Travel Guide: Guam

Guam is an island territory off the Pacific, four hours flight from the Philippine’s capital. Similarly colonized by the Spanish conquistadors and still under the American federal government Guam shares a lot more cultural similarities that we thought we knew.  The island is popular for Japanese and Korean tourist who you’d mostly find at the shopping areas such as the Guam Premier Outlest and the hotel lane which is dotted with good stores to shop at.

Prepping for a trip to the island can be intimidating as not a lot information on how enjoy the island backpacking style is available. So on a recent trip I tried my best to find the best way to enjoy the island without spending so much.

Visa Requirements

Being a teritory of the United States of America, Guam requires you to have a US Visa. There are no special visas for Guam so you still have to go through the usual US Visa application.

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Getting There

Most of the time Cebu Pacific Airlines offers the cheapest fares from Manila. Yes most of the time specially when they are on sale (got mine for $52 RT) just make sure you don’t book your hotels right away or book rooms that are re-bookable in case one of the airlines “Flight Realignment” issues happens again. Other airlines that fly from Manila to the island are Philippine Airlines and United Airlines.

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Accommodation

Accommodation in Guam mostly consist of Hotels and Resorts leaning towards the higher end of the market. I guess it is safe to say that Guam is not backpacker friendly but it does not mean that it is not doable. If you are willing to spend more than than your usual trips you may want to look for accommodation around the Tamon Bay area where you can easily access the beautiful Tamon Beach. This area is also the best places to stay for shopping.

 

If you are still not willing to let go of your backpacking principles (lol) the best way to get around the high prices is through Airbnb. You can snag a room, condo or apartment for about $30-$60 a night that you can split if there’s two of you. Make sure to stay near one of the Lamlam bus stop so that getting around the area wouldn’t be an issue if you aren’t driving. Just be sure that you are ready for emergency money that you can spend incase anything happens to your reserved room just like what happened to me. (will post an airbnb review later). Some of the destinations are walk-able (1-2kms) but the heat may be a challenge so just be ready with umbrellas, Guam roads aren’t fans of sidewalks so you might find your self walking on unpaved road sides.

Transportation

Best Option: Car rental – rent a car for just $20-$25 a day. Gas cost around $3-$4 a gallon which is enough for you to go around the entire island at least four times! Just bring your drivers license and you can drive for a maximum of thirty days while in the territory.

For non-drivers here’s how you can get around the island.

Lamlam Bus Service

Lamlam seems to be Guam’s de facto public bus service. The bus service is operated by Lamlam tours company and has several routes around the main area of the island with most of them terminating at Micronesia Mall and Guam Premier Outlets (GPO).  One way single use tickets costs $4 per way while day passes starts at $12 for one day, $15 for 2 days, $25 for 5 days while child pass costs $13. They also have special buses that will get you to special points of interests such as Two Lovers Point and Chamorro Village among others.

If you are trying to get out of the airport, they also have an airport shuttle that will take you to T-Galleria Mall in the downtown are. Bus service usually starts by 10 AM.

Taxi

From the airport taxi service (meter) will cost you about $25 for the entire 2.8 miles (5kms) journey. Expensive yet somewhat convenient except when you are in area where there are no taxi waiting area. See, taxis do not go around and pickup passengers. Most of the time they are stationary in an establishment with a kiosk where you can book their service.

Stroll & LamCar

There’s no Uber, Grab or Lyft in Guam. Instead they have Stroll. Similar to other ride hailing apps Stroll will provide you the estimated price and pick you up from your location. The only set back for this is that there are not a lot of Stroll cars around the island so it may take a while before you can actually hail one. However, it may be worth the wait compared to taxis as the price per mile are way cheaper.

Another option is the LamCar, similar to Stroll this app also helps you to hail one of the Lamlam tour company’s

Food 

There are lots of great food options in Guam. From food courts, restaurants, diners and of course there are fast food options as well. Pricing though does not differ whether it is fast food or a mom-and-pop food store, only the specialty restaurants actually border on the “pricey” end of the spectrum.

To give context to how much you will be spending and should be allotting for your food budget, here are the actual prices I paid for.

Mc Donalds
……….Big Mac Meal ………..$7.90
……….Big Mac (Sandwich only) ………..$5.00

Denny’s 
……….Grilled Chicken Breast with Mash Potato and Brocolli………..$8
……….Hamburger Gravy Bowl………..$8.00
……….Unlimited Hot Choco………..$3.60

Note: Denny’s have breakfast options for as low as $2 some if the servings are big specially those with rice like the Hamburger Gravy Bowl I had to put them on take-away bags so I can finish them later, so maybe you can just share.

Cinnabon (Classic)………..$3.99

Infusion Coffee and Tea Shop
……….Shangri-La Iced Tea………..$2.50
……….Chicken Pesto Pasta………..$2.00

Figaro
……….Java Chip Coffee………..$5.74

If  you are traveling in a group better cook your selves food it’ll be cheaper!

Activities

Shopping

Guam Premier Outlets
Micronesia Mall
Downtown Shopping Lane (Hotel road)

Guam Ocean Venture

Chamorro Village

Watch Las Vegas Style Magic Shows

Beaches

Tumon Beach
Gab Gab Beach
Gun Beach

Food Trips

Guam National Museum

War In The Pacific Nat’l Historical Park

Asan Bay Overlook

Guam Legislative Building

Dulce Nobre de Maria Cathedral

Two Lovers Point

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Crystal Chapel

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Though honestly, the best thing still to do in Guam is to shop. However, there are still a lot of things to do in the island that you don’t have to spend so much. But then again if you see the prices in the outlet stores and duty free shops you would definitely panic and your card may get overloaded. I am not even exaggerating. My favorite store still and probably will always will is Ross, thought it was tough to find something for my size, that store still my heart (yeah we got a long history way back 2006 hahaha).

Nevertheless if shopping is not your thing, the Chamorros are one of the jolliest people I’ve ever met, you’ll have a great time around them for sure! Best to bring a friend or two with you to split the cost of your Airbnb, car rental and gas. Lastly stop converting to your local currency! hahaha! yes let lose for a moment when in Guam and you’ll surely enjoy your stay. Haf Adai!

Must Try Food In Taipei

They say Taiwan is how China could have been if it wasn’t for the cultural revolution. They shunned many of their traditions and beliefs and turned themselves to the communist ideology. None the less, there is one thing that China and Taiwan shares best; Food Culture. Not known to many Taiwan is one of the best places in Asia to discover flavors that you did not know existed. Food combinations that can be quite odd but taste so good.

On my recent trip to Taipei, Taiwan’s beautiful capital I’ve indulged my self into an eating free in one of their famous night markets and some other random street foods. Here are a few of the Taiwanese food that you should try when in Taipei!

Huajiao Bing

Pepper seasoned pork filled bun baked inside a tandori looking kind of oven. Unlike other pork filled buns, The Huajiao Bing’s bread is hard outside and crumbling inside.

Carbon Barbecue

Bacon or Chicken fillet wrapped spring onions wrapped barbecues grilled over charcoal. They are cooked in batches and are sold separately. Each one are individually skewered with a toothpick to keep them together. Each one cost about NT24 a piece.

Taiwanese Pancake

Also known as a  Scallion cake, this pancake is cooked on a flat pan like a roti. Scallions or onion springs are added to the batter mixture giving it its name scallion cake. It is a cheap yet filling food that you can bite on if you need something to eat yet don’t have the time to eat a proper meal.

Stinky Tofu

Probably the most famous dish that comes as a dare to a lot of western tourists. Before being grilled or fried and topped with vegetables.

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Cranberry Juice

Made from fresh Cranberries you can find several of these stalls around Shilin Night Market. This is a perfect first stop before starting your food trip around the market so you’d have something to drink along with your food.

Gong Rou Fan

Rice in a bowl topped with tender pork chop that just melts in your mouth. The dish also has pickled cucumbers to cleanse your palette. The best Gong Rou Fan can be found in Ximen area  and costs about NT65

Hot Star Whole Chicken Breast

Though Hot Star has branches here in Manila, I’d say that it is still worth trying out this food on where it started. You find this stall with a line of customers most of time waiting for another batch of fried chicken breast goodness to be served.

 

Bubble Tea 

It wouldn’t be right not to try out Bubble Tea from its place of birth. Yes, the bubble tea that wee know was born in Taipei! It’s amazing how many flavors one can try with each Bubble Tea shop that one can find in every corner of the city.

Ice Cream Burrito

I am not sure if this is a Jiufen specialty but I didn’t notice this sold anywhere else. The Ice Cream Burrito (just made that name up -can’t remember sorry bad memory) is basically a scoop or two of ice cream wapped together with peanut shavings and cilantro in a spring roll wrapper.

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Taro Balls

Also found this one in Jiufen, where they serve it either hot or cold with milk. Its basically just taros shaped in spheres served with milk. I specially liked this one hot when I tried it in Jiufen when it was freezing cold that day. Oh yeah, this reminds me of our Filipino Ginataang Halo-Halo

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Got a Taipei Food Must Try that you’d like to share? Put it down on the comment section so we can add them up on the list!

Crossing From Singapore To Malaysia

If you are on a Southeast Asian trip or just trying to maximize your trip in Singapore, a quick trip to Malayia can actually be done via land. Singapore is connected to Malaysia via a few entry points. From thee you can start exploring places like Joho Bahur or Melaka, or even as far as Penang or Kuala Lumpur via an overnight bus. Yes you can always book a flight from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, but if you are aiming for a cheaper alternative a night bus can save you a lot.

How To Book A Bus From Singapore To Malayia

While in Singapore I tried looking for a travel agency that where I can physically buy a bus ticket from. It was quite a challenge specially in the area where I was staying (Bukit Pajang). So after scouring the mall (Bukit Pajang Plaza) I went back to my accommodation and just checked online.

There are several sites that you can book your bu tickets, it is actually a lot more convenient it just my traditional thinking that’s kicking in. I choose BusOnlineTicket.com based on the price and departure times available. I booked a trip departing 12AM that night, cost was SG$28

Upon arriving at the pickup point, I just showed my phone with their email confirmation and I was admitted to board the bus. The same bus will be taking you from the pickup point, through immigration then all the way to your ultimate destination. It was Kuala Lumpur for me.

Immigration

The bus crosses the causeway bridge and takes you to the Singapore Immigration processing center. The center was large and well organized just like an airport. There were not much people at that time since it was midnight so everything went quickly. We went back to the bus and once every one was in we then journeyed to the Malaysian side of the border to be stamped in. The Malaysian immigration office was remarkably smaller compared to Singapore but since it was midnight everything was done quickly.

Timetable

Travel time between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur is about 5-6 hours. If you are traveling after summer you might consider a few things when you travel. You will arrive when it still is dark at around 5 AM and if you are getting off at Berjaya Times Square make sure that you have changed your money to Ringgit before you leave Singapore. There are no 24 hours money changer around the area.

 

Got more tips about crossing to or from Singapore and Malaysia? Leave them on the comment section and we’ll try to add them!

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.

 

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.

 

Travel Guide: How To Go To Vietnam From Cambodia (Border Cross)

Being part of the main land Southeast Asia, Vietnam is one of the usual stops for backpackers. So aside from taking the plane to the country, to save money most travelers actually cross borders via land. If you are wondering how to go to Vietnam from Cambodia via land, you’d be surprised that it’s relatively easy. Let’s check on some things first.

VISA Requirements

If you are a non ASEAN citizen you might want to check Viet Nam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs if you are needing to secure a visa prior to your arrival. You will also notice when you buy your bus ticket that the staff will ask you some questions. This is to determine if you are aware of your visa situation and that you have secured one if necessary.

On the other hand, if you are an ASEAN citizen, all that you’ll be needing is your passport. ASEAN citizens with passports issued by member countries  are currently afforded visa-free entry into Viet Nam for a period of 21 to 30 days.

How To Go To Vietnam From Cambodia (Border Cross)

check on google maps here

How To Go To Vietnam From Cambodia (Border Cross)

screen cap from google maps

The Journey To Viet Nam

As you buy your ticket, the staff will actually ask you if you have ever been to Viet Nam. I think this is their soft probing if you are aware of the things that you need to know on how to go to Vietnam from Cambodia. They will also inform you if you need a visa, ergo they will not sell you tickets if you don’t have.

Say, you have your tickets already and its time to board the bus. Before the bus leaves, the steward will collect all passports to double check if you have the right documentation. As soon as you arrive at the Cambodian border, all passports will be redistributed. You will have to get off of the bus and line up for your passports to be stamped out.

After everyone has been stamped out and have boarded back on the bus, you will be taken to the Duty Free shop for dinner. Yeah, It’s a bit over priced but the food isn’t that bad and you have no other choice. After about an hour everyone jumped backed in the bus heading to the Viet Nam side of the border.

On the Vietnam side of the border, the bus steward will be the one to process your passports for you. You will actually be asked to bypass the immigration officers booth after handing you back your passport. As you exit the processing center, an immigration officer will then check your passports one at a time. This is to make sure that everyone was processed accordingly.

Your bus will be waiting at the exit of the processing center. Once everyone is back on the bus you’d be on your way to Ho Chi Minh city! There’s one difference that should be noted between the Cambodian and Vietnam border processing. As you exit, the Cambodian border center will just as yourself to step off the bus without your belongings. On the other hand, the Vietnam border will ask you to unload everything and have everything scanned. I guess the later’s immigration process is a lot stricter since you are entering their country.

Your journey ends at the Pham Ngu Lao street where everyone gets off. If you have not booked a room just yet, you are almost guaranteed to find one along the alleys of Pham Ngu Lao.

hopefully this gives you a good idea of what bus company to take and some insight on How To Go To Vietnam From Cambodia.

Fare: $14 (as of 11/29/2016)

 

If you have any questions, suggestion or inputs please do let us know on the comments section!

 

Taipei Hostel: Meander Hostel

Booking hostels can be bit tricky. Sometimes you see really good photos and ratings but when you just get disappointed when you get to your room. I wanted to have a great experience on my return trip to Taipei which happens to be my birthday trip as well ^_^. S0 I pulled up and search for Taipei Hostels in Agoda.com, sorted it out starting with the cheapest ones and checked out the ratings. I was surprised finding a high rating property within my price range and yes the rating is true!

What I like about Meander Taipei Hostel

As soon as I step in I was warmly welcomed by the Meander Taipei Hostel staff, like genuinely warm. I noticed that their lobby offers this wide open common area where every one can interact. As soon as I checked in I was toured around the area by their the wonderful Sarah, she’s just so bubbly I love it. She showed me to the kitchen area where breakfast was being served and just right across it are the viewing area and a huge dining table where everyone can talk while eating.She then introduced me to their events wall. If you don’t have anything planned out when you get here, all you need to do is just check out what is happening on the events board. There’s always something to do everyday!

Meander Taipei HostelReception with their cool staff.

Meander Taipei Hostel

Meander Taipei HostelNot gonna run out of things to do with the events board!

You rarely see hostels with good beds real beds, some of them even just use foams and throws in a linen and a pillow and that is it. Meander Taipei Hostel actually provides you with real beds, yes the not a futon or a foam but some real mattresses and it sure was comfy sleeping on those. Aside from linens they will also provide you a comforter which is awesome specially that Taipei weather can be a bit chilly at times. The only set back is that you have to bring your own towel, which is I feel isn’t a big thing considering that they offer far more quality than most hostels.

Meander Taipei HostelGet the privacy you need with these capsule design bunk beds

Meander Taipei HostelYour own socket, USB charging dock and light in your capsule!

They have about 188 beds where 28 of them are private rooms while the rest are dorm rooms. It is also notable that they don’t put more than ten beds in a single dorm so it doesn’t get too crowded. WiFi is also excellent ideal for Digital Nomads who take their work with them to where they go.

The hostel has this youthful vibe that makes you just want to hang out in the common area and chill out with other travelers. They also have a culturally diverse staff allowing them to support most major languages if you don’t speak English really well.

Meander Taipei Hostel is located about 500 meters from the Ximen MRT station where you can find lots of stores and food shop. You can just walk around and enjoy the local events and have a good time without getting far from the hostel. But if it is just breakfast to startup your day is what you are looking for, there’s not even a need to get out of the hostel. Your booking with Meander Taipei Hostel includes breakfast which is served at the kitchen area from about 7 am till past 10 am.

Meander Taipei Hostel

 

How To Get To Meander Taipei Hostel

From Ximen MRT station just walk straight west through Chengdu road for about 500 meters.

Meander Taipei Hostel Map

If you like this hostel, you can book them through     agoda-logo   for the best rates

 

Travel Guide: Liw-liwa Zambales Itinerary

Zambales offers a lot of options when it comes to advnture. You can go climb mountains, swim rivers but my favorite of all are its beaches. Yes Zambales does not have those pristine white sands just like in the visayas, but they are as close as three hours from Manila and offers a lot of activities that the family can enjoy.

Liwliwa Zambales

Liw-liwa is small coastal community in Zambales with a vibrant surfing scene. The beach may not be as soft and as white as the others but it offers a huge beach area where you can just enjoy laying out under the sun while watching surfing to their stuff.

As you emerge from the community to the beach you will also be amazed by how raw this area is (I just hope that this would stay the way it is). The beach is lined up not with coconut trees but with pine trees with the towering mountains of Zambales behind them. I couldn’t help my self but just stare at it for minutes!

 

How To Go To Liw-liwa

From EDSA Take a bus going to Iba Zambales (or anything going past Zambales)
Tell the Conductor to unload you at Bobulan Elementary School in San Felipe, Zambales
Incase they aren’t familiar with the school just alight in their stop for San Felipe
Take a tricycle going to Liw-liwa

Liwliwa Zambales

Where To Stay

Since I was with a friend we opted to stay in a private hut in La Zerena Resort but if you are solo or you and your friends would like to meet new people I highly suggest to stay in The Circle Hostel which is just right across La Zerena or a better alternative is the HideOut Hostel.

Expenses

Caloocan (Victory Liner) – San Felipe – Caloocan         564.00 (282/way)
Accommodation                                                                   600.00 (1200 good for two)
Surf Board Rental (Half Day)                                              400.00
Tricycle Service to Falls                                                      250.00
Falls Entrance                                                                         50.00

Total                                                                                  1,614.00

Food

The most convenient place to get almost everything that you need is at Fely’s Store and Canteen. They have a meal menu mostly Tapsis starting around 75.00, Fruit shakes at about 50.oo and other things that you may need including personal necessities.

liwliwa zambales

Itinerary

Day 1

04:00 ETD Victory Liner Caloocan
09:00 ETA Sitio Liw-liwa, San Felipe, Zambales
09:30 Breakfast
10:00 ETD going to Lubong-Nangoloan Falls
11:30 ETD Back to Sitio Liw-liwa
12:00 Lunch / Free Time
13:30 Beach Bumming/ Surfing
17:30 – 18:00 Sunset
19:00 Dinner
20:00 Onwards Socials/Bonfire

Day 2

07:00 Wakeup Call
07:30 Breakfast
08:30 Beach
10:30 Prep for checkout
11:00 Checkout
11:30 Lunch
12:30 ETD to Caloocan
18:00 ETA Caloocan

liwliwa zambales

Notes:

You can bring your own tent, the beach is huge you can just pitch your tent for free.
There are toilets that you can pay to use.
Bring a garbage bag and bring your trash with you, locals are very particular about cleanliness of the beach
If you opt to stay in a room, call ahead of time and reserve. They get fully booked easily on weekends.
Fruitshakes are aweosme
If you plan to go to the falls ask for the husband of the massage therapist at the resort on La Zerena’s right.

Ultimate PTAA Travel Expo 2017 Guide

Okay, Calm down… yes it is just about three days away. The BIGGEST TRAVEL event in the country!!!! And no I am not exaggerating with all of those exclamation points, IT IS the biggest!

So we’ve come up with some minor stalking on the internet to give you information on how you can navigate and snag that promo fare or package for you to enjoy.

Intel #1 Business Hours and Entrance Fee

Be at the venue early like waaaay not 10AM. If you come on time, you are already late! And you will be at the end a long line of people wanting to get the best travel deals that there is for the year.

Travel Expo

 

Intel #2 Floor Plan

Know where your target is, like for me I want to get those sweet deals from PAL so

Travel Expo Travel Expo

 

Intel #3 Participants

Here are the participating companies this year!

Travel Expo Travel Expo Travel Expo Travel Expo

 

 

Note: the author is not associated with PTAA and does not own any of the graphics posted. All graphics rights belong to PTAA.

 

Boracay Hostel: Hostel Avenue

It was almost a no-thinking-required decision when we booked Hostel Avenue. We were trying to escape the rains in Cebu so we find our selves up north in the province of Aklan. With no plans at all, we pushed all the way to Boracay with no reservations for the night. So we turned to our phones and searched through our apps for one. Agoda.com was the one that gave us the best options, sorting the results from cheapest to the highest priced accommodation Hostel Avenue quickly got my attention as it showed to be located on a beach front property. It was also strategically located in Station 2 near D’Mall and Epic Club so everything is right at your reach!

Boracay Hostel: Hostel Avenue

The hostel has two rooms (at least that I know of) that has dorm facilities. The dorm that we were assigned to stay in has two showers and two toilets. It also has two sinks outside the toilets so bathroom traffic was pretty much manageable.

You are given clean linens and pillow cases as soon as you check in. You also don’t have to worry about towels as they will also give you fresh ones. I was specifically impressed with their bunk beds, Usually, bunk beds tend to move and wobble every time the one who stays in the upper bunk moves or gets off. But for Hostel Avenue, the beds doesn’t move an inch. You also get to have a socket assigned to your bed and even the upper bunks have one!

Boracay Hostel: Hostel Avenue

The only thing that kinda let me down, is that we can’t leave our electronics charging. This means that I had to stay in the hostel whenever I have to charge one of my gadgets because they will plug it out if they see it unattended. To be fair though, I didn’t ask if I can leave my gadgets charging in the reception area.

They also clean the room and toilets on a daily basis which is a +++ for me! The water pressure though is quite disappointing. But it could be because of the water heater just like in most cases. You can’t have both – heated water or pressure – you choose!

I really find the hostel strategically located, I will stay here over and over if I am traveling alone. One thing though that I would like to point out is that, it would be a loooooot more awesome if they have free drinking water. I mean really. Honestly, I was quite disappointed with that, but then they served FREE Cocktails on my last night so no biggie! Hahaha! I really had a fun stay at Hostel Avenue, I’m sure you will too.

If you like this hostel, you can book them through     agoda-logo   for the best rates

P.S. They have this awesome roof deck over looking the beach bar performers. You can just buy your own beer and chill there while listening to live music… totally awesome!

Boracay hostel

Boracay hostel\

Note: Photos lifted from agoda.com. This post is the sole opinion of the writer of whom was not solicited by the establishment. 

Cebu Hostel: Bugoy Biker’s Bed And Breakfast

Hostels aren’t that popular for Filipinos but I think one must try staying at this hostel called Bugoy’s Biker Bed and breakfast. Hotels tend to provide canned customer service of some sort like they smile all the time and everything but experiencing real personal customer service is something that one can only experience when the people who own the accommodation actually attend to your need.

I booked Bugoy’s Bed and Breakfast six months ahead of the festival, honestly I had hesitations with it because the location doesn’t seem to be at the center of Cebu and the place looked like it was an old house. Though admittedly, the owners does say it is thus prohibiting smoking inside the accommodation.

Cebu Hostel
But I guess, I was wrong, Bugoy’s Biker’s Bed and Breakfast is just a 15 minute ride away from where the Sinulog action is. It is also conveniently located near JY mall where I was able to find a travel agency that helped me book a ferry to escape the rain in Cebu to Boracay. It is also walking distance to the market, supermarket, fastfood and cheap eateries where I often eat.

The best thing I like about Bugoy’s Bikers Bed and Breakfast is the owner’s personal touch of service. They are really honest and would make sure that you are comfortable. Jens with his wife who owns the B&B will attend and tour you around the property informing you of everything that you need to know.

 Cebu Hostel: Bugoy Biker’s Bed And Breakfast

I also admire their honesty. I really appreciate the fact that they are very transparent and fair with their prices. I booked through a certain website that gave me a different price which was 25% more of what other guests are paying for. I gaveRenz the amount stated on the website as I checked then she pulled at the back of the property and insisted on giving me back the excess of the price that I was suppose to pay. If that is not enough honesty and integrity, what more can I say? I mean that is money for them already and that is not even cheating or anything since that is the price that I signed up for but she gave it back to me because it was not right. I am really impressed.

They also provide free water and brewed coffee which is awesome, specially for digital nomads like me who need s caffeine to keep our bloods running ^_^. They also serve continental breakfast which is awesome and helpful when it was terribly raining because we didn’t have to go out and find food.

 Cebu Hostel: Bugoy Biker’s Bed And Breakfast

Most of the people who stay there are westerners and I was able to speak with one of the owners who quite sad about locals (people from the country) who book at their hostels and just don’t show up, mostly because they are expecting of some sort of hotel like accommodation. I just hope that Filipinos could open up and actually try staying in hostels and get to know more people.

Bugoy’s Biker’s Bed and Breakfast definitely delivers exceptional service. It has nothing like the luxurious amenities of a hotel but it has more than what you can experience more than a hotel.

It is also worth mentioning that Bugoy’s Biker’s Bed and breakfast can be one of the few accomodations that does hostels right. Some accommodations would label them selves as hostels only because they offer dorms of accomodation below the standards of a hotel, but that is not what hostels are all about. Hostels are about meeting new people and keeping accomodations low.

In general, I would highly recommend Bugoy’s Biker’s Bed and Breakfast because of their excellent personal service and hospitality.

If you like this hostel, you can book them through  5_logo_booking-435x712x-435x712x  or   agoda-logo

Note: this post is the sole opinion of the author who is not associated with the hostel in anyway. If you are booking for Sinulog make sure that you book at least 6 months ahead.

How To Get To Pattaya From Aranyaprateth

Most travelers coming from Cambodia opts to go straight to Bangkok as soon as they cross the border to Aranyaprateth. But if you are looking for to have some time under the Thai Sun a quick stop over in Pattaya can satisfy your craving for some sand between your toes.

One can get to Pattaya from the border by booking a bus online, however most of the bus companies that I found are quite expensive. Good thing is that staff in the hotel where I as staying gave me directions on where I could catch a Van to Pattaya at a fraction of the cost.

After going through immigration find your way to the Star Plaza Mall‘s open air parking on the right side where van are located. You can buy a ticket from the terminal desk, they will issue a receipt so make sure that you don’t lose it because at some point of the journey they will be inspecting this.

Fare all the way to Pattaya is about 250 Baht.

Here are some photos of the terminal that you should be looking for.

Terminal Desk

Terminal To Pattaya

Do you know any other way to get to Pattaya from Aranyaprateth? Let us know in the comment!

Mt. Balagbag Itinerary

Probably one of the cheapest places to hike is just off north of the metro is Mt. Balagbag. Straddling between the provinces of Bulacan and Rizal, Mt. Balagbag offers an amazing view of the vast area of the metropolis.

The mountain can be reached by foot but 4x4s are able to reach the summit of the mountain. This makes the mountain ideal for camping for families who would like to venture into a different kind of family bonding.

Mt. Balagbag Itinerary

There are three registration areas going up. The first registration area is as soon as you enter the road leading to the trail. You do not need to pay anything here, but a donation can be made for the cause of the people who are “taking care of the area”. The second registration is at the community hall where they ask for Php 10. About an hour for there the third registration are is found where you would have to pay Php 20.

Mt. Balagbag Itinerary

From the last registration area, the hike up the mountain is just about 30 – minutes.

If you are doing a sunrise or sunset day hike be sure to bring extra cash. The public transport’s end time schedule is quite unpredictable and you might need to rent habal-habal or a jeep if you aren’t able to catch the last trip going back.

How To Get To Mt. Balagbag

From Mc. Arthur Highway
Take a jeep from Tabing Ilog Market Terminal in Marilao going to Muzon. From Muzon take a jeep to Tungko where you will find the terminal going to Licao-Licao

From Quezon City
Take a bus to Tungko then on to a jeep to Licao-Licao. You will get off at the end of the line where you can start your hike.

Expenses

From McArthur Highway

    • Marilao to Muzon               Php 18
    • Muzon to Tungko               Php   7
    • Tungko to Licao-Licao      Php 27

From Quezon City

    • Cubao to Tungko                          Php 53
    • Tungko to Licao-Licao                Php 27

Registration

    • Registration #1 – Donation
    • Registration #2 – Php 10
    • Registration #3 – Php 20

Note: There’s also a way through Montalban though the author has yet to find more information about it.

Mt. Balagbag Itinerary

Mt. Balagbag Itinerary

Mt. Balagbag Itinerary

Mt. Balagbag Itinerary

How To Cross To Cambodia From Thailand

Crossing the Cambodian border from Thailand could be one of the most challenging border crossing one may experience, like how I did.

First off you need to get to Aranyaprateth, Your bus or van may drop you off at Aranya (possibly their nickname for the market area) and you would have to hire a tuktuk to get to the border it self. Some vans may drop you off at the Border like the one I took from Pattaya.

Find the entrance where it says departure and walk straight ahead. You’ll find a sign showing “Foreign Passports”, go up to the stairs -no photos and videos as soon as you enter the door; that’s the immigration area already. Line up and have your passports ready together with your departure cards to have it stamped. That’s it you are officially out of Thailand.

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As you exit the immigration building you will see the Cambodian border arch, walk straight past it going to the arrival area. If you are a non-ASEAN citizen or are needing a visa you may secure your visa at the building near after the arch. There are a lot of people at the Thai border who will try to sell you or scam you in getting a Cambodian visa so be very cautious.

The arrival area is just a small office, immeadiately secure an arrival card, fill it up then queue for the immigration officers. No fees should be collected at this point. I have heard some horror stories from fellow travelers that immigration officers ask for at least $1 for different reasons ranging from so called “Processing fees” to rediculous “First timer’s fees”

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Be cautious of touts as well, do not answer any greeting or question from strangers or they will follow you up till you actually get on a bus or taxi. I made the mistake of answering to a “Hello” then the next thing I knew is that there are three men following me trying to have me get their service.

Once you have processed your arrival you either take a shared taxi or a bus to Siem Reap, Phnom Penh or where ever you are bound to, at the international Bus Terminal (6kms away) by taking the FREE government bus or walk straight to the Vikram Buntham bus terminal just straight ahead down the road. Fare for this bus company ranges from 8-10 USD depending on what type of bus you will be taking.

map-cambodia-border-copy

Always remember to check for your visa requirements and have enough money , be it local or USD -which ever is acceptable to your country of destination. It is important to know what you need to do and your rights specially when traveling cross borders to avoid being scammed.

Do you have a story or different experience in crossing the Cambodian border from Thailand? Let us know at the comment section!

How To Get To Khao San Road From Airport

There’s a couple of ways to get to the city from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport, it is really up to you how would you want to navigate the city depending on how much time and convenience you are willing to let go. Here’s a couple of ways on how to get to Khao San Road from the airport.

Via Taxi

The most convenient yet expensive way to get to Khao San Road from the airport is by taking cab. Flag down rate starts at ฿ 35 while ฿ 6 is charged for every kilometer while a surcharge of ฿ 1.25 for every meter is applied if your vehicle is moving under 6 kph. You will also need to shoulder the toll fees for the expressway while you will be at the mercy of Bangkok’s famous traffic jams.

Via Bus

There are buses at the arrival area that you can ride taking you directly to Khao San Road. Fare is about ฿ 150 – 180 depending on the bus company. Compared to taxis they are more comfortable with bigger seats designed for trips, but just like the taxi travel time will depend on the traffic situation.

Via Train

First off, the train will NOT take you directly to Khao San road. You can take the airport train up to the end of the Airport Rail Link line which is the Phaya Thai station. From the Phaya Thai station, walk to the Victory Monument or take another train (just one station away ฿15) and take the 509 or 157 bus. Make sure to tell the conductor to unload you at the right stop. Fare from the airport to Phaya Thai station is ฿45 and the bus to Khao San road is ฿13

Victory Monument Bus Stop