11/21/2015

10 Things I Can’t Leave Behind When Travelling Around Philippines

Part of my life now is travelling and exploring awesome places in the Philippines. Basically, one of the most important part of travelling is packing. This is when I feel that I am really going on a vacation. And when we travel around the Philippines, there are so many things to consider when packing. For a many of us, there are things that we cannot really leave behind when travelling. Here are the 10 things that go into my luggage first when travelling around the Philippines: 

1. Mask and Snorkels

If diving is your hobby, then mask and snorkel are your best friend. I used to rent a mask and snorkel before but I am not always comfortable with it. So I decided to get a set for myself. I may not always be around the beach, but remember that we are surrounded with water. It's just good to have them handy!

2. Drift the (light) clothes

When travelling around the Philippines, you need to consider the humid climate. Thick clothes are not comfortable to wear in the Philippines and they could be quite heavy in your luggage. That is why when I go around, I make sure I packed mostly drifit clothes with me at all times. It feels good and it's a quick dry shirt so you don't spend the day drenched in sweat. 

3. Plastic Bags

You’ve gone swimming but don’t like wasting your time waiting for your clothes to dry? Then stick it all in the plastic bag. Plastic bags are not just for wet clothes, they are also very useful for storing cellphone chargers, batteries and other small things, so you can find them in one place. 

4. Water Bottle

If you don’t want to die of thirst when travelling, then you must carry a water bottle. Though water is everywhere, you must remember to be cautious enough to secure a safer source of water rather than drinking anywhere; also carrying your own bottle means doing your bit for the environment. 

5. Camera

Before travelling, the first thing you’ll find is a beautiful travel destination, either it has beautiful scenery or the weather suits you. A traveler should, most importantly, bring a camera to take a snap of those scenes that they can look back on later to re-live the experience. Aside from my phone, I always pack my underwater camera and GoPro camera with me. Each has it's own way of capturing the beautiful moments of travelling! 

6. Belt Bags

For me, this is very important. I am a very spontaneous traveller. I am also a person who easily forget things. So to make sure I have all the important things with me, a belt bag is a must! When I travel, I don’t like to carry everything with me. A small handy belt bag is perfect for carrying the most valuable things like wallets, phones, camera, pens, and more. I want to basically enjoy exploring with less baggage with me! 

7. Polarized Shades

Shades for me is not just a fashion statement but a need. It is very important specially in the Philippines because it will protect your eyes from the heat of the sun. Wear shades and keep your eyes protected from UV rays. For some reasons, I have cholesterol deposits on my eyes which make them very sensitive to bright lights. So for a traveler like me, I make sure I don't ever forget to wear shades. Get the polarized ones too! 

8. Flip Flops

Some or maybe most of the places around the Philippines do not require people to wear shoes. Filipinos love flip flops not just because they fashionable but also because how comfortable they are to wear when travelling around the country. There are bulky flip flops out there, make sure to pick the ones that are light and easy to carry. But remember that if you are going to be doing a lot of walking - also pack a light pair of walking shoes. 

9. Notebook for Journal

As a traveller, taking pictures is not enough. I've made it a practice to also learn how to write notes while travelling. It helps me remember things, specially when I write about the things I do during the entire trip. It's also nice to make a personal recollection as a reminder of the good memories you had during your travels. 

10. Extension Cords

I always want my phone next to me when I'm in the bed. However, there are certain places in which electric sockets are situated far away from you. Extension cords are the answer to your problem. When travelling, you can now have a definite spot where you can charge your gadgets and other devices. This offers inconvenience especially if you are in unfamiliar place. I am a person who charges several gadgets like my phone, cameras, and other stuff. For foreign tourists, this means you only to have one adaptor for your extension. 



So there you have it guys! So when you see me travelling, expect that I have these items in my bag!

What about you? Would be nice to hear from you! 


Share them by commenting below!

11/17/2015

Island Hopping in EL NIDO, Palawan - The TOUR A way!

Right after my trip to Puerto Princesa some weeks ago where I stayed at Blue Palawan and also did some side tripping to Nagtabon Beach. I received another invitation again from a friend of mine, Ver Real, to accompany him and this time to EL NIDO. 


I suddenly got very excited and it was difficult to say no to this opportunity! So we packed our bags and flew to Puerto Princesa en route to El Nido. 


There are four options to explore El Nido, each tour will take you to different beautiful islands and lagoons scattered around El Nido, Palawan. The tours are simply entitled Tour A, B, C or D and and most rates average from 1000 - 1500 per person. But if you are a good haggler, I am pretty sure that you can get it at an even lower price. 

I would also like to inform everyone that this trip was arranged by ATTRACION DE TOURISMO TRAVEL AND TOURS, a travel agency that is based in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. 

Due to some delayed flights in Manila, we arrived in Puerto Princesa at around 5:00 pm and started our 5 hour journey to El Nido. At 11:00 pm, we finally arrived at El Nido and checked in at La Casa Teresa. As much as we would love to go around and explore the town, it was too late already and so we decided to just go to bed after a few drinks



Morning had arrived and as we opened the door, I couldn't believe what we are looking at. I thought I was like in a different dimension or world seeing these huge karst islands on the horizon. 


Right after breakfast, we immediately started our tour. For my first adventure here in El Nido, we decided we wanted to do the TOUR A. This tour would take us to at least 5 to 6 different islands which I will mention a little later. 

However, weather was not on our side though. This was the time where the north of the Philippines was being hammered by a typhoon. Luckily it was just overcast and the coast guard didn't cancel the tours. 

So here are the islands we explored under the TOUR A in El Nido!


7 COMMANDO BEACH

Our boatman decided to make this the first stop as this island could get busy later in the day. He was actually correct! We arrived with not many guests on the beach. The karst mountain in the back ground was so beautiful, the sand was so fine and the water was warm. Perfect for swimming and sun bathing! 



Because this place is so famous among the tourists, you will find a snack bar and some tables and chairs for those who want to relax for a bit. At the far end of the beach, you will find a very posh Vellago Resort Hotel. I wish I could stay there one day! 




SMALL LAGOON

For our 2nd stop, we went to Small Lagoon. Boats parked and I couldn't wait to see what this Small Lagoon was like. Since the entrance to the lagoon was a bit far, kayaks are available for rent at around Php 300 pesos for those who cannot swim. But on my case, I under-estimated the distance and decided to swim from the boat all the way to the lagoon. I shouldn't had done that! It was tiring! 

This tiny passage entering to the Small Lagoon. Watch your head! 

As we entered the lagoon, I was again mesmerized by the beauty of the place. And again, all I was saying was wow! I just could imagine how clear this water would be on a sunny day or even summer. But since, it's been raining, the water was a bit murky. But it was still so much fun! My favorite moment here was floating and staring at these limestone cliffs and listening to the sound of nature. So peaceful! 



Lunch at PAYONG-PAYONG BEACH 

Located in Miniloc Island, our boat men took us to this place for lunch. You will notice that most of the boat men were preparing lunches on board while their guests are busy wandering out. 

As I looked around, I couldn't get over how the limestone rock formation almost touching the water creates a very scenic landscape. I would not mind eating lunch here everyday! It was stunning! 


You then suddenly realize, how lucky you are to be at a place like this! 

The lunch that was prepared for us was sumptuous! They prepared pork and fish dishes, rice, vegetable salads, and fruit. I should have brought some drinks with me! 

While others were having their siestas, I decided to do a quick snorkel. At first it was a little murky but as I swam further into the drop off, there I was stunned! The variety of coral and fish are abundant along this area and I am sure all around El Nido. 

SECRET LAGOON

We didn't waste too much time, after a few minutes rest, we headed off to another place and they call it Secret Lagoon. I was really curious what this place would look like. The seas were getting rougher and rougher due to the storm but we were lucky that it was low-tide. Why? Because that make it possible to enter through that small tiny entrance to this lagoon. Just watch your head again as some rocks were quite sharp! 

After exploring the secret lagoon, we walked to this another beautiful beach next to it.

And when I saw this, I WAS BLOWN AWAY! This was one of the most beautiful coves I've seen in my entire life. It represents the grandeur of nature! 

Apparently, this was also used as a back drop in the Hollywood movie BOURNE LEGACY. And, used as a location in numerous SURVIVOR series for other countries. 

If only given a chance to camp here and pretend to be in a survivor series, I would! 

BIG LAGOON

Another highlight of doing the TOUR A was the trip to the Big Lagoon. For the last time, we were very lucky that the tide was high enough for our boat to pass through this shallow passage. This Big Lagoon is always featured in many magazines and bulletin boards promoting El Nido and Palawan simply because of it's pristine beauty and wonders. 

As we pass through the limestone karst structures that appeared to bestaring at us, the boat engine suddenly stopped and it was complete silence. All of us in the boat were in awe about what we were actually seeing. It was beautiful! 



El Nido has so much to brag about and it is not a surprise any more why many foreign medias think that El Nido is the place to find some of the world's beautiful beaches. 

With so many beautiful islands, limestone rock formations and stunning white sand beaches around El Nido, you must definitely consider taking the TOUR A first before trying out the other tour options. I see other travelers are doing the combination, but in a paradise like El Nido, rushing is not an option! 

As we ended our tour, rain suddenly poured hard and all I could think of was how blessed are we Filipinos to have such a place like El Nido. I hope we continue to protect these natural wonders in our country for the future generations to see! See you again El Nido! 


HOW TO GET TO EL NIDO via PUERTO PRINCESA:

From the Puerto Prinsesa airport, there are so many vans available outside the arrival area. 

                 FARE: 700 per person one way
                 TRAVEL TIME: 5 hours

HOW TO GET TO EL NIDO via MANILA (FLY):

At the moment, there is only one airline that flies to El Nido and that is the ITI (Island Transvoyager, Inc.) Airport . I advise you to phone them first and ask for specific rates as the fare changes depending on the seasons. 

PHONE NUMBER: (02) 851 5674
FARE: Ranges from Php 6,000 - Php 9,000 one way




11/12/2015

Rizal Re-Creation Center - A great place to consider for team building activities!

Another year has arrived and my co-teachers and I had to plan to as to where we were going to hold our high school camp retreat. With so many factors to consider, one important factor is the location of our retreat. We wanted a place that was safe, serves good food,  beautiful, close to nature, and most of all in a Christian environment. 

After some thorough research, we found RIZAL RE-CREATION CENTER in Rizal Laguna. Was it going to live up to our expectations ? Let's find out! 


From Imus, Cavite, it basically took us around 3 hours to travel to Rizal Re-Creation Center. I checked more pictures on the internet several times before coming here and so far it looked very promising. 

When we arrived at the place, we couldn't get over how beautiful and well kept the place was. The center was surrounded with tall palm trees creating a very scenic and relaxing landscape. 

Since we arrived just before lunch time, the bell suddenly rang signaling the time for our first meal at the center. Let me remind you that, it is a buffet meal and food will be available only for 30 minutes but the guests can still enjoy eating after that.

I enjoyed the fact that the menu was displayed outside the restaurant. Here is the menu that was served during our lunch. You probably saying that the menu looks delicious, let me tell you that tthe food also tasted delicious!

Compliments to the chef!








After that sumptuous meal, we gave students some time to wander around the area and that also provided me with some time to further explore this 7 hectare property. 




Right after lunch we were directed to our cabins to settle in with our luggage. Rizal Re-Creation Center has a variety of rooms that caters to all, whether it is a group, families, or even a couple who are wanting to go on a nice retreat. 


Our very spacious cabin had over 14 beds, two toilets and baths, a fan, and a very nice air-conditioner. 


In addition to our 3 days 2 nights program at Rizal Re-Creational Center, they also offered their team building activities. Their team building is focused on building communication, encouragement, and team work through a variety of fun and competitive games. 

I must admit that our students really had fun with all the activities and the staff were very helpful and supportive throughout the program




The best thing to do after all that fun activities was to relax at their snack bar. Quench your thirst and cravings with the variety of items for sale at their snack bar. It closes at 10:00 pm at night which is great!  


Another thing that makes Rizal Re-Creation unique is because the biggest TOP you will ever find in this world can be found here. Joe Mauk and his wife, Ruth, are the managers of Rizal Re-Creation Center. Joe Mauk is known not just because of his humorous personality but also his expertise in TOPS spinning. He is also a collector of Tops from all over the world and he will show you all those as he performs in every camp there is at the center. 

The Top show lasts for an hour and I like how a Christian perspective is integrated into his shows and he let the spectators try it for themselves too. That is definitely a must watch! 



On our second day, we were blessed with a very good weather and this also had given me more time to walk around this relaxing place. Rizal Re-Creation center has all the facilities you need for any team building activities you want to have. 

Their amenities like basket ball court, beach volleyball court, soccer field, and many more are well kept and can be used free of charge. 



Right behind their gymnasium, challenge yourself to some bouldering session with your friends. It may look easy, but I am telling you, it was difficult to make it to the end! 

Though most of the amenities are free, there are also other activities that are for rent at a very affordable price. Who would have thought that to have a bowling lane and pool tables inside the center? Paint ball is also available and that was fun! I remember we had a game with my co teachers against the students which was a great experience!  

Rizal Re-Creation Center also has a lot pavilions and huts that can be used for different gatherings, and also a perfect place to unwind and reflect. My favorite place is the tree house right next to the soccer field. 

Right at the end of the center is their swimming pool. Where different water activities are being done. If you are a little adventurous,cross this hanging bridge going towards the bonfire area and into the swimming pool. 




They also have a nice pond where koi fish are waiting to be fed. Fish feeding is allowed and you can buy the fish food at the snack bar. 

Depending on your options, you may want to choose to try their Challenge Course in your team building activities. But in our case, we decided to go on a less challenging course but yet full of fun. 


Students were divided into smaller groups where each was given different obstacles that requires a lot of coordination, unity, cooperation, skills, and many more. 

At first, I thought it was going to be chaos, but I was really impressed on how the staff of Rizal Re-Creation handled the whole activity with professionalism. 





So if you are going to ask me if Rizal Re-Creation is worth considering as a location for your team building activities? DEFINITELY, YES! 

Rizal Re-Creation really went beyond our expectations. The staff were very friendly, kind, and approachable. The food was excellent and until now I am craving for it! Their team building activities was one of the most organized activities I experienced so far. Their rates are pretty affordable. The rooms and the entire center is very clean and well kept. The palm trees are an amazing back drop! And most of all, it is a Christian environment! 

For next year, I don't mind doing our camp again here at Rizal Re-Creation Center! 




For more inquiries about their rates, you may contact the following: 


Event Coordinator: Apol Capistrano

                                 apolcapistrano@gmail.com


                                 0928-508-2617

                                 09178119267


Reservation Officer: Patricia Jiao

                                                         
                                   0928-508-2616
                                   0932-857-4925

Reservation Office: (02) 638-7248
                                  (02) 628-7369
                                  recreationharvest@gmail.com


Office Hour: 11:00 am - 6:00 pm

Address: Unit 1408, Robinsons Tower, ADB Avenue, Oritgas Center, Pasig City 1605


How to get to RIZAL RE-CREATION CENTER: 



1. From Manila, take the South Luzon Express Way

2. Take the Batangas Exit, this takes you to Sto. Tomas, Batangas.
3. At Sto Tomas Junction, take left to Alaminos. (Landmark: Junction Inn Mansion)
4. At San Pablo welcome sign, take left on Y road to San Pablo City.
5. Turn left in front of the San Pablo Cathedral, then right at the side of it.
6. Continue to Rizal, following the way to Nagcarlan.
7. ON the right will be Rizal Municipal Hall. Immediately after will be the sign for Rizal Re-Creation Center.