Liwliwa Hostel: La Zerena Beach Resort

Searching for a private room in Liwliwa, San Felipe Zambales can be difficult on a weekend when everything is almost fully booked. Good thing we wandered a bit more and found La Zerena just across Circle Hostel.

We took one of their nipa huts that is good for two to three persons. The comfort rooms are communal located near the huts are reasonably clean and water is good.

The resort is about two to three minutes walk to the beach.

la zerena resort

 la zerena resort

 

 la zerena resort

 

 la zerena resort

Priced at 1,200 La Zerena nipa huts are quite affordable specially if there’s going to be three of you splitting the cost. I also like the resort’s location since it is just right beside Fely’s Canteen and store where we bought most of our necessities.

Airconditioned rooms though are priced at 3,000 pesos good for two.

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.

Tokyo Metro: Making Tokyo A Smaller Place; Easier

If you are traveling on a budget, the best way probably to navigate a city is through the train. However, the Tokyo Subway system has been known to be one confusing and difficult tangling rail lines. This might be Over the past couple of years, the Tokyo Metro has been working hard to improve their service for the benefit of tourists.

The Tokyo Metro team is here in Manila for the biggest travel event in the country, the 2017 Travel Tour Expo in SMX Convention Center to give us some exciting development about the Tokyo Metro subway system.

The Ticket

Getting from point A to point B through the Tokyo Subway, of course requires you a ticket. It can be a hassle though if you will have to buy, line up and figure out what ticket you should buy each time you enter the subway. Don’t get me wrong though, the Tokyo Metro has never been easier to

navigate as they put more English sign as part of their preparation for the Tokyo Olympics come 2020. However, lining up each time you enter the subway takes away your precious time that you could be using to getting to your destination.

Well, here’s some good news. The Tokyo Metro came up with a ticket specially designed for travelers. This ticket is exclusively made and available for tourist! These tickets will allow you to unlimited access to the Tokyo Metro from  24 up to 72 hours for a cost of a bowl of ramen!

Using these tickets will not only enable you to save time but also save money since you can use the subway over and over! So if you missed your stop, no worries!

Tokyo Metro Ticket

The Subway App and Connectivity.

Honestly, I think that the Tokyo Subway can be a bit  intimidating, with all of these transfers and lines that you have to remember. At this day and age of convenience, without even mentioning the ingenuity of the Japanese, one should not be daunted with the idea of taking the Tokyo Subway. See, aside from adding English signage around the network, the Tokyo Metro also came up with an app that you can take with you -yes it does work offline- that will help you navigate the entire Tokyo Metro subway network. All you have to do is enter what station you are coming from and the station that you want to go to and voila! The app gives you directions on how you can get there, including transfer stations!

Being connected while traveling is important. Most travelers just buy local sim cards as soon as they arrive in their destination and yes that does solve the problem. But if you are under in a subway, mobile signal can get a little iffy. Well that is not a problem with the Tokyo Metro, as most of their stations are equipped with free WiFi service. They are even working on putting WiFi on their trains! Awesome right?

Free WiFi Service Tokyo Metro

Welcome Boards

As part of their efforts to make the subways more tourist friendly, Tokyo Metro has put up welcome boards in English. These boards provide information about the stations that you are at, like what is there to do on near by spots and other useful information that will help you navigate the city. And yes it is in English

welcome-board

Aside from these boards, you will also find Toursit Information Booths in most stations staffed with English speaking officers that are more than happy to help you get around. I really appreciate this move by the Tokyo Metro, remember those times that you already have found the answers to your inquiry through the web but just needs reassurance from a human being? Hahaha.. well that’s where I am coming from.

Tokyo has well over 100 stations all over the metropolis  the Tokyo Metro subway system will take you virtually anywhere in the city. So why don’t you go ahead and plan your trip around the Tokyo Metro subway system, save time and have lots of fun!

Baguio: Mount Costa Living Gardens

Just off of the city of Baguio, a new attraction just opened up in La Trinidad Benguet. Yeah it’s technically not in Baguio but it still is just a few minutes travel from the city. This is Mount Costa.

According to its website www.mountcosta.com, Mount Costa is a garden of gardens filled with beautiful scenery where you can stroll and just relax. If you are from Manila, think of it like the Picnic Grove in Tagaytay only a lot better!

 




 

From Baguio City to Mount Costa via Jeep:

Go to Shagem St. (across Rose Garden, Burnham Park) and ride a ‘Long trip’ jeep that will take you all the way to Lamtang. Get off at Lamtang Irisan Cockpit.
Ride a jeep with a sign ‘Puguis Junction’ then get off at Mount Costa.

(Directions as per Mount Costa website)

Mount Costa

Please go to their website for more information.

You can find more rooms in Baguio here

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!

5 Traveler Must Have Apps

In this day and age of technological advancements traveling has never been so much easier than before. Thanks to the invention of coding (and the smart phone of course), different applications can now be downloaded to your phones of which most are free. These applications will definitely help you not just navigate from A to B, but also keep your within your budget on the road.

 

1.  Google Maps

Who would have not have these on their phone, ey? Uhm…. iPhone users i guess? Well  I am not really quite sure if iPhone users have this or not but if can download it, go ahead! Google probably has the largest database of roads mapped out on an application. So instead of carrying that big paper map why not trade it with an easy to use app like Google Maps?

 

2. Train Apps

Major cities throughout the world are densely populated if not widely spread to several square kilometers. For this reason most of these cities have their own Metro (train) system to move people around the metropolis. Luckily, there are apps available like Trainsity for most metros in major cities. But make sure to research more about this because cities like Hong Kong have their own super cool app for their MTR which tells you how, where and when to transfer and get off on a station to get to where you want to be!MTR App

3. Google Translate

You might think that this thing wont actually work offline, well maybe for some functions but it is really handy having this app in times where no one would seem to know how to speak English or your language. To make sure that you don’t run out of luck specially if you are off the grid, download the language packs so that it will still work even without internet connection, brilliant ey!?

 

4. Weather App

Seriously this is one of the most important thing that I use. I actually double check this before I leave my house going to the airport, crazy me huh!? Not really. It is important that you check and double check the weather of your final destination, you don’t want to be over dressed if there’s a heatwave going on or freeze if there was a sudden snow fall right?

 

5. Currency App

Making sure you exchange enough money to another currency is a vital thing if you want to keep up with you budget when you are on the road. That is why having a currency conversion app is really helpful in making those decision that could possibly hurt your budget if you do not think carefully. There are bunches of them out there but I personally recommend the XE Currency Converter, it is simple and fast and handy.

Any apps that we missed out there that you think should be part of this list? Let us know on the comments section below.

 

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