wanted to because I got full immediately.

Mark was already at trying to wind surf when we got to the water sports area. The wind was strong so he failed and failed and everybody else who tried. We did our final round of kayak and paddle surf then got showered. We were leaving at 11am.

After getting dressed, we ordered pancit and headed to the water sports area to give it to the crew who were so patient with us during our stay. All the staff and crew were really really nice. We are going to miss them. It was one hell of a vacation. Sulit to the max! Nakakamiss!

IMG_1246

from left Dan Lloyd, Shiela, Ishi, me, Tine, Allan, Alex

misibis bay

I Got Lost

“I got lost!” That’s a common statement from me to which most of my friends and family would answer “What’s new?”.

I was trying to prove otherwise so I took a Visual and Spatial Intelligence Test online. There were only 10 questions and no time pressure. The first items seemed easy and I ticked my answer quite confidently. When I got to the 6th question, I stared at the rubix cube and tried to figure out which object came next. Tic tac tic tac. 2mins over… 3 mins over. I tried to focus. Shit! I was starting to feel frustrated. I was actually feeling panicky the whole time I was taking the test. It was the same familiar feeling everytime I … got lost. I took my time and finished the test feeling a little confident. I clicked on the result button and braced myself. This is what appeared on the screen.

BELOW AVERAGE! Oh wait.. it said MUCH LOWER…that’s somewhere below BELOW AVERAGE? Oh shoot! That was… disappointing.  I actually thought I wasn’t that bad at all but the test results just proved how poor I was when it came to visualization. 😦

You see, I *diagnosed myself with something called PSD –Poor Sense of Direction, to which some of my friends would cry “UNDERSTATEMENT!”. Hehehe. While there are people who are really diagnosed with DTD (Developmental Topographical Disorder), I am the luckier one who belongs to the healthy but disoriented people. DTD patients get lost in very familiar surroundings, such as their house or neighborhood, daily.  

Last Sunday, Nick, Apple and I drove our way to Pampanga to cheer for our fellow runners who were running the 102km BDM ultrarace. My hometown is up North so notably, I have taken NLEX a dozen of times already but last Sunday was just epic. I missed the right turn from EDSA going to NLEX! As we ascended the ramp, I asked my passengers if I was going to make a right turn. Both of them answered in affirmation saying “dito” (here) and pointing to the approaching right turn. However, somewhere in my brain, my instincts were kicking in saying “Wait! Not this one!” so I held the steering wheel steady and whizzed by the right turn to which both my passengers reacted in frustration followed by laughter. “Ano ka ba?!!! Sinabi na ngang dun eh. Taga Baguio ka ba?” someone said. I just laughed along with them. We were left with no choice but to take a U-Turn southbound and another U-Turn to return to my previous missed right turn to NLEX. Hooray! Our adventure just started. (Note: This is not the first time this happened. My sister can attest to this.)

When it comes to directions my instincts are really OFF but instincts are instincts and most of the time I follow my gut feeling, which always turns out to be WRONG!

Last year, I was on the same trip to Pampanga with Apple and Irene. Apple took the driver’s seat and I sat beside her, holding my printed-out map. Irene was comfortably perched at the backseat. I prepared for this trip, studying the route, printing the map, encircling landmarks, etc. but we still got lost 3 times! This year, we made a couple of wrong turns again which elicited more laughter and teasing from my two passengers.

We stopped by a gas station to have breakfast and that was when I mentioned that I had plans of traveling alone. Did they shake their heads or did they laugh? I can’t really remember, maybe both. Apple said I had to have them check my bags before traveling. Nick said I had to learn first how to focus on the “Now”. I knew they were both right. With my poor sense of direction, it’s highly likely I will be getting lost 80% of the time.

I’ll admit to you, I still can’t figure out how the Ortigas Extension Bridge crosses over the Floodway.

Maybe I should abandon my plans of traveling alone.

I’m generally tough and I think I’ll make it alive but maybe I’ll spend more time getting lost than actually going anywhere and I’ll probably be burning more cash due to this. It may be fun to get lost once in a while but when it happens everytime, it gets frustrating.  When people give me directions, the words turn garbled after the third one. It gets overwhelming and I could not absorb anything at all. It seems my mental GPS has a very low memory space. I always find my way to my destination but it takes a lot of focusing and a lot more time.

So, the question still stands. Should I still plan on travelling alone or abandon the idea? Maybe I could but I’ll need to save up twice as much, take time to plan and study every detail, make sure my GPS batteries are full, make sure my mobile phone is charged, pack a big amount of courage and prepare myself emotionally to handle the frustration.

P.S. I took another visual and spatial intelligence test hoping well..hoping the first test result wasn’t accurate. I got 12 out of 28. 😦 Confeeeermed! Just to make me feel better, I took the classical IQ Test and researched on different learning styles (nerdy topic here we go). I got a more satisfying score in the IQ test (apparently I’m gifted somewhere else) and learned that there are basically two types of learners, the visual-spatial and auditory-sequential learner. The main differences are enumerated below:

**

AUDITORY-SEQUENTIAL VISUAL-SPATIAL
Thinks primarily in words Thinks primarily in pictures
Has auditory strengths Has visual strengths
Relates well to time Relates well to space
Is a step-by-step learner Is a whole-part learner
Learns by trial and error Learns concepts all at once
Progresses sequentially from easy to difficult material Learns complex concepts easily; struggles with easy skills
Is an analytical thinker  Is a good synthesizer
Attends well to details Sees the big picture; may miss details
Follows oral directions well Reads maps well
Does well at arithmetic Is better at math reasoning than computation
Learns phonics easily Learns whole words easily
Can sound out spelling words Must visualize words to spell them
Can write quickly and neatly Prefers keyboarding to writing
Is well-organized Creates unique methods of organization
Can show steps of work easily Arrives at correct solutions intuitively
Excels at rote memorization Learns best by seeing relationships
Has good auditory short-term memory Has good long-term visual memory
May need some repetition to reinforce learning Learns concepts permanently; is turned off by drill and repetition
Learns well from instruction Develops own methods of problem solving
Learns in spite of emotional reactions Is very sensitive to teachers’ attitudes
Is comfortable with one right answer Generates unusual solutions to problems
Develops fairly evenly Develops quite asynchronously
Usually maintains high grades May have very uneven grades
Enjoys algebra and chemistry Enjoys geometry and physics
Learns languages in class Masters other languages through immersion
Is academically talented Is creatively, mechanically, emotionally, or technologically gifted
Is an early bloomer Is a late bloomer

That was quite comforting. I obviously belonged to the Autidory-Sequential Learner.  =)

Reference:

**http://www.gifteddevelopment.com/Visual_Spatial_Learner/vsl.htm

Weekend Getaway: Club Balai Isabel

Summer is here early. It’s been blistering hot the past few weeks and we’ve reached a whooping 34.4 degrees Celsius. That just makes the sea and sand more inviting. It was my sister, Dianne, who planned the weekend as early as January. She’s always been the meticulous planner and every out of town, my only job was to pay my share and appear on the day of departure.  Our destination this time was Club Balai Isabel in Batangas (twas where Oyo and Christine held their wedding) with her husband, my niece and my two other sisters. They timed it on the same weekend as the Nuvali long run of our TBRDMers Mark, Tine and Irhys. They’ll be running their first marathon in the TBR Dream Marathon in March and Saturday was their longest run of 32km.

Since my sister lived in Fairview, they stayed at our flat on Friday evening and we all drove early to Nuvali at 3:30am. I joined them on their first 6km and headed back to baby sit for my niece so Dianne can run when I came back. After their long run, we had our hefty breakfast at Conti’s and left for the resort at 10am. We were checking in at 12nn. We arrived earlier but the room was ready so they allowed us to check in.

If I was in the mood to eat rice, this would be my favorite breakfast. I was super hungry after waiting for 1.5 hrs

My recovery drink. Yummmmmy!

The place was really neat. A big compound with houses and apartments, trees, infinity pool and 2 smaller ones, shoreline and a view of Taal. Check out their website http://www.balaiisabel.com/. I think they have pretty reasonable prices. We paid 6k for a room that was good for 6. It had one bedroom with 2 queen size beds, a bathroom, small kitchen and dining and a living room with 2 couch beds with a pull-out. The good thing about it was that we were allowed to bring food and the kitchen was well equipped. Tipid friendly. We brought adobo, tacos, danggit, wine and some junk foods and voila! satisfied!

So… there I got some aching arms from trying to learn how to do freestyle. Konti nalang! All in all, it was a very relaxing weekend and I’m happy to have spent it with my family!

Looking forward to tan lines after tan lines… I’ll be a patchwork after summer. =)