Popularly known being one of the premier shooting locations of Survivor (PH and US) reality TV shows, CARAMOAN boasts a lot of enchanting islands and amazing limestone cliff rock formations!
Even with the hype of these shows, Caramoan is ironically a very peaceful and lax community where people thrive in living a quiet and simple life. If I may compare to other PH hotspots, it’s like a miniature El Nido minus the mayhem of tourists and with a more peaceful atmosphere.
Caramoan islands is a famous tourist destination located in the farthest coast of the province of Camarines Sur. Unknown to many, it can also be reached via Virac, Catanduanes which only takes about 1 hour of travel by land to Codon Port, the jump-off to the islands – which is was shorter than getting off from Sabang Port in CamSur!
Stops of this island hop includes:
– Lahos Island
– Matukad island (where you can find the ‘Enchanted Bangus’ at nagulat naman kami na may ROCK CLIMBING pala dito :D) – Tip: BRING HIKING SHOES
– Tinago beach
– Cagbalinad Island
– Minalagos Island
– Catanaguan Island
– Busdak Beach
Unexpected to.. Di kami ininform ni kuya tour guide na may Rock Climbing pala dito sa Matukad Island 😀 (TRAVEL TIP: BRING HIKING SHOES)
– Ride to Codon, San Andres Port
– Start of Caramoan Island Hopping (7 islands)
– Lunch at the Islands (BYOB)
– Resume the Island Hopping
– Back to Codon Port and to Virac Downtown
Beach bumming at Lahos Island
And on our way home we saw this rainbow from afar! ❤ a perfect day indeed!
Find out how I went on a backpacking budget trip across Southeast Asia for 2 months with just 50,000Php, or just $1,000!
✈ 8 Countries – 60 Days – 18 Destinations – 1 Adventure ✈
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Legian/ Kuta Area, Bali, Indonesia
Vang Vieng, Laos
Luang Prabang, Laos
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Hoi An, Vietnam
Cua Dai Beach, Vietnam
Travel Dates: 09.13.2016 – 11.13.2016
Hello dearest readers,
So it had been two awesome months across Southeast Asia – that’s a total of around 16 flights, 20+ hostels, 18 destinations, 8 countries, and a thousand miles and countless footsteps in just 60 days! Do you think you could do it?
Don’t worry, I’m here to share with you my itinerary along with many budget advice and travel tips that you could use should you decide to follow my journey in the future! Continue reading →
Woke up in BALI. Early morning walk at Kuta beach.
Watched some surfers. Brunch at McDonald’s.
Yung mas malaki pa yung Rice nila kesa sa Chicken? hahaha!
Then by serendipity, stumbled upon fellow Pinoy Travel Bloggers who are also in Indonesia for an all-expense paid + a $1,000 pocket money 😲 sponsored trip by the Indonesian Tourism Board.
I kept on seeing some of their posts in my newsfeed as we were friends in Facebook, but I didn’t expect to see and meet some of them here. Perhaps a sign? Hopefully next time I could get to join them. 😉
Got a FREE taxi ride to the airport (thanks to Uber). 😄
But got unlucky upon airline check in – was forced to check in my bag, had to pay double right on spot for a baggage allowance. 😭😭
Good thing I have my credit card with me.
Bade GOODBYE to my memories of Bali. ❤
Until next time Bali!
Took a FOUR-HOUR plane ride (the longest perhaps I ever took).
But time ain’t waisted, I decided to blog while on thousands of miles above sea level. (watch out for the post soon). 😉
First time to write while on a plane ride.
Arrived in BANGKOK, THAILAND at their budget terminal.
Quite smelly I should say.
Long queue at the immigration. 😪
Tried saving money by taking the bus to my hostel, but eventually got lost.
Ended up hailing a taxi and paying almost 300 Baht. (The bad side of traveling solo, you get to pay for the entire ride). 😰
Checked in at GLUR BHARANI HOSTEL.
Eventually made friends with my roomies immediately – two of which are female solo travelers also.
One’s a SOUTH AFRICAN who tried escaping home to prove that Africans can and should travel too. And had been traveling for 3 years and counting now.
Another’s a girl about my age residing here in Thailand, but had been traveling within the country for sometime now. And now awaiting her flight to EUROPE after getting her Schengen Visa. An inspiration that Asians can do it too.
Met also a Chinese guy who had just RESIGNED FROM HIS JOB to travel the world – going solo as well.
Went out to have DINNER. But finding that most foods are beyond budget for today, I decided to just buy a meal from a sidewalk vendor, only for 30Baht.
Then tried out this street food as well, perhaps a Thailand version of our Pinoy Sorizo – but sorry I don’t like this Thai food. *ulk!
Went to STARBUCKS and was happy to purchase two more Starbucks Cards to add to my collection. Now, I’m about to complete the Starbucks Fall Collection Leaf Cards, the right one in green’s from Bali. Then the other two’s from here in Bangkok.
Also, I found out SB cards are way cheaper here in Thailand. Each card costs only 100Baht, and you could even combine the balances of all the cards when making a purchase, something you cannot do in the Philippines.
Good news also came to most of my friends who are licensed physicians now – after they passed the medical board exams.
Kudos! And congratulations to all of you! I’m proud of you all! 👍
I still wonder what if before I made a different choice, and decided to take up medicine? I guess I wouldn’t be here to where I am right now. Oh well, everything happens for a reason. 🙂
What a day it had been.
It’s raining really hard right now.
I’m here all cozy and warm in our hostel, working as the night passes by.
I hope tomorrow will be a better day.
Good night. ❤
Ubud is home to the most recognizable rice field in Bali – the Tegalalang Rice Terraces.
Located just north of Ubud centre (20-30 minutes by motorbike), it is one of the most popular rice terraces in Bali and often pictured on many postcards that you will see for sale throughout the island.
From the moment you step out of your vehicle, you get an excellent view of the lush and green terraces that covered three hillsides and spread down into the valley below.
The terraces were built with the traditional Balinese cooperative irrigation system called Subak, which according to history was passed down by a revered holy man named Rsi Markandeya in the eighth century.
You can go hike and take as many pictures as you want for FREE. There’s no entrance fee to hike in the terraces, however if you’d like to venture far enough you will come to a bridge where the locals who maintain the paths will ask for a small donation for the upkeep of the trails and bridges. Be sure to take several small bills with you for this “donation”. A 5,000 rupiah bill (20Php) for one person will be collected.
You can easily get a good view over the beautiful terraces from the road, or you can go for a walk in between the terraces.
There are also several cafes near the ledge where you can have a bite and drink and take in the scenery and admire the splendid views.
Several souvenir shops can also be found within the area.
Sample of a local artist’s painting of the Tegallalang Rice Fields.
Surely, this rice terraces is not to miss when you’re in Bali! It was like walking through a postcard.
It had been quite sometime since I started contemplating on getting the Air Asia ASEAN pass to enable me to travel all throughout Southeast Asia for almost 12k, but with last year’s Air Asia 0.01Php seat sale, I was able to book the trip all for less thank 9k. Yay!
You could find out more about the Air Asia ASEAN pass here. Tip: it’s a good buy if you plan on going across Southeast Asia, or just travel within the Philippines.
Why 2 months?
So you might be asking why travel for 2 months?
The answer is simply because I travel and work at the same time. I’m a freelance Virtual Assistant at Upwork.com, formerly Odesk, for 5 years already, and counting.
And YES. I DO NOT TRAVEL FOR FREE. This travelling of mine is ALSO NOT A PART OF MY WORK, and I DO SPEND MY OWN HARD EARNED MONEY FOR MY TRAVELS, contrary to what some people who knew me thought that this is all for free or part of my work. Hindi po. Kung sana lang po, eh di ang saya nang life. hehe.
Two months I think will be enough to give me ample time to be able to fulfil my weekly work hours requirements and at the same travel around.
So many of you might be asking where am I headed?
Here’s a snippet of the destinations I booked based on the availability of promo fares from Air Asia upon booking last September 2015.
All of the above flights cost me only less than 10,000Php.
The schedule is right there, so if you might be in one of these destinations by any of these dates, let me know. Perhaps we could meet, or maybe I could get a free accommodation from you. hahaha!
Let’s be honest, a big chunk of your travel budget will be on your accommodations.
And since I am a budget backpacker, I opted to stay in the cheapest hostels and dormitels if possible for this trip. I booked my accommodations at Agoda.com. Thanks to their pay later and free cancellation features, you could book way ahead of time and if you change your mind it won’t cost you anything.
Here’s a list of my chosen hostels for my trip, range of cost per night varies and is roughly an average of 200 pesos, not to mention, several of that already comes with a free breakfast. Nice huh?
(Note: the most expensive one is in Singapore (considering that this is one of the cheapest na in that country), it’s highlighted in red because of the probability that I’ll no longer be booking it since I might be staying at a close friend’s place in Singapore. Another good news for that to save me roughly around 2k! Yay!)
Total cost of my accommodations is around 13,000 Php for 60 days.
What travel backpack to use?
For this trip, I’ve considered several options on what piece of luggage should I bring. And after doing my research on a mission to find the best travel backpack, I chose to purchase and use the Osprey Farpoint 55L for this 2-month trip.
It had several excellent reviews online. Some of those bunch of features I came to like about it is its removable daypack with a laptop compartment, lockable zippers, suspension system, internal frame, adjustable shoulder straps, padded hip-belt and a bunch more.
The Farpoint 55 is actually a 40L backpack + 15L detachable daypack.
The daypack can be zipped onto the back of the main backpack.
The dimensions of the M/L size are:
In: 25 x 13 x 12 (height x width x depth)
Cm: 64 x 34 x 30
The Osprey Farpoint has a legit suspension system, so the backpack is comfortable to wear — which is great on those long walks to hostels and in your entire trip.
As an added benefit, the shoulder straps and hip belt can be zipped away behind a flap so you can easily and safely check it on a plane or carry it without fear of getting a strap caught.
So yeah, the Osprey Farpoint is a great backpack. It’s comfortable, it’s durable, it’s functional… it’s just an excellent travel backpack. (FYI, I’m not paid by Osprey for this. hahaha!)
Packing Light with Travel Cubes (aka Packing Cubes)
Another technique I’ll share with you on how to pack light is by the use of travel cubes such as this.
They sure does magic in compressing your luggage and keeping them organized. Hence, why I was able to fit my life in the next 2-months in this single backpack.
For the first time, this is perhaps one of the trips that I came unprepared with an itinerary.
In all my previous travels, I’ve always managed to create an itinerary on what to do, must visit places, must eats, etc., on the places I’ll be visiting, then print it out before heading to my trip.
But this time, with a lot of other things going one, including transferring to a new house, I’ve just been so busy that I haven’t had time to do my research and create an itinerary.
So I guess, I’ll just be planning upon arrival in my destination. Any suggestions if you happen to have visited the place already is very much welcome. =)
Lucky No. 13?
Just a little bit of thought that I’d like to share by the way.
I don’t know what’s with the number 13 – but I’ve noticed that my travel dates are both starting and ending on the 13th. My travel date starts today, September 13th, and I’ll be returning back here in the Philippines on the 13th of November, exactly 2 months after.
A little bit earlier in the airport as well, I found out my backpack weighed approx. 13kg.
And if you’ll notice, the number of destinations I have above (pic shown again below for reference) is 13.
Anyway, since then I really haven’t considered this number as a bad luck, perhaps this will be my lucky number for this trip. 😉
My Travel Thoughts?…
This is by far my longest travel away from home to date since I started traveling.
I admit, I’m a bit scared, nervous, with no thoughts on what to expect, afraid that homesickness will struck me along the way. Yet, at the same time, I’m also flooded with excitement on the new places that I’m about to visit, new faces that I’ll be meeting, and a whole lot more.
#EatIligan is an invitational Iligan Food Appreciation Tour organized by the Iligan Bloggers Society, Inc. in celebration of the annual Social Media Day. Social media influencers are invited to visit and experience the food scene in Iligan City.
In 2013, IBS, Inc. has successfully launched #ExperienceIligan, a still ongoing unified online campaign to highlight Iligan City in the internet by encouraging Iliganons and visitors to use the hashtag in their social media activities.
Recognizing the power of online media to capture the attention of potential tourists and visitors and the notable fundamental shift as to how people utilize social media, this project was conceived to continue to crowdsource tips from locals and create global exposure for the local businesses.
#EatIligan Weekend: July 2-3, 2016
This year, the Iligan Bloggers Society (IBS), Inc. held the first #EatIligan: Iligan Food Appreciation Tour last July 2-3, 2016. The 2-day event seeks to highlight in various social media platforms Iligan City’s food establishments as well as its local delicacies.
Luckily, I was selected this year to participate and meet with new bloggers in Iligan City who is up for a weekend of foodie adventures.
It is actually my first time to join a food blogger’s tour like this one, and I never regret my decision even if I have to travel miles and miles all the way from Davao just to be there in Iligan!
I’m a foodie, and food crawls like this ignites the adrenaline in me. I love exploring and trying out new restaurants in the city and sharing the experience with people who have the same passion with food as me. Isn’t it obvious in my body?! LOL.
I never knew what the word “diet” meant during the #EatIligan food tour because of the overflowing amount of food being served from Breakfast 1 and breakfast 2, then Snack 1 and Snack 2, Lunch 1, 2, and even Lunch 3, until Dinner 1 & 2, all the way to midnight. Just imagine that! #NoSpaceForFoodinmyTummy
It is a 2-day [July 2-3, 2016] tour that really showed the best and the newest restaurants there is in Iligan City. Here’s our itinerary:
Start July 2 (Saturday) @ 9AM
End: July 3 (Sunday) dinner time
It was indeed one amazing, gastronomic foodie adventure weekend! I’m looking forward for more food tours in the future! Thank you #EatIligan and to Iligan Bloggers Society for this event. I’m truly grateful for the experience and for all the new friends I’ve gained and bloggers I’ve met.
#EatIligan Foodie Bloggers and Friends!
Indeed, Iligan City is not just about chasing water falls, it’s also a place for food adventurers to explore, dine, and experience. Let your taste buds chase the various flavors that Iligan has to offer, from cakes, pastries, barbecues, crispy chicken, pizza, ice cream, Japanese foods, Pater, Palapa, Cheding nuts, lechon, and a whole lot more – you’ll be surprised how much choices there is! And how delicious they all are!
I will be blogging each restaurant soon! Watch out for it! 😉
Apparently, distance doesn’t matter to people who have always wanted to connect to a long-lost relative.
Take for example the case of Malou Caise, who had travelled from Toronto all the way to the Philippines just to find her family after typhoon Haiyan devastated Tacloban. Malou’s case is a sad story, for the reunion she had with her surviving family members were shrouded with death and suffering.
But while the realities of reconnecting with family aren’t always happy, there are those that are quite inspiring, particularly when the reunion happened the most unusual of ways.
Take for example the story of a girl who discovered that she had a long-lost half sister when she read a memoir titled, Wild. The book’s author, Cheryl Strayed, described her father in the book, and the unnamed girl realized that Strayed was describing her father. She emailed Strayed and while the two are yet to meet, there’s a very good chance that the two will see each other someday. After all, there’s always a longing to see family, especially those who have been estranged from an early age.
Another story documents two online bingo buddies who had been playing together for years, but didn’t realize their connection until just recently. Long-lost sisters Elaine Walker and Jackie Green found each other through the help of an heir-hunting organization called Finders, and a little bit of Facebook searching. When they realized their relationship, the two travelled to meet each other.
Reunions of long-lost families can be extremely heart-warming moments that there’s now a TV series dedicated them. The aptly named Long Lost Family show helps long-lost family members, who usually have no idea that they’re related, reconnect. According to the show’s producers, they receive tens of thousands of applications from people who are desperate to find someone, which is proof that people will always be longing for a connection with family.
There are many perks to travelling but going the extra mile just to see someone whom you haven’t seen for a long time will always yield the best rewards.
Tattoos have a power and magic all their own. They decorate the body but they also enhance the soul. Why not wear your heart on your skin in this life?
I’ve always wanted to get inked. But it took me a while to finally come up with a design that I really loved and something that will truly embody the real me. I wanted my first tattoo to be something simple, yet meaningful to me.
So I’ve come up with these designs..
Placement will be on the wrist..
Why February 29?
Every 4 years, February gets an extra day—so I just thought why not make the most of it?
It’s a strange amazing day that comes only once every four years. For the rest of the time it does not “exist.”
In mundane terms, it marks a “leap” in time, when the calendar is adjusted to make up for extra seconds accumulated over the preceding three years due to the rotation of the earth. A day of temporal tune up!
Apart from that, this day also holds another secret—it contains one of those truly rare moments of delightful transience and light uncertainty that only exist on the razor edge of things, along a buzzing plane of quantum probability…
A day of unlocked potential.
Will you or won’t you? Should you or shouldn’t you?
So YES! I decided to use this day to do something daring, extraordinary and unlike myself. I bravely took a chance to shape a new pattern in my personal cloud of probability!
Getting your first tattoo is something very special, and I want nothing but the best tattoo artist to do this.
So months before, I already started my research, asked a couple of friends, and made up my mind to choose Bogz Flores of Tattoo Avenue to do it.
He’s quite popular in Davao and is often mentioned when you’ll search Google for the best tattoo artists here in Davao City, as a matter of fact he had even been featured in Mindanao Times Newspaper. His tattoo works are also amazing, check here. So why not?
My First Tattoo Experience!
So yes! On the evening of February 29, 2016. Me, along with my travel buddy, got our first ink and tattoo experience in Tattoo Avenue!
Here’s my travel buddy’s tattoo design –
Is it painful?
So the question almost always asked is, “Is it painful?”
Well truth is, the pain I experienced is way LESS than what I expected it to be.
Yes, it is painful at first. Just imagine a thousand ants biting you, or a thousand needles altogether piercing through your skin! But hey, the pain is what makes every tattoo experience worthwhile & unforgettable. No pain no gain, right?
On a pain scale of 1 to 10 (1 being the lowest, and 10 the highest), I’ll rate my first tattoo experience on a scale of 7.
That’s not really painful actually! And believe me once you’ll get used to the pain, it becomes normal and natural, and can even be a pain na hahanap-hanapin mo!
And that splendid hum of the needle, oh boy, it’s just so good to the ears!
Perhaps these are just some of the reasons why they say, tattoos could get addicting!
My Tattoo Design
So here’s my tattoo design.. On the left side of the wrist, the word, ‘free‘ with a bird on it, to signify my freedom-loving soul.
Then the dashes (30 of them if you’ll count), since my favourite number’s THIRTY, connecting to form a heart with a letter ‘R‘ (for Rojae) on it ending in an airplane to signify my love for travel.
See also the placement of the heart, which is in my pulse, signifying that my love to travel is just soo deep that it runs in my veins! haha 😀
So what do you think? Do you wanna get inked as well?
“A tattoo is a true poetic creation, and is always more than meets the eye. As a tattoo is grounded on living skin, so its essence emotes a poignancy unique to the mortal human condition.” ― V. Vale
Sorry if this blog post came earlier than expected. Our Cagayan Valley trip’s not yet over but we just have to share this not-so-good experience we’ve had in one of the cafes in Tuguegarao.
It all started when me and my buddy started looking for a coffee shop in the city to hang out and stay. As freelancers and travellers, we usually stay and work in coffee shops in most of our travels, with our laptops and backpacks.
So here goes my story, or rather a letter we’d like to get across..
Dear Hinterland Travel Cafe,
It was by perhaps by good fate that we happen to stumble upon your coffee shop in the search results of Google while searching for recommended cafes in Tuguegarao City.
Your business name, with emphasis on the ‘Travel Cafe’, caught our attention immediately. As a self confessed traveler, freelancer, and coffee lover, finding a coffee shop that bears the word ‘travel’ is just awesome.
So yeah, we found a contact number in your Facebook Page. With no hesitations, we called you to inquire if you do have electrical sockets in your cafe (as they’re just a necessity, perhaps one of the many reasons why I love Starbucks coffee shops haha!).
You said, “YES!”
And oh, did that made us happy, and without doubts we took the ‘Tricy’ (tricycle) to head to your cafe.
So we got there, and to our surprise there’s no other customer in the coffee shop. Honestly, I really don’t have any problem with that. As a matter of fact, I’m one of the few people who are allergic to too many people. Sounds funny you may say, but I’m just happy finding a place and keeping it all to myself. Wala kang kaagaw, walang ingay, peaceful, perfect place to do my online work! Right?
The time we got there, the only people there are the owner/manager and his staff.
We ordered some drinks (was quite disappointed though to find no cold coffee drinks for sale in a coffee shop, was hoping to get refreshed of an Iced Americano pa naman sana). But anyway, moving on..
We even had a small chat with the manager, mostly about where we came from, travels (as he also owns a travel agency), places to go, and some stuff about the coffee shop which I found out had just opened last year. Nothing much..
Time passed and we got quite busy as me and my buddy started doing our freelance online work, eyes glued to our laptops. If I remember we entered the coffee shop at around 6pm.
Two hours have passed, it was 8 o’clock already, still no other customers are in sight. I was quite surprised as the waiter approached to ask if we will still order something.. So even though we haven’t finished eating and drinking all our food and beverages yet, I do have this gut feeling that the gesture of the waiter’s imposing us to order again..
I’m not even sure if the manager asked him to came over to us for us to order again. During that time, I could sense that the manager’s watching our every move since we were the only ones (customers) there.. or am I just paranoid?
It was just 2 hours – but okay, we just ordered again kahit na busog pa masyado kami..
So in an hour after that, we settled the bill, and left. They close at 9pm. We left at around 8:30pm.
— Day 2:
It was around 2pm that we decided to visit the cafe again. To our surprise, still there’s no customer in sight today.
We just like how their WiFi is fast, and the affordability of the food. Plus of course, the place is also good.
And since we haven’t had our lunch yet, we ordered a meal (lunch sets). Then started working our usual online VA duties in our laptops.
After 2 hours, at around 4pm, our laptops’ batteries are already draining.. So we acted on plugging in our adaptors to the nearby electrical socket, when we were surprised when the manager (the one I’ve had a conversation yesterday) told us that they restrict, or do not allow, the customers to use their electrical sockets, say for charging laptops for example.
So we were quite shocked.. then how come we were allowed yesterday? And what’s the use of having all the visible sockets near the tables in the coffee shop if it’s not intended for that?!
So since we really needed to have our laptops charged, we just offered to pay, and he agreed.
But deep inside, we were really disappointed..
Maybe it was just the experience of frequently visiting and staying in a lot of coffee shops already that does have electrical sockets and lets you charge your gadgets for free, that drove our expectations too high for this cafe.
I was even upset as their name says they are a ‘Travel’ Cafe.. So maybe they could be more friendly and accommodating to the needs of tourists and travelers like us perhaps?
Not just that, what is REALLY FRUSTRATING is their OUTRAGEOUS FEE for using their power outlets. We were SHOCKED to see in our bill an additional 100 PESOS???!! Seriously?!
It didn’t even took us one hour to charge??! What the??!
We started charging at 4pm. And minutes before 5pm we left the cafe.
Too bad.. I was originally planning to blog about this cafe, with all the intentions of promoting it to my friends, especially this is the first ‘Travel’ Cafe that I’ve been in to.
But after what happened? You just made us feel that all you really care is BUSINESS and MONEY.
I’ve actually wrote a review on their Facebook page – and it saddens me to see that they actually blamed us for ‘staying too long’ ? 2 of the 3 people who replied to my review are actually their staff..
It was as if the place is really jam packed.. but no. WE WERE THE ONLY CUSTOMERS they’ve had. AND WE ARE ORDERING EVERY ONCE IN AN HOUR OR TWO. So what’s bad about that?
If you do not want your customers to stay ‘longer than a regular time to eat’ (as mentioned in your comment) then you should have informed us ahead of time.. May time limit naman pala ‘tong cafe ninyo.
And correction, we only stayed for 6pm to 8:30pm (as opposed to the 4-8pm) that the other person who commented said.
Andami nga naming in-order eh.. Plus may binayaran pa kaming 100 pesos laptop charge fee for one hour??!!
Aba matindi.. Daig pa ang PER HOUR RATE NG INTERNET CAFE ah..
Coffee Shop Etiquette
To close this post, I’d like to share this related article to you:
All of the coffee shop employees we interviewed agreed that they love having customers around. “I’d much rather have someone in my store than have an empty café, even if its the same person the whole day,” says Dunning.