Oras Falls Tabaco City’s Hidden Gem

One of the things that I love about Tabaco City is how close the nature it is. Just several minutes away from the down town one can find himself surrounded by nature at the heart of an abundant forest. There’s no need to hike so much though to find Tabaco City’s hidden gem because just a few minutes of walking from the jump off point you will find the Oras Falls.

 

Oras Falls

Unlike the better known Vera falls, Oras Falls enjoys a bit more relaxed environment as it doesn’t get flooded much with tourists. I also love in particular the multi level small cascades at the food of the falls where the water runs downhill. You can just sit on one of the boulders and feel the water rushing through your body giving you some kind of whole body massage effect.

I really enjoyed my time spent in Oras Falls. It’s a great thing to find places like this that doesn’t take much effort to see natures beauty. Not that I don’t like hiking, but sometimes if you just want to escape the toxicity of your city life it helps going to places like these where you can commune with nature at whim.

Oras Falls

How To Get To Oras Falls

The easiest and most convenient way to get to the falls’ jump-off point is to rent a tricycle from the city proper. Alternatively one may take a jeepney from the city and get off at Brgy. Oras and then take a tricycle to the jump-off point. From there it only takes about 10 minutes or less on foot (depending on your hiking skills) to get to the falls.

For more information please contact the Tabaco City Tourism Office you can also check out Celineism’s detailed post about this destination

Tabaco is a fourth class city in the province of Albay. The best way to reach the city is by taking a 60 minute plane ride to Legazpi City  Airport, its nearest airport then a bus to the city’s downtown. You can also take a 12 hour bus from Manila that takes you directly to the city. 

 

Tabaco City’s Tabak Festival

With a confused mind I was on a bus bound to Bicol to a city called Tabaco. I was one of the the bloggers that the city invited to witness the Tabak Festival. I was battling in my mind why would the city celebrate Tabak instead of Tabaco which is a type of plant used to make cigars. Anyways, I just slept on the bus on a 12 hour journey from Manila. Well, at least I tried to sleep.

As soon as the light came in, I was greeted by this majestic view. Something that I’ve only seen on books until that day, The Mayon volcano. I was truly blessed as Mayon showed it self clearly that day, as if he was welcoming me to Bicol. I’ve heard of friends who spent days even up to a week at a time and never got to see the glorious Mayon in its entirety. With that I am grateful. Not bad for a welcome for a Bicol virgin like me.

I hopped off the at Tabaco City bus stop and was fetched by Verna our ever caring tour coordinator. After checking in I was introduced to Dave of silverbackpacker.com  who’s also my room mate for the next few days. Celine of Celineism.com on the other hand arrived the day after.

The Festival Origin

The Tabak Festival celebrates the city’s renowned craft of making the Tabak, a type of sword used mostly by farmers to cut through shrubs and other plants to clear a field or just plainly cut open a fresh coconut. The city formulated the festival to celebrate annually the its cityhood in 2003 just a year after it was granted such status.

Festivities

The festival focuses on the Tabak’s culture and its people’s daily lives. It aims to celebrate the spirit of the city’s community caring for each other and living harmoniously. Fittingly, the city hashtagged #cityoflove during the festivities and yes, you can see love all around. You can feel that more than competing with each other contenders enjoy and show their best for the love of their city.

The Festivities

Focusing on its residents’ daily living the festivities include boat racing, pedicab race, coconut husking and beauty pageants. The week long festivities are then capped with the Tabak Festival grand parade.

 Boats waiting for the race to start

 

 Pedicab Race Finishers waiting for the rest of the pack

 

LGU night performers

 

 

 Mutya ng Tabakla Candidates

Related Article: Mutya ng Tabakla Queens

 

 Rock Tabak Concert

 

 Mayor Krisel enjoying the night with senior citizens during the seniors night

 

 Live band for the city’s senior citizens

 

 Mutya ng Tabak Candidates

During the LGU night w had a chance to chat with Mayor Krisel and asked about the city’s name. It was really difficult to focus on her story. looking at such beautiful and intelligent mayor (yeeeee kakakilig hahaha) telling a story??? Hahahaha! Anyways, She told the story of how the city came to be known at Tabaco City. Once upon a time…. Kidding! According to a fable (not kidding now) there’s this heroine who fought with a Tabak. She was caught off guard without her Tabak, she commanded her offspring “Anak ang Tabak Ko!” (son hand me my Tabak) hence Tabak Ko which later evolved to Tabaco. According to the good mayor, there’s not even a single Tabaco plantation n the city.

To be honest, the Tabak Festival isn’t as big as many of the famous festivals in the country. What’s special about this though is that it celebrates humanity. That we need each other, care for your neighbor. there are very few festivals that celebrates this side of us being humans. Many celebrate saints history but very few celebrate who we are and who we should be. I think it is a good thing to visit Tabaco City and experience the Tabak Festival and see for your selves how people take care of each other in Bicol’s City of Love.

Read more about the Tabak Festival from Celineism and Silverbackpacker

The Tale of Two Tabacos

Tabak Festival Fun Games

 

Hong Kong In Photographs

I could be the worst blogger there is. A few years back,  I had the chance to travel with my dad to Hong Kong, and I don’t have the right words to describe that trip. So here I am telling you that very story of our trip to Hong Kong In Photographs

 

On board our Cebu Pacific flight to Hong Kong, Dad’s first time abroad!

>>> See Story Of My Dad’s First Time Abroad<<<

 

 

 

First meal in a typical restaurant within our hotel’s block

 

Disneyland Day! Sorry the kid in me can’t just let this pass. It has been almost a decade since I last experience Disneyland in Anaheim at this point.

 

Goofy!

 

Disney’s magic never fails me.

 

Tea Cups anyone?

 

Strolling along the Avenue of Stars

 

 

Busy streets of Kowloon

 

Crossing the harbor to Centeral Hong Kong

 

Streets of Central Hong Kong

 

The view from The Peak

 

Goodnight and good bye Hong Kong till we meet again

 

Beitou: Bathing Nude In Sakuraoka Hot Springs

One of the activities that I look forward every time I visit Taiwan is a visit to one of their Hot Springs. The Beitou district of Taipei is heaven for hot springs junkies like me and if you are comfortable bathing nude in public you will absolutely enjoy this activity.

On my second time in Taipei, I went out of my way hunting for this particular spa; The Sakuraoka Hot Springs Spa. I knew about this hot springs facility way back but couldn’t find it. So this time I made sure to find it and experience the spa. I was really interested by their website where they show that can see the Taipei 101 and a good view of the forest while dipping in their hot tubs.

So i got off at the XinBeitou MRT terminal and started to look for the place. Maps.Me seem not to be working so I tried to use Google Maps. Both couldn’t find the address so I keyed the name of the place instead. It worked! But….. the map threw the pin on an off road destination in the mountains. I checked if it was walk-able but it’s just too far, and the incline could be too taxing. So I hailed a cab.

Finally, I got to the Spa.

The interiors are okay nothing grand but gives you a sense of Japanese influence to it. I approached the counter asked for admission.

Entrance Fee: NT$ 200 (Monday – Friday), NT$ 250 (Holidays, Friday night till Sunday)
Towel Fee: NT$ 50 (you can bring your own)
Visit Duration: Unlimited

One of their staff walked me to the bathing area. I then undressed and kept my clothes in a shelve, of course I’ve got no photos of the wet area, I mean people are naked… duh! LOL!

The Men’s area has two pools. One has water jets that are really relaxing. The wet area isn’t that huge so it can be crowded specially on weekends and holidays so always check first before you commit. That applies to any spa that you go to. Their second pool in the men’s wet area is the hot tub, and when I say hot -it really is hot. It takes some time to adjust to the pool’s temperature, but once you get comfortable it’s just gonna be heaven.

 photo from sakuraoka website

How to get to Sakuraoka Hot Springs

  1. Take the MRT and get off at the Shipai Station in the red line.
  2. Take any of the buses 508, 535, 536 or 612
  3. Get off at Xing Yi Lu San bus stop and walk down Lane 300 take the road down hill on where the road forks. The spa is on the right side.
  4. Fare is NT$ 15

You can always take a cab either from Shipai or Xin Beitou station, costs around NT$ 150.

 

For someone comfortable in public bathing like me, this was one of the best that I’ve experience, comparing to what I’ve experienced around Asia (note: haven’t been to Japan though). Soaking for hours while staring at the forest with the Taipei 101 emerging like its one of the trees there was just relaxing. Honestly, I’ve never felt so much peace of mind ever than how I’ve had while I soak in the tub. It felt like it was just me, the tub and nature communing. Not a single negative thought came across my head.

I’ve also heard that there’s another Hot Spring spa in the area that’s better (there’s actually a lot of hot spring spa in that area including a gay spa so be careful if you don’t want to end up in one like me, LOL!) called Emperor Spa. But that’s for another visit. If you haven’t done public bathing the japanese way, I strongly suggest you do. You’ll appreciate your body a lot more and it will feel very liberating. It will make you think, why have I been embarrassed on doing this; there’s nothing to it really!

 

 

 

Batanes Itinerary And Travel Guide

Batanes still remains one of if not the most dreamed of destination in the country. The northern most province of the Philippines, Batanes’ next door neighbor is already Taiwan. For years Batanes has been far from an average person’s reach, not just beacause of its distance but because of the amount involved just to get there. However, over the past couple of years Batanes has become a bit more affordable. From the usual 16,000 – 20,000 peso airfares before, airlines now offer deals aroudn 3,000 pesos and sometimes even cheaper. Now that we have an opportunity to explore Batanes, let’s go and check out what are the things we can do in this beautiful Island with this simeple Batanes Itinerary

Getting There

There are two airlines that fly from Manila and one Tuguegarao namely, Philippine Airlines, Skyjet and SkyPasada. Fly time is about 1.25 Hrs from Manila.

Batanes Itinerary

Transportation

Getting Around Basco, Sabtang and Itbayat (The three major islands of the province) can be challenging. There are/is a jeep that goes around Basco at certain times mainly to transport people from the town to the pier. Be sure to ask your hotel/inn/homestay staff about the schedule so you wont miss it. I was told during my stay that I should catch it at the town exit at around 6:30 AM but it came around 7nish. Other than that you’d either have to walk, rent a bike or a motorbike to go around. I rented a bicycle to roam around the island on my own instead of joining tours. You’d have to really adventurous though if you want to go that way. The roads are challenging to pedal as most of them are up hill and you be on the road as darkness falls. There rarely are street lights in the outskirts of Basco.

 

Where To Stay

Contrary to common beliefs, accommodation in Batanes is affordable. You can find home stays, inns and hometels in Basco for your home base. I for example stayed in Time Travel Lodge for just about 500 pesos a night (this was back in 2014 – please check with the property for current rates). The property was near the airport, which is good in a way. However, it becomes a challenge if you frequent the town center where most of the activities are. See Basco lies on a slope, with the Airport at the top of the hill and the pier on the other end. See what I mean? But if it hills dosn’t bother you, say your like from SanFo that shouldn’t be an issue. If you can get a room some where near the pier, the better.

Batanes Itinerary

Where To Eat 

There are a few restaurants that we tried a few that we can recommend are Pension Ivatan for their Ivatan Platter so that you can try all Ivatan food that you can! There’s also Shanedel’s serving standard menus like continiental breakfast and tapsis. One must try though in Batanes are its lobsters and Coconut Crabs. Coconut crabs can be a bit on the expensive side because it is hard to find in the forests, but lobsters here are the cheapest that you can find.

Batanes Itinerary

What To Do

Top 2 things to do in Batanes are sight seeing and food trippin’. I think we covered the later earlier so let’s check out what is there to see in Batanes.

Like I mentioned, Batanes is composed of three main islands; Batan, Sabtang and Itbayat. The most convenient way to see everything is by booking a tour with tour companies like BISUMI. Last time I check they are offering a 5,000 peso tour for three days covering both islands inclusive of food and fees!

I on the other hand opted to bring a map and bike! the bike cost me about 200-300 pesos for the entire day and a gazillion calories! That made me soooo happy! hahahaha~!

I don’t have much words to describe Batanes so heeeere’s some scenery porn… ugh… that doesn’t sound right… hahaha

Batanes Itinerary

 

Batanes Itinerary

 

Batanes Itinerary

 

Batanes Itinerary

 

Batanes Itinerary

 

Batanes Itinerary

Batanes Itinerary

 

 

Batanes Itinerary

 

Batanes Itinerary

 

Batanes Itinerary

 

Batanes Itinerary

 

Batanes Itinerary

 

Batanes Itinerary

 

Batanes Itinerary

 

Batanes Itinerary

 

Batanes Itinerary

 

Batanes Itinerary

 

Batanes Itinerary

 

Batanes Itinerary

Honestly I dont think that gave Batanes any justice. You.Just.Have.To.See.It.Yourself.

Itinerary

The Batanes itinerary should be fairly easy.

Day 1: Arrive, rent bike or join tour, Ivatan feast at Pension Ivatan

Day 2 South Batan Tour, Casa Napoli (Dinner)

Day 3 Sabtang Tour, Shanedels (Dinner)

Day 4 Depart Batanes

>>> Download Detailed Itinerary<<<

Note that you can extend your stay in Batanes and that you don’t have to do everything to quick. See Batanes is more than a sight seeing destination. You need to immerse and feel how peaceful and different this place it from the rest of the country. Not just with geography but with its people. You can also go father and break your limits by going to Itbayat, the farthest of all livable islands. It will take you about four to five hours of travel via Falowa through the rough open waters of the Pacific Ocean.

 

Food: Best Kong Rou Fan In Taipei

Aimlessly wandering around an unfamiliar city can lead you to wonderful discoveries, that much I can attest to how wonderful Taipei is. It was a little past 12 in the afternoon when I decided to step out of my hostel and brave the impeding rain brought by the dark clouds over Taipei.

I’ve downloaded an offline map of Taipei but I really wanted to get lost, this time intentionally. I walked around a couple of blocks further going towards the streets that I’ve never gone through away from where I was staying. The streets in Taipei are a bit kind of dreamy for me. They offer a safe space to leisurely glide your feet one after the other while wandering around an unfamiliar block, something that is hardly seen in my home country.

Kong Rou Fan

Several minutes into walking, I saw this small shop in a cross street right in front of a temple. Keeping in mind that golden food rule, “Go where there is a line” I crossed the street and started inspecting their menu. I think I made my self a little too obvious that I didn’t knew how to order when a group of students came up to me and help.

I ordered this rice wrapped braised chicken by pointing to another table’s plates. I broke the triangular molded rice to reveal the chicken inside which apparently was mixed with spices and peanut. It was something so familiar but different. The play of texture of the dish really made me enjoy savoring every bite.

Kong Rou Fan

A middle aged guy sitting on the same table started conversing with me, asking me from where I was and how long have I been in Taiwan. But what struck me the most was when he asked me how did I found the place. He said in broken English that the place is some sort of a secret from tourist and that only locals know that this is where the best Kong Rou Fan is. He insisted that I should try the dish. Convinced enough I walked up to the shop’s front and ordered my self a Kong Rou Fan.

Kong Rou Fan

Kong Rou Fan

Kong Rou Fan is a slow cooked sweet pork topped on rice and served with pickled cucumber on the side. For someone who doesn’t like un-fried pork fat, this dish actually is excellent. Why? I could eat the fatty part without being irked! As soon as the pork fat lands on my mouth it starts to completely melt! It was heavenly! The meat part was also so tender that it just breaks down as soon as you taste it. Very minimal chewing was needed for this meat, just savor it. Kong Rou Fan

I am really happy that I intentionally got my self lost around the area. If I didn’t push my self in exploring beyond what are written on blogs and books I would have not tasted Taipei’s best Kong Rou Fan.  I highly recommend hunting this food store down the streets of Ximending. Not only do they serve the best Kong Rou Fan but all of their dishes are actually great. I really feel that this spot will give you a great idea of how locals eat like if you are into learning cultures. Besides one of the best ways to learn about a culture is through their food right? So chow down!

P.S. I don’t know the name of the restaurant but its the one on the top photo, right side of the Suzuki signage.

一甲子餐飲 (Pinyin: Yī jiǎzǐ cānyǐn)- As per google maps
Address: 108, Taiwan, Taipei City, Wanhua District, Kangding Road, 79號

 

 

Travel Vloggers You Should Follow 2017

YouTube has taken some sort of place in our instincts that when we try to search or learn something new we turn to YouTube almost instantaneously. I for one usually try to find inspiration in YouTube when I want to travel. It’s a very good place to check out what to do, what to expect and find out the how to’s of what you need to know when traveling. Let’s just say…. it’s the video counter part of Google. They’re owned by the same company anyway. So Here’ye! here’ye!

Sam and Audrey

Sam and Audrey are probably one of the few bloggers that I’ve followed through from their blogs and now with their vlogs in YouTube. The channel shows the married couple’s journey throughout the world. They use to teach English in South Korea before calling it quits and travel more of the globe!

Christian Le Blanc

Hailing from Canada, Christian left Canada to become an exchange student in Thailand where Laura, his girlfriend joined him March that same year. After graduating a few months later the Christian decided to travel Asia and started documenting his journey in YouTube. When his channel started picking up, Christian decided to quit his job and focus on his travel vlogs.

Aly (PsychoTraveller)

My go to vlog when I get bored. Aly just rambles a lot throughout her vlogs and I loooove it! Hahahaha. The thing that I like about Aly’s vlog is that she doesn’t just go from one place to another and just film then move one. Aly does it better, she lives in those countries for as long as she can! I love how she tries to immerse through the culture and learn more about the people. Oh, and yes she is totally funny!!!! Hahahaha!

 

Brendan Van son

My favorite travel vlogger of all! Brendan “Max” Van Son. I discovered this guy when one of his vlogs came up as one of the suggestions on YouTube. He was traveling the Philippines back then with the money he won from Las Vegas and has challenged him self to sustain his trip with only that money.

Why I like this guy much? Well more than a travel vlogger, Bredan primarily is a travel photographer. Basically living the life I want to live. Hahahaha! I actually didn’t knew that it is possible that somebody actually lives the life the I see my self living. I specially like his episode where he teaches people how to make it possible and how his finances as a travel photographer is doing via Mr. Jigglefoot – the income octopus.

So there you go. These are my Top Travel Vloggers You Should Follow this year. These are my personal favorites, so if your favorite travel vlogger isn’t on the list, tell us on the comment section so we can check them out. Who knows maybe I’d like them too!

Cebu Pacific Piso Fare September 1 – March 15, 2018

The Philippines largest low cost carrier, CebuPacific Airlines just launched their latest PISO FARE offering!

For as low as 452.12 pesos customers can book flights to selected destinations with travel dates starting September 1, 2017 until March 2018.  Perfect for those early planners and backpackers who loves going on trips at a very low cost.

Where To Book

Check out their website to book your flights at CebuPacificAir.Com

Travel Guide: How To Get To Taipei From The Airport

So just landed in the Taoyuan Internation Airport and you are ready to explore Taiwan. But then there you are standing in the arrivals area, over whelmed on all of the Chinese characters you see. Inside your head you are lightly freaking out asking your self How to do you get to Taipei from the Airport?

Thankfully, going to Taipei from the Airport has been more convenient over the past few years. The buses bound to Taipei that will drop you off at the Taipei Main Station is now operating 24 hours. The Airport railway link on the other hand has been recently opened after a few year of construction.

Best Way To Get To Taipei From The Airport

Honestly, it depends on your situation. Here’s what I recommend.

Cab

If you do not  trust your skills in taking public transport, you can always take the cab. However, I can assure you taking the bus and the Airport MRT is really easy. I also recommend that you take the cab if you have several bags with you and you are solo traveling. Yeah… I know people who travel with several bags for a three night trip. Believe me! Hahaha! It would also be more comfortable to take the cab from the airport instead of the bus. The cost shouldn’t be that much if you have friends to split the fare with you. A cab ride from the airport to Taipei main station should cost you around 900 – 1000 NT$  

Get To Taipei From The Airport photo by  koadmunkee used under CC Licence

Get To Taipei From The Airportphoto by  spencer341b used under CC Lisence

Bus

The most cost effective of all types of transportation. it only costs around NT$ 125 to get to Taipei from the airport which is really cheap comparing it from taking the train and more over to taking the cab. If you are arriving anytime between 12AM till 6AM, the bus would probably the best choice for you as the Airport MRT will not operate until 6AM. Some of the buses have luggage areas at front for small bags while you can always put big bags in the compartments on the side of the bus.

 

photo by   lyng883 used under CC Licence

Airport MRT

After several years of construction, the Aiport MRT is finally open. I was lucky enough to try the Aiport link on its first month of operation as the fares are still discounted. Regular fare from the Airport to the Taipei Main Station costs about NT$160. The train is fast and clean (buses tend to have a bit of a smell sometimes -just like everywhere). Only draw back that I think it has are its seats. The coaches have regular plastic seats instead of comfy cushioned ones.

Get To Taipei From The Airport

You will be arriving at the new A1 Terminal or the Airport Terminal of the Taipei Main Station. From there you can transfer to which ever line you need to be in to get to your destination.

Get To Taipei From The Airport

The Taipei Main Station is massive so don’t be shy to ask around. I for one still gets lost even if I’ve used the station several times. Be patient and be ready for an adventure! LOL!

We hope that this guide has helped you in some way. If you know any other way to efficiently get to Taipei from the airport, please let us know in the comment section.

 

Singapore Hotel: Marina Bay Sands

As a backpacker, you know that I am not a big fan of luxury accommodations. So when the opportunity came to experience the hotel at no cost (thanks to my cousin – so pretty 😉 ) I jumped into it right away. The Marina Bay Sands, located in Marina Bay in Singapore, is an integrated resort touted to be the most expensive in the country. The property is not only famous for offering 5 star service. The building it self has become a tourist attraction as its top shows to be shaped as a big ship.

Marian Bay Sands

While the Marina Bay Sands hotel also has a massive shopping mall and casino. The main draw for non gambling tourists is actually the ship shaped roof deck of the hotel.  The roof deck allows people see Singapore from a bird’s point of view during the day and a crazy party spot at night. While the viewing deck and the roof deck club is a great spot, people actually check-in in the Marina Bay Sands because of its unbelievably beautiful infinity pool.

What I Like About The Marina Bay Sands

The Rooms

Obviously, the Marina Bay Sands exudes luxury throughout the hotel. The rooms are spacious and offers a great view of  either the Gardens by the bay or a gorgeous view of the city.  The room that we got at first was the Grand Club Room thinking that it was on the higher floors. The room was spacious at 79 sqm with a stunning view of the Gardens By The Bay. However, since we were looking for a room at the higher floors at tower three we asked to be relocated. Why? Tower three has the access to the Infinity pool and it would be more convenient to access the pool from the higher floors. We made a mistake of booking the Grand Club Room assuming it would be on higher floors. We thought so because it was more expensive, well lesson learned. Thankfully the hotel was easy to deal with.

marina bay sands

 

The Infinity Pool

One, if not the biggest draw for people to stay in the Marina Bay Sands is the Infinity Pool. It stands to be the worlds largest rooftop infinity pool there is. Honestly, I never imagined my self seeing this awesome view from the pool. Like I said I am not a fan of paying so much, yet still the rooftop infinity pool was something to experience at least once in a lifetime. Yeah, you can call me lucky.

The Infinity pool faces the beautiful Singapore skyline. Since check in time was at 3 PM we only got to catch the sunset and it was beautiful. The pool may be a bit crowded that day since it was a weekend but the view was still mesmerizing. We enjoyed the sun while lounging on the sun beds until sunset.

Marina Bay Sands

 

marina bay sands

The Location

The Marina Bay Sands is very accessible. In fact, it is directly connected to one of the MRT Stations. It’s that convenient! The hotel is also just across the Gardens By The Bay so I just crossed the street and I was there! The Merlion and the famous Singapore skyline is also just a short walk away from the hotel passing by the Science Museum and Esplanade and through the iconic Helix Bridge.

What I Didn’t Like About The Marina Bay Sands

Thinking that the Marina Bay Sands is one of the most expensive hotels in Singapore, I was quite surprised about their pool. Why? Well, the pool is freaking cold!!! Yep the infinity pool is not heated. I had to brave the cold water on sunset. Your body will eventually adapt, of course but it could have been a way more comfortable if it was heated!

Another thing that I felt off about the hotel is when we checked in. Checking-in an expensive hotel should feel classy and sophisticated. But when we checked in at the Marina Bay Sands, it felt like we were in a Mall! The interior felt too stiff that even the high ceilings didn’t compensate the feel that I was looking for. The staff wasn’t actually that bad, but I feel that they could be a bit more polite and warmer. Just saying that I’ve experience better hospitality before.

What I Think About The Marina Bay Sands

If you can afford it go ahead it is worthwhile experience. Sitting at the roof deck under the Sun in the morning and watching the Sunset at night was awesome. But if you feel that you’d actually spend this into something more and stretch it further I’d say skip it. What I am just trying to say is that do it only if you really like it. I don’t have strong recommendation like it should be a must do, that your Singapore experience will be incomplete without it. But then it would be like a cherry to your icing if you do. If you have around a hundred USD and couple more friends to split the cost with and you want it, go push for it!

 

Help this site by booking this hotel through agoda-logo your booking through this link helps keep this site running.

 

Got a different experience with the Marina Bay Sands? Leave your story at the comment section, let us know!

The Baguio List: What To See In Baguio

The summer capital of the Philippines, Baguio is easily one of the top destinations in the Philippines. Just a bus ride away from Manila, the capital city, Baguio transports you a world away from the chaotic atmosphere of Manila. To maximize your enjoyment in the city of pines, I’ve come up with a list of everything you need to know on what to see in Baguio City.

 Burnham Park 

Named after the architect of the City of Baguio, Daniel Burnham, Burnham park sits at the center of the city making it a great place for the community to come together. The park features several gardens and a lagoon where one can paddle a boat on high altitude. Biking also is popular on this park. Having sloped roadways this piece of flat land in the city sure is the best spot to learn biking.  what to see in baguio

Photo by Res Pe (used under CC License)

Mines View Park

Probably the second most popular spot in Baguio is this small promontory called Mine’s View Park. Located at the northern end of the city, the park offers a view of the nearby mountains and valley bordering other municipalities surrounding Baguio.

what to see in baguioPhoto by  ginomempin  (used under CC License)

 

Wright Park

If you are up for some adventure, try out horseback riding at wright park. As soon as you arrive at the park you will be welcomed by lanes of ponies and horses along with the distinct smell of horse poo. LOL. It’s worth trying though specially if you haven’t ridden a horse yet. You can also visit St. Joseph Parish Church  where a famous celebrity couple got married. Guess who! Write your answer in the comment section!

what to see in baguio

Photo by Constantine Agustin (Used under CC License)

Lourdes Grotto

Walk 252 steps up the stairs going to the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. Located at the western side of Baguio city in Mirador Hills one can say their prayers as they arrive at the top. Some do this as penance and as a sacrifice for a wish made.

what to see in baguio

Photo by LeylanR (Used under CC License)

Baguio Cathedral

Built during the American occupation with a Neo-Gothic architecture the Baguio Cathedral is the seat of the archdiocese of Benguet.

what to see in baguio

Photo by JanLendL [too busy! (Used under CC License)

Strawberry Farm

Fancy picking strawberries straight from the farm to your basket. Strawberry picking has been a tourist attraction specially for those who like their berries ultra fresh. It is also a fun activity that the family can enjoy together. Strawberry farms are found in La Trinidad, Benguet a several minutes outside of Baguio.

what to see in baguio

Photo by mykel7873 (Used under CC License)

Ben Cab Museum

Home of the world renowned visual artist Benedicto Cabrera’s art works is found in Tuba, Benguet. The BenCab museum offers a visual feast for your creative minds.

what to see in baguio

Photo by penmanila (Used under CC License)

Tam Awan Village

Created as an artist’s haven the Tam Awan village can be found within the outskirts of Baguio City. One can enjoy watching cultural shows and shop for handicrafts created by Benguet’s artisans.

what to see in baguio

Photo by girlpixieshoot (Used under CC License)

Mount Costa

One of the newest attractions that you can add on your what to see in Baguio list, though outside of the city, Mount Costa is just several minutes drive from Baguio. This attraction has a hand full of full size and pocket gardens that you can just let your self get lost and marvel at the beauty of nature.

The Mansion

Officially called as The Mansion House, This white washed stone house becomes the official summer residence of the president of The Republic of the Philippines during the hot months. The structure was built by the Americans in 1908 as the summer house of US Governor Generals

what to see in baguio

 

Editors Note: This article will be updated each time we find something worth visiting. Please like our FB Page and Instagram for more updates.

 

Jiufen (Spirited Away)

I’ve always heard about this place and seen photos online. I wasn’t really that excited about the place but it did made me curious. The day that I was to see the old town of Jiufen came in a bit interesting for me. I originally wanted to see Shifen to fly a paper lantern, but the weather wasn’t agreeing. So when I saw this girl on Couchsurfing looking for companions  to Jiufen, I message her up to meet. After a few hours she responded on where we can meet up. I was like “Thank you God! you actually are going to make this birthday memorable for me!”. LMFAO. Well it wasn’t actually a date of some sort but meeting a cute girl was a reward enough for my birthday. Yep this was on my birthday.

The Old Street Jiufen

Jiufen’s main attraction (for non Spirited Away fans like me) are its century old streets. These streets are filled with stores selling interesting things. Food, tea houses, restaurants, Souvenirs, tourist spots of all sorts adorn the narrow streets filled up with people. The street has this Japanese feel of a market place, maybe because the town was developed further during the Japanese Gold rush era.

jiufen photo by Modale (used under CC)

There’s another class of tourist that goes to this old town, the anime fan tourists. As I learned from my new friend Jordana, some of the structures and places in Jiufen inspired the architecture and landscape of the movie Spirited Away. Without knowing I actually was impressed by the architecture of  the actual tea house where the author took inspiration from.

I guess if you are off for a trip to Jiufen, make sure that you come with a full wallet and an empty stomach. Going through the streets with rows and rows of awesome stores with free tastes will satisfy your cravings. Make sure to visit one of the coffee or tea houses that offers an amazing view of the port city of Keelung.

Jiufenphoto by arkiben used under CC

 

jiufenphoto by  ume-y used under CC

 

Jiufen Photo by Wei, Shi-Hang (used under CC)

How To Go To Jiufen

There are a few ways to get to Jiufen.

Option 1

Take the train to MRT Zhongxiao Fuxing station
Get on Bus 1062 that will take you straight to Jiufen
Bus fare is about NT$102

Option 2

Go to Taipei Main Station
Get on the Taipei Rail train to Ruifang
From Ruifang hop on a bus to Jiufen

jiufenphoto by andreakw (used under CC)

Best Free Tours In Taipei

One of the best things about Taipei is it’s very walkable. Taipei has good sidewalks and the city is well planned. This makes walking from one district to another actually a bit leisurely. I my self think that the on of the best ways to see Taipei is through free walking tours. Here are the best free tours in Taipei that you can join.

 

Tour Me Away

Tour Me Away offers 5 free tours in Taipei and also offers a pub crawl around the city. The group also offers customize tours if you are tight with time and would like to cover specific areas only. The team is composed of young energetic individuals aiming to promote Taipei’s Culture and Heritage through these free tours in Taipei.

The free tours that the group offers are Old Town Taipei, Chill Out Taipei, Long Shan Temple Tour, Hunger Game and the Vintage Tours. Tours typically starts around 4 in the afternoon (be sure to check their website for schedule changes) with meeting places near MRT stations or popular landmarks making it easier for people to locate.

If you want to have a feel of how it’s like to be in one of their tours you can watch the video below of Haley Dasovich’s tour with them on her trip to Taipei with Ave and Daniel Marsh.

Website: www.tourmeaway.com
Email: service@tourmeaway.com

 

free tours in taipei

 


Like It Formosa

An independent group established by young Taiwanese to promote Taiwan’s culture. The team aims to let people see Taiwan by trying to present the country they way locals see them. The group offers five free tours in Taipei namely: The Historic, Modern, Golden Age, Beitou and LGBT Tour.

 


 

free tours in taiwan

 

Now that the Philippines will have been accepted to the country visa free, now’s the best time to plan your trip starting with these free tours in Taipei. So make sure to join one of their fun tours and learn more of Taipei’s culture and heritage!

Got more information or know another group offering free tours in Taipei? Let us know so we can add them up on the list!

Travel Guide: Boracay Island

Hailed as one of the best beaches in the world several times, Boracay continuously lures tourists each year. The island is famous not only for its powder fine sand and exciting activities, but with its awesome nightlife as well.

What To Do In Boracay

I could easily spend a whole day just laying on the sand and enjoy a cup of smoothie or beer while the breeze blows. Aside from that here are a few more that you can do.

Paddle Boarding

boracay

Ride a Paraw

boracay

Island Hopping

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Best Time To Go To Boracay

Off Peak Season (End of May – November)

If you want to enjoy the beach with less people, you might want to visit during lean season. Off-peak season in the Island starts from late May till November. This season is also the time when the water is the clearest. Caveat though, if you go there during the American Thanks Giving holiday you might encounter a crowd larger than the usual off peak season. This is because this is the best time for people who work for American companies take advantage of some rest and relaxation. I actually like travelling during Thanks giving weekend. Hotels aren’t that expensive as if it was peak season but they offer amenities like buffet in house and some even offer free cocktails at night, that’s why I think that is the best time to go to Boracay.

boracay

 

Super Peak (March  – Early May)

Summer season starts end of February and climaxes between March and April. These are also the months when classes comes to a halt giving families to come together and enjoy a day at the beach. While you may think that the number of people will start dwindling come may, you are wrong! Big time! The biggest event in the island actually happens every May 1, Labor day! In fact people have coined a word for this weekend, LaBoracay weekend (read as Labor -racay) combining the words labor and Boracay. If you plan to join the LaBoracay festivities, better book your hotels and flights several months in advance as they will shoot waaaay up and hotels do become fully booked all over the island.

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Peak Season (December – February) 

Holidays abound during these months so expect more people trying to get to the island. Prices to go up so just like during super peak seasons, book your airfare and accommodation in advance. It can be a bit crowded on these months but nothing like if it is LaBoracay. Also, the water is perfectly clear too on during these times.

 

How To Get To Boracay

Most major airlines in the Philippines fly directly to Caticlan the nearest airport. However, most travelers opt to land at the Kalibo International airport as it is always cheaper. From Kalibo you can take a bus or van directly from the airport to the Caticlan Jetty Port. Boats from the port to the island is available 24 hours. As soon as you arrive ready your pesos to pay for the Environmental Fee (100), Terminal Fee (75)  and Boat Fare (25).

Overnight ferries from Manila are also available. You can check ferry schedules at 2Go.com

Boracay

Where To Stay In Boracay

Hostel Avenue

Get the best value out of your buck at Hostel Avenue. A beach front property, this hostel offers a great view of the sea from its veranda.

boracay

Check Rates  I See Hotel Review

 

Chill Out Hostel

boracay island

Check Rates

Liwliwa Hostel: Limbonis Hideout

The newest and possibly the most backpacker friendly the Limbonis Hideout is a a hostel found and built by a traveler himself. This Liwliwa hostel offers private and dorm accommodation.

What I Like About Limbonis Hideout

Aside from the fact that it was built by a backpacker for backpackers, here are a few more things that makes this place stand out.

The property is located on a corner lot bordered by a river backdrop with lush greenery. Each morning will just be just so calming with the birds chirping. Because this Liwliwa Hostel is located on a corer lot that means there are way lesser noisy neighbors g

Liwliwa Hostel

Being a widely traveled person the hostel truly exudes a travelers ambiance. The owner of this liwliwa hostel recreated some of the architecture that he has seen throughout his travels in Southeast Asia. Some of the structures resonate the vibes from Bali while some comes familiar as houses on stilts.

Liwliwa Hostel

Liwliwa Hostel

 

Liwliwa Hostel

 

liwliwa hostel

Liwliwa can be a tough cookie to break when it comes to getting cheap prices specially if you are a solo traveler. However, at the Hideout Liwliwa Hostel you will feel that you are very much welcome as a solo traveler. I have tried to search for a good price for Liwliwa Hostels before but the best one that I could get before was about Php 550 for a freaking hammock!

I also love Hideout Liwliwa Hostel’s coffee bar where you can ask for coffee made from different parts of southeast asia and the Philippines! While the beach is just five minute walk from the property, the two main stores are just about two minutes away by foot! For the adventurous type, if you are into surfing they have surfboards that you can rent. For novices, you can also ask for an instructor to help you take that first stance on the board!

If you like this liwliwa hostel or would like to know more details you can check them out through  5_logo_booking-435x712x-435x712x  or   agoda-logo