Tag Archive | "Philippines"

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Batanes: The island of Batan

Posted on 11 September 2013 by Dreidel Regala

The islands of Batanes are found in the northernmost part of the Philippines. It is often heard during weather forecasts because Basco holds the last (or first) weather station.

The province has 3 inhabited islands – Batan, Sabtang, and Itbayat. The remaining islands are generally used as pasture land but if you fancy adventure you may rent a boat and cross the frisky Luzon Strait and explore where only a few explored. Be wary though as I heard the farther you get the more expensive it is.

Batan Island

Batan island is usually the base of most travelers. Here your plane will land in the capital Basco where most establishments are found. When I first saw Batan island from aboard a plane I was leaning my face hard on the windows in excitement. The aerial view is a good start in seeing the hilly lands of Batanes. Unfortunately, the plane’s window didn’t give me a chance to take some good shots cause it’s either scratchy or dark. So I just savored the view from my seat. By the way, that’s a right side seat so tell the agent in the check-in counter to put you on the right so you’ll see the island.

Batan island on board the plane

Batan island on board the plane

While Basco looked established already, the province’s traditional stone houses are still apparent. Alleys are small and are usually used by bikes and motorcycles with the occasional cars and trikes. Walking around town felt like walking in an old book during Sunday afternoons.

Rolling hills

Rolling hills

The small Batan island can normally be toured for 1.5 days depending on the amount of photos one takes. The landscape is just amazing that I hated myself for not lingering around long maybe under a tree in one of those hills overlooking a herd of cows while reading a good book. Oh don’t do that by the way, I heard cows has a tendency to be aggressive! Especially the black ones, no wait, those are carabaos ackk!

Lighthouse in Mahatao Batanes

Lighthouse in Mahatao Batanes

Generally you will be indulging yourselves with endless hills, lighthouses, mountains, stone houses and other fantastic island views. But on the flipside you may also do a 4-hour climb of the Batanes staple Mt. Iraya for a different vantage point. If that’s not your kind of thing well I also learned that going boat fishing is also something visitors can do. I actually thought of doing this myself, fishing in Batanes waters. Excitement! Too bad the waves are too rigid for my definition of adventure. On a fine day though this should be a feast. I saw the fishes they have in Batanes and they are really big so catching one means fantastic lunch. Now if you wanna go deeper, then diving is for you. Dive around the vast expanse of water around the island but be sure you get proper guide and advise.

Mt. Iraya in the background

Mt. Iraya in the background

Transportation

 

South Batan road side cliffs

South Batan road side cliffs

Since public transportation is sporadic, the common practice when going around Batan island is to rent a motorcycle but this option is only good if you have a license and riding along cliffs doesn’t scare you. Blow your horn! If you are unsure if you fit option #1 maybe option #2 will sound a different fun – biking. Biking will mean cheap and fun, fun if you don’t mind cycling uphill the whole afternoon. Remember, even if Batan island is relatively small, some spots are somewhat far especially on tired legs. Option #3 is what most visitors do – join group tours. This is what I did when I went the first time. Since several travelers are pooled in, I see it like a tourist passenger ride. Only draw is that you are bounded by other’s schedule but if you get to meet awesome company then this won’t be a problem. Now as for hiring a public trike, I think this could work too but I have not much info on this and how far they can go. Of course depending on your location you can always opt to walk. With the island’s scenery, walking around is always nice.

Biking is very common in Batanes

Biking is very common in Batanes

Place to stay

When I was walking around Basco I noticed that there are several lodges, inns, and homestays in the area. Places like DDD Habitat, Brandon’s lodge, Pension Ivatan, Batanes Seaside Lodge, Shanedel’s inn, Batanes Resort, and the upscale Fundacion Pacita are just some. But of course my favorite is Marfel’s lodge.

Money

Remember Batanes is not the big city so everything will be paid in cash. If possible bring all that you need. There is a Landbank atm near the plaza but if that machine runs out of cash then who knows what headache it will give you. On a good note, I and a friend was able to get ours on different occasions.

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Guidebook to the Philippines

Posted on 13 August 2013 by Dreidel Regala

If you were to choose a place to go to in a group of thousand islands, where would you go? Not such an easy feat right? In a country like the Philippines a lot of people have been asking “What are the must-see places?” or “What to do in a week?“. Good thing Lonely Planet has come up with a visually appealing guidebook with some really good suggestions.

Check it out – The Philippines

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Batanes hills

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I am heading to Batanes – Join me!

Posted on 02 August 2013 by Dreidel Regala

Destination: Batanes islands, Philippines

Date: August 21-28

What used to be a hard to reach group of islands is now within the common people’s grasp. Yep, Batanes will not be a fantasy to most of us anymore. So why is the northern tip of the country so hot in the eyes of many? Simple. Just look at this.

Batanes hills

Batanes hills by ourawesomeplanet

Batanes can only be reached by plane and fares can be so mighty expensive. But good thing came a new airline which can offer promo fares. I got mine for P2,794.00 RT for what used to be a 10K regular fare! Only draw is that I booked mine in the months of rainy season but who knows sun might join me then :)

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I am heading to Boracay – Join me!

Posted on 04 June 2013 by Dreidel Regala

Okay, so it has been a while since I was out and about – no thanks for being a salary dependent person ugh. I have been hungry of exploring and relaxing to beautiful places.

So now after some “travel drought”, I’m gonna be having a holiday weeee! Yah I know it’s not really a big deal haha but I just got a new idea… hence the opening of a new category in my blog posts – “Where I am heading?”

What is it all about?

My upcoming destination is not really rare or new to a lot of travelers. I have actually been there a couple of times already so making it a little different caused me to tell you my readers where I am going and invite you to hangout and explore. Good way to meet new friends and see the place (cheaply lol). But remember this is purely for travel and NOT to get hitched!

Destination is Boracay and it will be on June 8-12 2013. Boracay is an island in Aklan Philippines enjoyed for its white beach and party atmosphere. We can sail in a paraw, enjoy chats over fruit shakes, munch on anything grilled or seafood, watch the sunset while in a chute, do lots of shopping etc.

So if you’re traveling to Boracay too and wanna join, leave a comment below :)

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Calaguas of Camarines Norte

Posted on 26 February 2013 by Dreidel Regala

Summer in the country is about to hit us. Mountain top gears, waters splashing speed, sunny fruit shakes, minibus rides… fun fun fun! The season where probably a  lot of discoveries happen.

Mahabang Buhangin in Calaguas

You probably heard about it already. You probably knew someone who’s been there. Either way you got this curiosity in you that lingers. You ask “Is it really beautiful?”

Calaguas

Calaguas

Judging from this picture, it sure is! In person? Let me say – clear blue waters, soft white sand beach. You’re away from the city, away from what keeps you busy, and all you have to do is laze around and wait for the setting sun.

Calaguas Sunset

Calaguas Sunset

To cap this unique experience, you will sleep under the stars. No hotels, no roof, tents are optional. You got no lights, only the cosmos shine.

Calaguas is found all the way in Camarines Norte. A long 6-7 hour drive from Manila plus a 2 hour boat ride. It’s an effort but I think the good ones are hidden that way.

Best way to enjoy is to bring all your friends and eat Bicolano style.

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Must-try food in The Philippines II

Posted on 14 January 2013 by Dreidel Regala

Some time ago I’ve posted some Filipino must try food. But of course the list couldn’t accommodate all of them. In a country that was created to have thousands of islands with varying culture and diverse people, there will surely be a new delicacy for a stranger’s tongue. Here are some more for the foodie in you:

Bagnet

Deep fried pork belly popularized in Vigan

Deep fried pork belly popularized in Vigan

Kare-kare

A stew made from peanut sauce with vegetables, oxtail, tripe, and beef, served with bagoong

A stew made from peanut sauce with vegetables, oxtail, tripe, and beef, served with bagoong

Bicol Express

A traditional Bicolano stew made from long chili, coconut milk, pork, garlic, and shrimp paste

A traditional Bicolano stew made from long chili, coconut milk, pork, garlic, and shrimp paste

Afritada

A chicken stew made with tomato sauce, potato, carrots, and bell pepper

A chicken stew made with tomato sauce, potato, carrots, and bell pepper

Tapsilog

Usually eaten for breakfast, this meal stands for tapa (beef), sinangag (rice), and itlog (egg)

Usually eaten for breakfast, this meal stands for tapa (beef), sinangag (rice), and itlog (egg)

Crispy Pata

This deep fried pig knuckles is very popular during get-togethers

This deep fried pig knuckles is very popular during get-togethers

Daing

A dried and salted fish

A dried and salted fish favorite during breakfast

Kinunot

Another Bicolano dish, Kinunot is made up of shredded stingray cooked in coconut milk with malunggay

Another Bicolano dish, Kinunot is made up of shredded stingray cooked in coconut milk with malunggay

Sisig

A dish made up of chopped pig's head and liver, chili, calamansi, and egg

A dish made up of chopped pig’s head and liver, chili, calamansi, and egg

Batchoy

Originating in La Paz Iloilo, this noodle soup is made up of pork organs and cracklings, chicken stock, beef loin and round noodle

Originating in La Paz Iloilo, this noodle soup is made up of pork organs and cracklings, chicken stock, beef loin and round noodle

Bulalo

A beef shank stew usually found in Tagaytay and some parts of Cavite

A beef shank stew usually found in Tagaytay and some parts of Cavite

Arroz Caldo

Rice porridge made with chicken and garlic

Rice porridge made with chicken and garlic

Empanada

A pastry stuffed with chicken or pork

A pastry stuffed with chicken or pork, similar to the Spanish snack with the same name.

I’ve heard some people say the country’s cuisine is only for those who have acquired the taste, meaning you don’t like it at first but eventually do. But one thing I’m sure is there’s going to be a lot of taste for you. Try it out! After all there’s a whole different adventure in food.

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Anilao in kayak

Posted on 11 January 2013 by Dreidel Regala

So last August I tried for the very first time to dive in Davao. I was so proud of myself and excited at the same time that I badly wanted to go do it again but this time somewhere near like Anilao. While Anilao is great for diving, this post however is not about it. I know I know you’re kind of thinking – “what the?!” – but lemme tell you that you can still enjoy Anilao even if you don’t go deep. Of course diving is still the main activity there, no doubt about it, but when you’re done diving and wanna relax then kayaking is for you. With the laid back feel of Anilao, boating around is more than nice. You lay in the middle of the water with the nice view of hills and mountains and with the cool breeze keeping you company. You can even go fish if that’s your thing!

kayaking in Anilao

kayaking in Anilao

Of the many resorts and inns I saw around Anilao, I think Anilao Beach Club is the only one with kayaks but I could be wrong so go ahead and ask your resort if they have one.

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EDSA Bus Scheme

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EDSA: New Bus Scheme

Posted on 20 December 2012 by Dreidel Regala

EDSA is such a dreaded word in Manila. It is the main highway in the metropolis which traverses several cities. Actually it’s so useful to both local commuters and visitors but its usefulness is also plagued by horrible volume of traffic.

The MMDA has recently released a new bus scheme along this popular road. So if you find yourself in the area, be sure to plan ahead and save yourself the hassle cause not all bus types stops in every corner.

I personally think this is for the best. Though it may be frustrating to find my destination not in the bus’ route, I know I must learn to get by as I usually do in foreign places.

EDSA Bus Scheme

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Beach dive

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Can I dive?

Posted on 08 November 2012 by Dreidel Regala

Okay so what do you think is the most frightening thing for someone who doesn’t know how to swim? How about getting swallowed by the deep blue? Yeah that’s a scary thought for me.

Unfortunately I don’t know how to swim even after taking some lessons (oh pity!). But what’s sad is that I’m living in a ‘paradise’ archipelago and I don’t have the means to explore the rich marine life that surrounds.

Samal Island

Samal Island

Guess what, ain’t a problem anymore! Did you know that you can go diving without knowing how to swim? That’s right you can go so so deep and be filled with amazement.

Diving equipment

Diving equipment

On a random day in the middle of a holiday, my friends and I decided to take a leap and go diving. For a small price of 1000 pesos, we were taken by our dive masters down into the sea. Of course it’s an intro dive and we can only go a little further but it doesn’t matter cause this is just the first step for tomorrow we will open the world underneath the water.

Beach dive

Beach dive

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PHL 360: Submerged and Immersed

Posted on 12 October 2012 by Dreidel Regala

A look into El Nido and Palaui

For more videos visit PHL 360.

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