Monday, May 31, 2010

paracale gateway to calaguas

in a tropical country like the Philippines one would rarely end a summer without a trip to the nearby resorts or the many beautiful beaches. every year i made sure that i get to visit at least three beaches.this year, on top of my list is Camarines Norte's Calaguas group of islands. Southeast of Manila North of Paracale. one of the gateway to this island is a town where agriculture, fishing and gold panning is the main source of living.it's not the usual provincial town in the country, where houses and stores would close before 8pm or even earlier. here bakeries and restaurants are open until 2am and sometimes until 4am. mainly because the mining site operates even at night.one can easily walk around the whole town with the church, the national hero's park and a mini gymnasium at its center. people may seem to be unfriendly at first but like most Filipinos are always ready to help an guide you to its docking area.this is not usually the preferred jump-off point to Calaguas because of the limited trips to this town from Metro Manila and the unavailability of an aircon bus. but the way here is relatively closer than from Daet and that the boat trip to Calaguas is shorter.the experience of visiting this fishing and mining town, and a shorter route makes it a good option to Calaguas. but taking the route via Daet is the most advisable because it has more bus trips and most of the boats there has life vests as they are more used to bringing tourists to the island.how to get to Paracale: one can drive to the town of Paracale which can take 8 to 9 hours depending on the traffic and the stopover one makes along the way. by bus, one can take a direct trip to Paracale taking Philtranco bus lines at Pasay terminal. concern here is they don't have an aircon bus and the trips are not as frequent as the ones that goes to Daet.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

vietnam!

this backpack trip with friend and co-servants Nadz and Melissa is my most memorable pre-birthday trip ever. we shared stories of funny experience over the tiring walks that we made from one landmark to another, one food stall to another, and hours of checking out items that we can bring home out of a tight budget.randomly picked, the five who will receive a simple token from Vietnam are as follows: Sonia, Redlan, Luis, Syel, and Dodong Flores. send me an email at i.dongho@gmail.com.

note: for those who haven't got their prize yet from previous contests, just re-send me an email your prize are still with me.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

sin chao!

just to give you a clue as to where i am right now. i'm celebrating my pre-birthday trip in one of my favorite country in Asia. we just finished a walking tour of the city's historical landmarks.
tomorrow will be another trip off the city. if you can guess where i am right now just post a comment and im giving out five simple souvenir items from this country to be picked randomly. deadline of submission will be May 29 12:01am. sin chao!

Monday, May 24, 2010

morning in puka

sun was up and the view from our room's balcony looked more like i was in Tagaytay. so relaxing. not the usual morning view of the beach in Boracay. waking up six in the morning was too late for me, as i would always sleep late at night and wake up very early during most of my travels. but with the massage that i had during the night, i can't help but be up by six.went to the resort lobby and requested for a van to bring me down to Puka beach, which was just a short five-minute ride from Alta Vista de Boracay. best option actually was to jog your way there but with so less time, i have to take a ride.i requested the van driver to pick me up after an hour on the other side of Puka beach, the public Puka area. a walk from a secluded Puka beach area to public Puka can take just about ten minutes or even shorter.the fishing boats has always been a favorite of many as photo subject. i must admit i am one. you will observe that usually a fishing boat bears the island's name on it. so it becomes a great signage of an island or a beach. since it's a very short walk, i decided to take time looking closely at the sand, the stones, and sea weeds along the shore driven by the early morning waves. here the sand is not as fine as it is in the central beach, but one can find many interesting things.picking shells is one great activity here because you will find the locals doing the same thing. but finding an intact Puka shell is quite rare nowadays. when i had the chance to talk to a local, they say that there's a season where these shells are in abundance and it definitely wasn't that month.but one can find various shells sold on shops just along public Puka beach village. shells that you won't ordinarily find on shorelines. some intricately distinct and i even found a clam with a partly formed pearl.creativity on the other hand can be seen on some of the souvenirs sold here. somehow helping the locals earn from the gems of the sea, but hoping not to the extent that these creatures are taken in large numbers.i hope they will learn to keep the natural resources that abound in this island the same way that they need to keep the island clean. here ends my Boracay series. special thanks to the Geiser Maclang team, Alta Vista de Boracay, DMCI Homes, and Melo for the slot.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

waling waling night buffet - boracay

Boracay's night life made it the country's liveliest party beach island. the flat vast sand beach transforms into a platform of night events after the sun sets. tables pop on large areas infront of music bars, soft loft seats over the sands and people crowding on barbecue stands plus the many eat-all-you-can offer along the busy station two. yet one can still experience a sound and filled-tummy evening with Waling Waling's dinner buffet. located in station one, few meters away from Willy's rock. they offer a tasty dinner buffet and a nice beach setting. good variety of food offered in tables around a semi-private area. seafood, pasta and some usual pinoy food along with an acoustic band. then came a lengthy yet great performance of the fire dancers.one to two dancers came in once in a while and even made their way to the diners exhibiting their talent. fire poi twirling is quite popular in the island of Boracay, which originated from the Maori people of New Zealand.the beautiful cottages each with a hammock caught my attention the most in this place. so relaxing but the night didn't end without a set of fireworks which brightened the night. after that heavy meal, we dropped by the busy station two for an extended time together.i though and two other went ahead back to Alta Vista de Boracay as i made a schedule for a massage from the resort's Palazza Spa. from the many choice of massage, i chose the resort's special offer of an hour and a half Palazza massage. ended pass twelve midnight. just perfect after a an almost sleepless night. not my usual trip of this party island beach.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

parasailing boracay

the wind pulled us on one side as the boat changed its direction, we can only hear the sound of the wind. nothing else. the view was simply breathtaking.
i've experienced seeing great aerial views of the Philippine islands when traveling by plane but the experience of being carried by a parasail while being pulled by a speed boat was different. imagine your legs hanging with just a tow rope connecting you to the boat.
i remember the time when we were traveling our way to the central beach area. we were given the option to choose between reef walking or parasailing. without doubt i along with the majority chose parasailing. though i'm sure reef walking was fun as well.
we boarded a small speed boat which just brought us to the lift-off area, which is kilometers away from the shoreline. we were then transferred to a bigger speed boat which holds the parascender.
this time we moved even farther from Boracay island's shoreline where the one can already see the other parasailers roaming around the area. i was chosen to do it first along with Travel Life writer April who was as excited.
we were given our harness while the staff prepaired the parasail just behind a flat area of the speed boat. the loud upbeat music being played in the boat was perfect before we were lifted off.
as the staff gave the ready sign, we were gradually being pulled up by the parasail and as we ascend the loud music was fading. it was a good measure of how high we were going, approximately 400-450feet above sea level. the tow rope measures 500feet.
the speed boat was so little now from the top that it looked like a toy. a person with acrophobia might choose not to do it, but quite contrary to the perception of parasiling as scary, it isn't. it is in fact considered as a recreational activity.
one can feel so relaxed while on top. my companion April even mentioned that she finds the experience a perfect one to ponder on new ideas and stories to write. i definitely agree.
after some time, we were already pulled down and can' help but feel so good to have done it. something i'll never forget. something i know that i'll do again and again and again.to parasail in Boracay, look for the parasailing booth at station 2 area, where one registers and is assigned per batch to a speedboat. parasailing costs between P2000-P2,500 as of this posting. when you're in Alta Vista de Boracay, the resort staff can arrange a schedule for parasailing and other beach activities around the island.

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