Tuesday, December 31, 2013

El Nido, Palawan: Beyond the Touristy Things To Do

"It's better to see some place once than to hear about it a thousand times."

A couple of months ago I deployed and closed a work project that spanned a duration of 10 months. After many days of late nights, extended work hours, and a marathon deployment without contingency I was so looking forward to my last destination travel in 2013. Every time I would leave the city and experience new places, I would always be reminded of the reason why I travel. Travel would recharge my spirit, would remind me that work was just a means to life and not an end by itself, and it would allow me to focus on myself.

The trip to El Nido, Palawan was a welcome reprieve from a busy and challenging 2013. This was my second trip to Palawan and this time, I wanted to experience the travel differently by immersing more with the locals. Read on for my TOP TEN Non-Touristy Things To Do in El Nido.

1. Life at the beach watching...

2. Do nothing, sit by the veranda, and let the day go by. Listen to the lulling sound of the waves as it caresses the sandy beach. Most of all, enjoy the view.

3. Walk with the locals at the town proper...

4. Underwater meditation and swim with the fishes.

5. Enjoy a kayak at the lagoons...

6. Eat a hefty breakfast, lunch, or dinner with occasional fresh catch from the sea

7. Explore the sandy and rocky islets; then, end a day of island hopping with a welcoming sight of a rainbow.

8. Explore the country side...

9. Walk the end-to-end stretch of the beach and take a break in-between...

10. Finally, don't miss Nacpan-Calitang and discover the twin beach.

Don't be afraid to explore and do the unconventional. It's a different kind of joy in the unexpected and the not-so-known. So I say: Go forth and discover!



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Monday, September 16, 2013

Puerto Princesa, Palawan: Explore the City of the Last Frontier

"We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us."


One of my travel must-do is to strike out Palawan from my bucket list. This year, I'll have a back-to-back trip to the renowned beautiful island of Palawan. First off from the list is the island's capital city, PUERTO PRINCESA. My sister and I had a super duper busy schedule at work. Nevertheless, we didn't cuckoo nor back out at the last minute, but instead we excitedly hopped on to the plane despite that we only had 4-hours sleep on the night before our morning flight.

GETTING THERE
It's not difficult to get there to Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Airliners in the Philippines offer frequent flights to Palawan. Upon arriving at the airport, you may take a motor cab or hire a van. Be sure to inquire too from the hotel/guest house, where you are staying, whether they offer a pick-up/drop-off service to the airport. 
ACCOMODATION
Puerto Princesa is a tourist hub, as such finding a good accomodation is easy breezy. There's a lot of hotels and guest houses in this city. In our case, we have booked our stay at Ysabelle Mansion
Address: 214 Abad Santos Extension, Puerto Princesa, Palawan
Phone: (048) 723-0992
This is very near the airport, but far away from the city's main road. I find the guest house a bit far for comfort to go back after a late night out. 
GOOD EATS
If you are looking for a dining experience in Puerto Princesa; then, there's Kalui and Itoy's Specialty Coffee Shop. These shops have a wonderful ambiance, but if you are looking for  a really good food; then, this is not the place to be in my opinion. If you are on a budget, just head on over to the regular and known fast food shops like Jollibee or Chowking. 

Until now, I can still distinctly remember the delicious baguette from my Vietnam-Cambodia travel. So when I hear that Puerto Princesa also have "hole-in-the-wall" restaurants run by Vietnamese-Filipino nationals, my Palawan trip cannot end without having a good fill of Vietnamese noodles and baguette. One that is quite near to the place we stayed is Bona's Chaolong. It is a "carenderia" style restaurant that is neatly tucked in the middle of the city's residential area. The baguette cannot be at par from the authentic one in Vietnam, but it is not that bad either. To get there, just hire a motor cab and tell "manong" driver to take you to Manalo Street. 
INSIDER TIP
Many say Palawan can be conquered at least in 3 individual trips: Puerto Princesa, El Nido, and Coron. After my Puerto Princesa trip, I think Puerto Princesa and El Nido can be hit in one travel for 5 days. 
RETAIL THERAPY
Don't forget to get yourself some cashew nuts. Yum at affordable prices. 
WHERE AND WHAT TO DO
City tour: Baker Hill, Crocolandia, Mitra Farm, local shops, etc. 
Bay Walk at night 

PHOTO DIARY




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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Vigan, A Blast from the Past

I don't collect souvenirs, instead I collect memories captured in photographs.

It was an arduous and sleepless long drive from Manila - Baguio - Vigan, but when our party arrived at early dawn, all I looked forward to was a roof above my head and a good bed to lull myself to sleep even just for a couple of hours. I was glad that we arrived at Vigan's historic block where the neighborhood was so quite; saw the narrow, dark, and haunting alleyways; plus the cobble stoned "calle" and the faint light that illuminated from the street lamp made me feel like I was transported to a scene in one of the pages in El Filibusterismo or Noli Me Tangere. Here's another photo diary from my Beyond the Lenses 


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Lifestyle. Creative. Moments
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