Fiery and Rainy Weekend in the Mystical Province of Siquijor

O hai, may blog pala ako! 
It's been over a month since I last updated this blog. Napakatamad ko talaga. I don't want to use the word busy, though right now I think Im occupied with work. Lapit na Go-Live ng project! Since my eyes get really tired on weekdays, I choose to stay away from the computer on weekends. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the one good excuse I came up for not updating this blog. Charot!

Since it's the long weekend and my VL got denied (read: bye Boracay tickets for Aug 22-25), now is the perfect time to blog.

long weekends are always for blogging...
thank you Magnet of Tramping Philippines for the photos!

Magnet and I went to Siquijor 2 weeks ago. We had high hopes that the mighty sun would cooperate but of course we're ready for the worst. After all, the great affair is simply to move.

 sun on the third day

 hammock time

at Coco Grove Resort

walking barefoot on the shore again

It was not the best weather we could get so we just decided to save the island tour for next time. We wanted to see the island at its finest so we both agreed to stay in the resort (of course we loved that idea, who wouldn't want to leave Coco Grove?).

Siquijor is really a beautiful place. There are no direct flights to this mystical island yet tourists (from all the over the globe) do not mind the hassle to reach the place. Just so you know, we had one of the worst boat rides on our way back to Dumaguete. Actually the ferry cancelled its trip so we rushed to the other port to catch a barge that would sail on that day.  

1 of the 3 pools in Coco Grove
this one's 10 feet deep ♥

 2nd pool near the reception area

our lovely and spacious room

What I loved most about our short trip in Siquijor are the paved roads and the houses along the highway. The lifestyle is so relaxed and everyone in the island seemed to have a simple yet good life. 

Moving on, the glimpse of paradise was enough for Magnet and I to decide to return in Siquijor in the future. For the record, this was my 3rd attempt - and yet I haven't really "seen" the island of fire. Oh well, at least this set our wanderlust to rest, even for a short time.

my kind of blue

calm waves at last

Thanks Magnet for these super amazing photos! Sabi ko na nga ba pwedeng hindi magadala ng camera pag kasama ka. ♥

blogger (with only a smarthphone) in action

Siquijor, may araw ka rin samin!

El Nido - Summer 2014

Summer would always mean sun-kissed skin, relaxing getaways, and gorgeous beaches. In short, it's simply the best time para maglakwatsa! So right after my Coron getaway, it's time to revisit El Nido.

Hair gets lighter. Skin gets darker. Life gets better. 

El Nido - The Second Time Around
For some reasons, I wasn't really stunned with El Nido when I saw it the first time. It could be the water, the weather, or my mood that time. The experience was great, but I knew my expectation was more than that. #TaasStandards So my friends and I went back to El Nido. This time around, it left us breathless.

now I believe this is one of the best beaches in the Philippines

Island Hopping in El Nido
Rumors are true. The standard rates have increased. Here are the current rates (for peak season at least):
Tour A 1,200/pax - Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, Simizu Island, Secret Lagoon, and 7 Commandos Beach
Tour B 1,200/pax - Entalula, Pinagbuyutan Island, Pangulasian Island, Snake Island, and Cathedral Cave
Tour C 1,400/pax - Hidden Beach, Helicopter Island, Secret Beach, Matinloc Shrine, and Star Beach
Tour D 1,200/pax -  Bukal Island, Ipil Beach, Nat-Nat Beach, Cadlao Lagoon, and Paradise Beach
Underwater Camera rental - P700/day
Kayak rental - P800/day

Combination trips are not widely offered anymore BUT special trips can be easily availed by renting out a private boat for your group. Once again, Northern Hope Tours took care of our island hopping activity. Depends on the number of person on your group and how many tours will you avail, ate Neriza (owner of Northern Hope) is easy to deal with if you ask for discounted rates.

Northern Hope Tours, El Nido
mobile: 0939.902.22.16

What we visited: Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, Simizu Island, Snake Island, Helicopter Island, and Papaya Beach. Much better than the Combination Tour A and C, because we also went to Snake Island which is included for Tour B. We could have visited Matinloc Shrine but the weather's gone crazy, we skipped it.

Big Lagoon

the perks of renting a private boat
you have all the time on this spot

Small Lagoon

floating my worries away

Northern Hope's big and private boat
Snake Island

goofing under the summer heat

artistic lunch c/o our boatmen at Snake Island
yes, we do love El Nido!

 live music on board

snorkeling at Helicopter Island

healthier-looking corals

kayaking at Papaya Beach
the finest and whitest sand in El Nido

 easy kayak for the guys

unobstructed sunset view

As always, I felt blessed for having the privilege to travel and see these awesome places in our country. A big dose of Vitamin Sea just filled our wanderlusts.

Overcomer Lodge
For affordable yet decent and spacious accommodation in El Nido, we chose the newly built Overcomer Lodge. Location is at Corong-Corong. Our spacious room includes our own bathroom, big beds, tv, fan, and aircon. Rates normally start at P500 per person and this already includes breakfast at the rooftop. And yes, there's free WiFi.

Overcomer Lodge
facade, 1st floor, and roof deck as breakfast area

Overcomer Lodge's room for 2

Btw, rates are negotiable. If you avail the tours from Northern Hope, then you most probably have a discounted rate for the rooms at Overcomer Lodge. Just ask ate Neriza.

Nacpan Beach - Now I'm a Believer
Parang Justin Bieber lang ah. Anyway, this is really the spot I wanted to see again. Most friends I knew hailed this beach as the most stunning - but when I see it the first time, it looked uhm ordinary. I know I just have to see it again. Luckily this time around, Nacpan Beach proved me I was wrong.

  the white stretch of flawless and uncrowded shore at Nacpan Beach

Nacpan Beach - even better upclose

view from top

Twin Beach

trekking under the sun at 35°C was rewarding

Nacpan and Calitang Beaches

We were truly amazed. Im so happy too that I revisited this place. Immediately I thought of rearranging my Best Beaches List. Definitely, El Nido is not #10.

Cadlao Resort - Splurging a little for my birthday
Since it's my birthday, we decided to splurge a little. We made a good choice for picking Cadlao Resort which is along the town proper. The resort is extremely beautiful. Rate is around P8,000 per night which comes with breakfast for 2 people. A little expensive yes, but it's just right. FYI, there are only 4 resorts in El Nido town which has a pool. For me, it is worth every peso spent specially when the resort is well maintained, the staff are friendly, and the view is breathtaking!

lush green Cadlao Resort 

room with a view (thanks to the full-sized sliding glass door)

we love the room, but the pool and view are so much better!

well maintained resort

the world is our playground

Cadlao Resort
drool.. i wont judge you. ^_^

one lazy afternoon by the pool

camwhoring at its finest

happy birthday to me!

We wished we could have stayed longer (and of course if we could afford it. hehe). Relaxation in this place is very achievable. The Cadlao Lagoon which is just across the resort is a good addition to the view of the infinity pool. Initially we planned of going to Altenative Inn again, but it's so hard to leave the pool. I think we had a good decision to just stay. The food here is good as well, though a bit expensive. Still, I recommend this resort for special occasions.

Thank you Palawan for that another awesome experience. Thank you ate Neriza for the fun tour! Thank God for the privilege to travel, a good weather, nice company, and another unforgettable summer.

related articles:

Coron - Still Amazing Like The First Time

Where have you spent your Holy Week vacation? Well, I spent mine in the awesome group of islands in Coron. Honestly, Im a bit unprepared. The airfare were so expensive at the time I planned to book, like around P9,500! Thanks 2Go Travel for offering a relatively affordable fare to the paradise province of Palawan. For just around P3,500 round trip fare from Manila to Coron, I did not just enjoy my destination but I already had an awesome journey on the sea. My vacation has started as the ship started to cruise.

finally, lots Vitamin Sea! ♥

Manila to Coron
2Go Travel ship sails from Manila to Puerto Princesa via Coron route. The port is located at Pier 4 in Manila. This is more convenient than the Batangas - Caticlan, Boracay route which I tried last year. Click here for a complete review of 2Go Travel experience, accommodation, ticket upgrade, dining, parking, etc.

Manila to Puerto Princesa via Coron
journey is a good 12 hours. leave Manila at 5pm and arrive in Coron at 6.30am.

Cabin for 4 Accommodation
tourist to cabin upgrade costs P250 per way

complimentary meals can be upgraded for P80. this includes a main dish, side dish, soup, and dessert.

After exploring the ship, had dinner in the Horizon cafe, had a drink in the upper most deck, and watched TV - we decided to call it a day. My friend and I had a good sleep in our very own cabin room (yeah, lucky us there are unoccupied beds). We arrived in Coron ahead of time. Summer is here!

Coron, you still amazed me like the first time!
I've been to Coron last 2010 and I still remembered clearly how I enjoyed that trip. Instantly, it became one of my favorite destinations in the country. The water is so clear, the corals are healthy, the rock formations are breathtaking. Coron really deserves all the raves. 

Coron Packaged tour or Do-It-Yourself trip? We hired a private boat again for our island hopping tour. If you are a big group, this is cheaper than joining a group tour for P650 per person. Mind you, not all must-see spots are included in that P650 package. Go for the DIY, you have the power to control where your boat is heading and there's no rush so spend the time you want on your favorite spots. 

hello Coron! ang ganda ganda mo pa rin!

uncrowded Malcapuya ♥

my white and wide playground

where I spent my summer day - in a hammock enjoying the sea breeze!

a great vacation always comes with great food

That's pretty much like it. We spent all morning and afternoon in the quiet island of Malcapuya. It was so relaxing that we didn't even want to move and to leave. Banana island is nearby but we chose not to go there anymore because of the crowd.

Next day was allotted for the much awaited Coron loop. If you have to choose between Malcapuya/Banana tour and Coron loop, definitely choose the Coron loop. The nearby islands are already so amazing that every tourist goes crazy just by seeing the rock formations. Of course, it's a tough job not to jump out of the boat specially when the water is so inviting.

  sight seeing is already good enough for me

 trust me, it's more breathtaking to see this in person

im still so amazed

The first time I was there, I didn't pay much attention to the view because all my friends and I cared for was the colorful fish and corals under neath the water.We snorkeled from morning til sunset! Ang energetic ko talaga nung bagets pa ko.

When I returned, I got myself ready for some underwater activities - but the view on the boat kept me so busy. The weather, the extremely clear water, and the rock formations left me breathless.

 lucky Palawenos for their blessed place

lucky me too for the privilege to travel

feeling lucky and happy at the same time

one of the reasons why i love Pinas!

Coron as one of the Top Destinations in the Philippines
Two days may not be enough but the satisfaction, relaxation, and happiness I got in this quick Coron getaway was already equivalent to a week long vacation. I have no regrets traveling 12 hours by sea just to reach this place. It's all worth the journey. ♥

my Coron experience wont be complete without seeing you
and i will see you again, soon!

Coron 2010 (overnight at Banana island + Coron loop)
2Go Travel 2013
thanks Leidy for the discounted tour! for boat rentals, contact 0999.993.66.39

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