#MCTravels

A taste of Caramoan Islands in two days.

Travel Date: February 15 – 16, 2017

This blog is a continuation of my previous blog Making the most out of my two-day Solo Travel journey in Albay Province since I opted to have a side trip at Caramoan Islands in Camarines Sur. This blog is quoted on a solo travel journey with jump-off point at Naga City.

February 14, 2017 (DAY 1)

Following the last paragraph of my previous blog mentioned above, I arrived at Naga City at around 8PM. It was a 2-hour travel from Legazpi City via Bus. Upon arriving at the city, I immediately checked in at my accommodation – JoMcKayl Apartment located at Sebastian Street corner Isarog, Naga City. From the bus station, it is accessible via chartered tricycle (since its late at night already) at P40. Its just 5-8 minutes away from Naga Bus Station. The Apartment is located within a very peaceful village. The room only cost me P500 without breakfast. For booking, you may call them at (054) 472-4721.

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Room is actually okay. Its like a bedroom on house. Its worth the price actually. Room has its own restroom and Flat Screen TV as well. I highly-recommend this to budget travelers. Again, thanks Google Reviews for the recommendations. Gave it a high score by myself too in Google Maps.

February 15, 2017 (DAY 2)

The day started so early for me. I have to leave at 6AM in the hotel since I had limited time for my next destination. Since its early, I had to walk a few meters going to the next block and waited for a tricycle. Fare is at P10. Prior going to the Naga Bus Station, I had my breakfast at the nearby 7 Eleven. After which, I went to the station and explored the means of getting to CAMSUR for Caramoan Islands. I was lead to a Non-air Bus (JC Liner) bound for Lagonoy. I just informed the bus driver to drop me at the Municipal Hall of San Jose, Camarines Sur. Travel time is from 2 hours to 2.5 hours and fare is at P73. Non-air bus was not bad at all since majority of the places we will pass by are plains with trees and crops. Spell FRESH AIR! Also the bus has several stops so if now with the stops, going to San Jose will surely be less than 2 hours.

After 2 hours, we arrived at San Jose, Camarines Sur. As advised, I will inform the bus to drop me at the Municipal Hall.

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The Municipal Hall of San Jose, Camarines Sur

Upon arriving at the Municipal Hall, I waited for a jeep going to Sabang Port (my Jump-off Port to Caramoan Islands). Fare is at P15 and travel time from the highway is more or less 20 minutes. There is a name card of SABANG on the jeep so it is very easy to find.

In Sabang Port, go directly to the waiting area and list your name inside. I arrived there at around 8:40AM.

Unfortunately, there is no system in place here at the Port. As per schedule, the next trip should arrive at 9AM but this schedule is not fixed since waves could not be generally smooth along the way. The boat arrived at 9:30AM. The barker then called out all passengers for Carmoan Islands to board the vessel. Well, the boat is big but not that comfortable at all.

We just find our seats at the boat. Thank God I have packed light during this trip. After 20 minutes, the journey started. Well, the 2-hour journey is fairly enjoyable since there are wavy parts and you can be wet with the splash of the waves at some point. The view is just awesome. I loved the water too.

After a very wonderful journey at the sea, we arrived at Guijalo Port in Caramoan Islands. The boat did not dock. It actually stopped over another boat. We will pass by a series of boats and a very challenging plank before arriving at the main port. Its like First Challenge of SURVIVOR Series.

CARAMOAN ISLANDS is located at the lower eastern part of Camarines Sur in the Bicol Region. Because its isolated from the rest of CamSur, the island remained unexploited from commercial tourism. The island is home of lush forests, limestone formations, caves, crystal clear waters and a rich marine life. It became popular after SURVIVOR, a Reality TV show began filming their seasons here.

Going back to my trip – After Sabang Port, I chartered a motorcycle going to my hotel and paid P20.00 for the fare. Before we go out the Port, we have to pay P10 for the Environmental Fee of the island.

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I checked in at La Casa Roa Hostel which is located in their town proper which the center of the whole island. The hostel is located at Sirangan Street, Barangay Tawog in Caramoan. You may call them at (054) 472 7887It is just a block away from the main highway and is very much accessible to everything. The whole central district is actually small.

Google Reviews are right. I so loved La Casa Roa Hostel. Aside from its the most trusted accommodation in the island according the reviews, the hostel is actually a house before. I loved the interiors since they are very homey. Loved my room as well.  Amenities are good and staff is really friendly and accommodating.

After settling down, I started negotiating for my island tour in the afternoon with the locals around. again, there is no system of tourism here so you have to put an effort in asking everyone especially that the Town Proper has less tour operators. Much of the Operators are in Paniman Port area. Caramoan Islands is divided into two major group of islands – the Matukad and Manlawi Group of islands.

Matukad Islands include Busdak beach & cave, Matukad Beach, Lahos island, Minalagos Island & Cagbalinad beach. Fixed rate of Boat good for 6-8 pax is P1,500 for whole day boat rental. This is exclusive of food and entrance fees. This is the nearer route from the island.

Manlawi Islands include Sabitan-laya, Manlawi Sandbar, Cotivas Island & Bag-ing Beach. Fixed rate of Boat is at P2,500 good for 6-8 pax for a whole day rental exclusive of food and entrance fees. This is a farther group of islands.

During the negotiation with the locals on the packages, I found out that Coast Guard has not allowed travels within Matukad Islands due to strong winds and waves. The only island allowed is Manlawi Islands which is a father group of islands. I was a bit disappointed bu I don;t have any choice but too abide by the rules. After reviewing everything, I decided to cancel my afternoon’s trip and rescheduled it tomorrow morning at 6AM. I was able to book One (1) boat at P2,500 bound for Manlawi Islands with P400 additional for Lunch provision and P300 for back and fort pick-up and delivery via motorcycle. Oh well, at least I still have reason to go back to Caramoan for Matukad which is the most famous spot in the island. Forgot his name but the KUYA BOAT OPERATOR/GUIDE who entertained me can be contacted at 09196589491.

It was 2PM that I decided to roam around the quite and small town. I visited one of their most famous spot nearby – the St. Michael Archangel Parish.

This is Caramoan’s oldest church which is believed to be 300 years old already. This church was founded by the Franciscan Missionaries in 1619. From La Casa Roa Hostel, this is accessible via a 10-minute walk. Since there is no more other things to do nearby, I decided to enjoy the laid-back feeling of the place over a cup of coffee.

The town is relatively peaceful and locals are friendly. I know February is an off-peak season here so tourists are very scarce. Also, waves and winds are not generally friendly as well during this month. I decided to take an early dinner since I was informed that majority of the stores or mini restos here are closed by 6PM. There are no decent restos here aside from those in the hotel and the resort so be prepared to eat in roadside eatery or food house. Since my call time will be at 5:30AM tomorrow. I settled early that night to get some sleep.

February 16, 2017 (DAY 3)

Today is my only time to explore Caramoan so I woke up at 4:30AM to prepare everything. I already check-out at my hostel since I will be heading to the terminal right after my island tour at around 3PM. Part of my arrangement with my local tour operator is a pick-up from my hotel via a motorcycle or habal-habal. We head to Paniman Port. Our jump-off point for the Island hopping.

TRAVEL TIP: Paniman Port is more or less 20 minutes away from the town proper but this is the main jump-off point for Matukad and Manlawi Island Hopping. Several beach resorts are offering decent accommodations here too.

The boat for my Manlawi Tour is actually big. It can fit up to 6 pax. After settling with the tour guide, I and my 2 boatmen started the trip.

Well, the first 30-minutes of the travel is a bit wavy. I’m actually wet because of the splash of the waves. Boatmen said that the waves are calmer this day but as what I have experienced, it was never calm. But, it did not scared me at all. After that, the waves became friendly as we are entering the cove area. Minutes later, it became wavy again upon reaching our first stop: LAHUY ISLAND. Travel time from Paniman Port to Lahuy Island is 45 minutes.

Nothing special nor extraordinary here in Lahuy beach aside from the overrated fact that Nora Aunor filmed here. Sand is nice and water is okay. Its more of a small private resort with inconsistent rules. They are suppose to charge us with Entrance Fees but ended up paying nothing since they don;t have loose change for my bill. We headed directly to Cotivas Island. Travel time is approximately 20 minutes crossing another wavy route. Upon arriving at Cotivas Island, the real Caramoan adventure begins.

The island is amazing. Sand is powdery in nature. The water surrounding is crystal clear too. Plus, they have unique nipa huts as well. Place is ideal for lunch time too. I fell in love with the place. They also sell seafood here and of course my favorite, coconut! The fresh coconut is sold at P50.00 plus Entrance Fee of the place is P50 too.

After some wonderful time at Cotivas Island, we head to Manlawi Sand bar. Unfortunately, due to high tides and big waves that time, the sand bad is nowhere to be found. All I saw was just the Nipa Huts. I was a bit disappointed since the sand bar is really vast according to pictures online but hey, we are in the mercy of the waves and the tides.

We stayed for a while for some picture-taking moments and directly sailed to the main island in the tour set – the Sabitang-laya. My disappointments subsided when I saw this beautiful island. The place that really gave me the SURVIVOR FEELS. It was 30 minutes away from Manlawi Sand Bar. By the time we arrived, we settled for lunch while my 2 boatmen is fixing something in the boat. Literally, we are stranded in the island for sometime. Now, that’s a taste of SURVIVOR.

Yehey! My lunch was a feast. The P400 charge is worth it. I didn’t mind getting stuck in the island due to some repairs of our boat. The whole island is literally MINE! We were the only people there actually at that time we arrived. After lunch, I explored the whole island with such a long stretch of pristine and crystal clear water and very great powdery sand too.

Sabitang-laya is the MAIN AREA for all SURVIVOR Challenges. This is where usually all the games of the franchise are held. Area is usually closed for tourist during the filming of the challenges. Aside from being a SURVIVOR ISLAND, Sabitang-laya has great limestone formations too.

All the disappointments are worth it at this place though it is way better to experience Matukad Group of Islands too. At least, I still have reason to go back to Caramoan Island very soon. After an hour, we decided to go back to Paniman Port. We arrived there after 45 minutes. Just had a quick shower nearby and immediately took off the place for the Caramoan Bus Terminal. Since I did not catch up the 11AM last trip for the boat, I had to endure to long and winding journey via bus. Upon arriving, I catch the bus bound for CUBAO at around 3PM since it stops at Naga City. Travel time is 4-5 hours since the road in Caramoan is really small, dangerous and under construction. Yes you heard it right! CARAMOAN can be accessible by land too. At least I tried both means. Bus Fare is at P240. The LAND TRAVEL is tiring but comfortable since I can get some ZzzzZ along the way. I arrived at Naga City a 8:30PM. Spend the night at JoMckayl Apartment (same Room and Rate).

February 17, 2017 (DAY 4)

I decided to leave Naga City at exactly 6AM to catch my flight to Cebu via the Legazpi Airport. Thank God I made it on time for my flight despite the rain in Legazpi. Just a realization, I will definitely go back again to explore Caramoan and other islands nearby. CARAMOAN doesn’t deserve to be a side trip.

BUDGET BREAKDOWN (from Naga City)

  • BUS FARE from Legazpi City: (P140.00)
  • HOTEL at JoMckayl Apartment (1st Night): P500.00
  • Trike Fare from Bus to Apartment (Day 1): P40.00
  • Trike Fare from Apartment to Bus (Day 2): P10.00
  • Breakfast and Snacks at 7 Eleven (Day 2): P150.00
  • Bus Fare from Naga to San Jose (Day 2): P73.00
  • Jeep Fare from San Jose to Sabang Port (Day 2): P15.00
  • Boat Fee from Sabang Port – Guijalo Port (Day 2): P120.00
  • Environmental Fee in Caramoan (Day 2): P10.00
  • Motorcycle Ride from Caramoan Port – Hotel (Day 2): P10.00
  • La Casa Roa Hostel (Overnight; Day 2): P900.00
  • Snacks in Caramoan (Day 2): P100.00
  • Dinner in Caramoan (Day 2): P110.00
  • MANLAWI ISLAND TOUR SET (Day 3) Boat Fee: P2,500.00
  • Lunch Fee package from the Guide (Day 3): P400.00
  • Motorcycle Pick-up from Hotel and Delivery at Bus terminal after (Day 3): P300.00
  • Snacks at the Bus Terminal (Day 3): P100.00
  • Bus Fare from Caramoan – Naga (Day 3): P240.00
  • Trike Fare from Naga Bus terminal to Hotel (Day 3): P40.00
  • Overnight at JoMcKayl Apartment (Day 3): P500.00
  • Trike fare  from Hotel to Naga Bus (Day 4): P10.00
  • Breakfast and Snacks (Day 4): P150.00
  • Bus Fare from Naga to Legazpi City (Day 4): P180.00
  • Trike Fare from Legazpi City Proper to Airport (Day 4): P50.00
  • Terminal Fee at Legazpi City Airport (Day 4): P150.00

GRAND TOTAL: PHP 6,798.00

#MCTravels

Making the most out of my two-day Solo Travel journey in Albay Province

Travel Date: February 13 – 17, 2017 (1st Blog: Albay & 2nd Blog Caramoan Islands)

NOTES: This is a one-week journey to Albay Province with side trip to Caramoan Islands within 5 days. The Caramoan Islands will be featured on the next blog article.

Point of Origin: Davao-Cebu-Manila-Legazpi and vice versa.

Number of Pax: One (1): Solo Travel

SUMMARY OF ITINERARY: 

  • Day 1: Arrival in Legazpi City (8PM)
  • Day 2: Legazpi City Day Tour (Travel to Naga at 5PM onwards); Arrival in Naga at night

On my next Travel Blog:  

  • Day 3: From Naga City (7AM), travel to San Jose and Caramoan Islands, Town Tour
  • Day 4: Whole Day Island Tour to CARAMOAN Islands (Manlawi Group of Islands); travel  back to Naga at 4PM -onwards , Overnight at Naga
  • Day 5: From Naga (6AM), travel back to Legazpi to catch up my CEBU Flight.

It has been part of my bucket list to visit ALBAY Region specifically Legazpi City. Legazpi City can be both accessible by land from Manila or anywhere in Luzon and by air as well. My journey started with a series of connecting flights from Davao City. In just one day, I was in 3 cities and rode 3 airplanes just to get to Legazpi City at around 8PM on February 13th. Upon arrival at the airport, the main affordable transportation available is a Tricycle which will cost you P50.00. Since I find the tricycle driver very friendly, I also got the chance to hire him for a Day tour. After negotiations, I got Manong Driver at P600.00 which includes pick-up from my Mt. Mayon ATV Drop-off point, Cagsawa Ruins, Daraga Church, Lignon Hill, Embarcador de Legazpi and Legazpi City Bus Terminal since I will be off to Naga City afterwards.

Being a budget traveler since Solo Travels can be generally expensive, I settled at DREAMS INN AND CAFE located at F. Imperial St, Barangay Capantawan in Legazpi City. The Inn is very accessible and close to major malls in the city which is somehow a very strategic location.

Being a local Google Reviewer (LOCAL GUIDES), I was actually warned with Dreams Inn and Cafe. But for the sake of enduring only one night in this budget-friendly accommodation, I think it wouldn’t hurt a lot. The reviews are true. I got my Single Room (with Aircon, TV 7 CR) for only P500.00 Since I made reservations ahead and via the phone, I was required for a full payment. In all fairness, I had a smooth check-in since I brought with me the Deposit slip already. Well, the attendant is really not so friendly. The room and the whole hotel is a bit old too. Somehow, it is just right for the price. Nevertheless, its just ONE NIGHT Mike! Well, before sleeping, I booked my Mayon ATV Tour via the most reliable agency in town – Your Brother Travel & Tours. They can be reached via their website HERE. I contacted them via text and I am glad that I still got a reply from them confirming my booking for tomorrow.

Day 2: (February 14, 2017)

I took my breakfast from a nearby Jollibee a few steps away from Dreams Inn and Cafe. Call-time for my Mt. Mayon ATV Tour is at 8AM. The good thing about Your Brother and Travel & Tours is that all their Packages include Hotel Pick-up and Drop Off. The driver picked me up and brought me to their Orientation area which is 10 minutes away from my hotel.

I didn’t have any regrets in booking with Your Brother Travel & Tours since their service is really great and their equipment are really new and very trust-worthy. I commend their staff and crew as well. Here are there updated RATES as of February 2017 (Rates may change without prior notice):

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In as much as I wanted to go on budget, I still went for the MAYON TO LAVA FRONT TRAIL which cost me P1,800 aboard a 150 CC Single Rider ATV. The whole trip will consume 2-3 hours to and from the base camp. Before the actual ATV ride, you will be undergoing a beginner’s course within the camp. The good thing is that the ATV is very easy to use and ride with. After completing the warm-up course, we started the trail to the Lava Front.

The ATV trail is roughly an hour. Generally, the trail is friendly though some parts are really a challenge especially those with big rocks along the way. The Trail going to the Lava Font don’t have rivers or water yet. After an hour, we arrived at the Lava Font Area. We parked our ATV here and paid additional P50.00 for the Entrance Fee and Guide. The fee is not included in the ATV Package.

After resting for a while, we started our trek to the famous Lava Font that will give us a wonderful view of Mount Mayon and the amazing Lava Rock formations which was formed after the previous eruption of the volcano. The trail will take us 10-15 minutes until the top. Climbing up is a bit of a challenge since the rocks are sharp and some are very steep as well.

I was amazed by the Lava formation in the area. It was so great to finally see Mt. Mayon in flesh too. By the way, the Lava Font also has a Helipad which was donated by Misibis Bay. That time, Mt. Mayon was a little bit shy.

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Aside from a breath-taking view of Mayon Volcano and the Lava Front, the area offers a wonderful and panoramic view of the whole Legazpi City as well. After some sight-seeing and mandatory picture-taking activities, we went down the Lava Front and prepared for our ATV Trail back to base.

The ATV Trail going back to camp is much exciting since it gave us the chance to finally have a beautiful picture. Also, we passed by rivers which is the most exciting part of the whole trail.

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Check out my my edited Video BLOG for my Mt. Mayon ATV and Lava Front Experience at this LINK. Feel free to subscribe at my Youtube Channel HERE.

After a safe trip back to base, Manong Tricycle Driver (which I chartered yesterday) met me at the outside of the camp. We strated our Tricycle Diaries in ALBAY at around 10AM. Our first stop, DARAGA CHURCH in Daraga, Albay.

DARAGA CHURCH is more or less 20-30 minutes away from the Mt. Mayon ATV Camp of Your Brother Travel & Tours. Its actually outside of Legazpi City already. The church is located uphill and is also one of the best place to take a great view of Mount Mayon. Since my tricycle cant survive uphill, I had to take a walk while going up. Well, its just a short walk so it won’t hurt so much. Built in 1774, the church became the temporary shelter of the locals during the 1814 eruption. Its an old Spanish Colonial church which is also known as the Church of Nuestra Senora de la Porteria. Our next stop, CAGSAWA RUINS.

Cagsawa Ruins is still located in Daraga, Albay. The place is where you could find the remains of a 17th century church built by the Franciscans. Cagsawa ruins has withstood the test of time and became one of the most recognizable landmarks of Albay Province and the most visited tourist spots as well in the area. The place has been declared a NATIONAL CULTURAL TREASURE in 2015. Entrance Fee in the area is P15.00.

Finally, I was able to set foot here. Despite Mt. Mayon being shy, I still enjoyed the whole place. Before we leave the place, I was drawn and curious to try their CHILI ICE CREAM. The Ice Cream costs P50.00. Upon Tasting it, its actually refreshing as an ice cream but the after taste was pure chili. Its was weird-tasting actually but for the sake of the experience, this CHILI ICE CREAM is a must-try.

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After Cagsawa Ruins, we decided to have our lunch with the tricycle driver. Since I am not a fan of very spicy foods, I told the driver to find the nearest eatery with Bicol delicacies. We stopped by a certain carenderia near the highway. So glad to have spent P250.00 for lunch together with Manong Driver. This includes 3 cups of rice and 1 Liter of Soft drink.

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Our next stop is LIGNON HILL in Legazpi City. This is a 156-meter high hill in the city that is now converted as Legazpi’s top adventure destination. Entrance Fee is at P20.00. After paying, I have to endure an uphill walk towards the top.

In as much as I wanted to finish walking until the top, but the heat is killing me. Also, I am pressed for time since I wanted to catch an earlier Bus schedule to NAGA City on the same day since I will be having my side trip to Caramoan Islands (Up Next on my Blog). After Lignon Hill, my last stop was EMBARCADERO DE LEGAZPI which is the famous boulevard in the City.

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It was truly a perfect spot to end my quick tour of ALBAY for today. I ended my tour here. I advised my tricycle driver to drop me off LEGAZPI CITY BUS TERMINAL  since I will be travelling to Naga City within the day. Arrived at the bus terminal at 5PM and left Legazpi via bus at around 5:30PM. There are several bus lines offering trips to Naga. Mine cost me P180.00 via an aircon bus liner. Travel time is 2 hours.

My Caramoan Island Trip (from Naga City) will be published on a separate article.

Meanwhile, here’s my breakdown of expenses for the whole trip. (This excludes Airfare and Airport expenses in Davao, Cebu & Manila), Duration: February 13 – 14, 2017

  • Tricycle from Legazpi Airport to Hotel: P50.00
  • Hotel (Overnight in Legazpi) at Dreams Inn and Cafe: P500.00
  • Breakfast on February 14th (Jollibee): P150.00
  • Snacks and Water for the day trip: P150.00
  • Mt. Mayon ATV Trail (Mayon & Lava Front): P1,800.00 (Your Brother Travel & Tours)
  • Tricycle Rental (10AM-5PM, chartered): P600.00
  • Entrance Fee in Cagsawa Ruins: P20.00
  • Chili Ice Cream in Cagsawa Ruins: P50.00
  • Lunch in an eatery: P250.00
  • Lignon Hill Entrance Fee: P20.00
    GRAND TOTAL: P3,590.00

Legazpi City and Albay Province is truly a wonderful place to visit. I will be back here next time to fully enjoy all other places the Province has to offer.

Watch out for the continuation of this travel blog as I embark my quick journey as well to Caramoan Islands from Naga City.

#MCTravels

Falling in love all over again for Coron Island

Point of Origin: Davao-Manila-Busuanga and VV (Via Air)

Travel Dates: February 3 – 7, 2017

Quoted for 9 PAX from February 3 – 6, 2017 & 3 PAX for February 6 – 7, 2017.

Basically, all ATR flights are situated in NAIA Terminal 4. That applies for Cebu Pacific which is our official plane to and from Manila to Busuanga (Coron). The key is always to watch out for Promo Fares as Coron flights can really go up high sometimes.

Coron Island is a wedge-shaped limestone island in the Palawan Province which has several lakes, beautiful beaches, natural coral reef gardens, amazing limestone formations and even shipwrecks from World War II. Coron is the largest town on the island. The municipality covers part of Busuanga Island and all of the nearby Coron Island. Both islands are part of the Calamian Group of Islands in northern Palawan. Approximately, Coron is 1.5 hours away from Manila via air. Visit CEBU PACIFIC, PAL, AIR ASIA & SKYJET Websites for list of available flights.

DAY 1

We arrived in Coron, Palawan on February 3, 2017, at around 3PM. Since we are 9 pax in the group, it is better that we arranged Van Pick-up from our Official Hotel in the island – Palanca Guest House. Visit their website HERE. The hotel is located at Don Pedro Street and is very much accessible to the town. Its near the Jump-off Port of all tours in the island and very near to the Coron Bay walk if you want some street foods hopping and sunset viewing.

Back to our hotel, it was actually a great find. Google Reviews were right. Being a Local Google Reviewer too, I trust reviews on this site. Everything went smooth from inquiry, reservation, payment of advance fee down to the airport pick-up and on-ground reception. Yes, all hotels in Coron requires down payment. Here’s the breakdown of our Hotel Expenses quoted for 9 pax:

For 3 nights and 4 days (FEB. 3 to 6)
P 8,100 Family Room (5 pax)
P 3,600 Standard Room (2 pax)
P 3,600 Standard Room (2 pax)
For 1 night and 2 days (FEB. 6 to 7)
***6 of our friends went home already.
P 1,800 De Luxe Room (3 pax)
Others:
P 2,700 Round Trip Airport Transfer (P150/head per way)
Exclusion: All Meals (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner for the whole duration). Palanca Guest House offers Breakfast Set at P100 inclusive of Coffee or Juice.
GRAND TOTAL: P 19,800.00 (Palanca Guest House requires 10% Down payment prior final confirmation of the booking. You may settle it via BPI. For details, just contact the following numbers: 0917-500-5367/0908-821-6881/0939-9230171
Rooms are good. Amenities are great too. Staff is friendly as well. Check out my Review on them at GOOGLE. I just loved the proximity of the hotel to the Town proper. Anyways, we did not get in advance tours from the internet. We were advised by 2nd timers in our group to customize and look for private boat owners to save cost and control our own time in the tourist spots. We found FRANK, a tricycle driver, who as a contact of a private boatman. Frank is part of the boat;s crew too. (His number: 09287558248) After settling everything, we called it a DAY.
DAY 2 (February 4, 2017)
We started the beautiful day with a quick visit at Mt. Tapyas is 210 meters above sea level and is the 2nd highest mountain in Coron. It has a white cross at its tip making it easy to recognize from afar. It has approximately 720+ steps and roughly it will take you 20-30 minutes to climb this via stairs. Mt. Tapyas is the place that will give you a breathtaking and wonderful panoramic view of Coron Island. It is best visited during sunrise and sunset.
Aside from that, Mt. Tapyas is even lovelier on the other side.

Our Meeting time with our Private Boat Ride is at 8:30AM in the Coron Port. Since its customized, we will cover the following expenses:

  • BOAT Rental for Long Trip (Coron Island Escapade: Bulog, Banana & Malcapuya Island) = P5,500.00 (FOR DAY 1)
  • FOOD/RICE Expenses, Drinks & Light Snacks (for Lunch of 9 pax): P2,500.00 (We will personally shop at the market as early as 6AM that same day. The boatmen will accompany you in the market so you can know how the negotiation works). The budget also includes condiments and charcoal for cooking. The charge for cooking is already included the boat package.
  • ENTRANCE FEES to the 3 Beaches (for 9 pax): P150/each for Bulog & P200/each for Banana & Malcapuya) = P500 x 9 pax = P4,500.00
  • EXCLUDED: Use of Snorkeling Gears: P150/day

Our first stop is BULOG ISLAND. It is approximately 2 hours way from Coron Proper and the ride is a bit wavy since you will be crossing the Open sea portion. Nevertheless, our rented boat is big enough so its not that scary. During the duration of the trip, the boatmen started to grill our lunch and prepare our food too.

Upon arrival to Bulog Island, we were welcome with lovely and crystal water beach and wonderful sand-bar. BULOG island just formally welcomed us in the beautiful island in Coron. Possible activities in the island are mostly swimming and picture-taking only.

Entrance Fee in Bulog is at P150/each. Right after our beautiful dip with Bulog island, we head to Banana Island which is just 5 minutes away for our LUNCH. Banana Island is more of a stop over for Lunch but still offers a great view of Coron. Though, I didn’t like their sand that much. Entrance Fee is P200/head. We also settled our Bulog Entrance Fee here.  The Entrance Fee is already inclusive of all cottages available in the island.

Our favorite time of the day – LUNCH! The beauty of customizing your own trip is that you can include all your cravings. GAAAHHH! This is heaven.

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I can settle with this kind of view everyday…

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Swimming is also the main activity here in the island. After some lunch and beach time in Banana Beach, we head to the last destination of our Coron Island Escapade Tourc- the Malcapuya Island. Its 15 minutes away from Banana and Entrance Fee is P200.00. You can also try Snorkeling here via holding in the pump boat or enjoy the island’s amazing seashore. The best among the 3 islands so far.

You can also enjoy Fresh Buko juice here in the island for P50.00.

It was a great Day 1 of our Coron Escapade. We ended our day tour at around 6 PM. We went home tired yet very rewarding. It was such a pleasure to finally set foot in this beautiful island.

Day 3 (February 5, 2017)

On the same boatmen, we availed the CORON ISLAND ESCAPADE Tour which includes Siete Pecados, Kayangan Lake, Atuwayan Beach, Skeleton Wreck, Coral Reef Garden & Twin Lagoon. This is the nearest set of tours for Coron and the most popular as this set of tours contain the tourist spots that made Coron famous not only in the Philippines but worldwide as well.

For Day 2, we have the following expenses:

  • P3,500.00 (Boat Rental for the Coron Island Escapade Tour Set, inclusive of cooking our lunch and preparing our snacks)
  • P2,500.00 (Budget for food and snacks) Same routine as yesterday. Our boatmen will assist us in the market.
  • Entrance Fees (Quoted each pax): Siete Pecados (P100), Kayangan Lake (P300), Atuwayan Beach (P100), Skeleton Wreck (P100), Coral Reef Garden (P100) & Twin Lagoon (P200). Grand Total of: P8,100.00 (for 9 pax).

Since Day 2 is mostly Snorkeling and Swimming, it is advisable to bring or rent our Snorkeling gears and goggles for this.

First stop, Siete Pecados. Main Acticity here is Snorkeling. Hmm. So many dead corals here but it still offers a good view. Entrance Fee here is at P100.

Second stop is Kayangan Lake which is one of the Top 2 most famous tourist spots in Coron, Island after Twin Lagoon. This spot is 10-15 minutes away from Siete Pecados.

Kayangan Lake can be reached via a tiring trek. You have to survived a steep portions of ricks while going up. Some steps are also slippery. Half-way through the Lake is the famous viewing deck for such a very wonderful view of the place. The viewing deck also has a cave. Entrance Fee is P300.00 It is the most expensive spot in the island based on its Entrance Fee. But hey, every penny is worth-it.

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I fell in love in the water of Kayangan Lake. The place is just magical. Its like one of the cleanest public lake available for swimming. They have a bamboo raft too. You can also try snorkeling the are and if you are brave enough, go explore some of its caves surrounding the lake. One of top favorite spot in the island indeed.

Our Third stop is our most favorite – LUNCH TIME! We head to Atuwayan Beach which is 10-15 minutes away from Kayangan Lake. Aside from its a stop over for lunch only, there is noting special here. They have a nice beach and shore though.

Well, the beauty of customizing your own trip still means a very abundant lunch. On Day 2, we had more fishes on the menu. After an hour, we headed straight to Twin Lagoon.

Twin Lagoon is another 10-15-minute ride from Atuwayan Beach. Entrance Fee is at P200. Upon arriving at the area, we immediately fell in love with crystal clear water and very nice rock formations. Swimming is the primary activity here and if you are brave enough to pass through a cave to get to the other side of the lake, this place is for you.

Entrance Fee is at P200.00 The water in Twin Lagoon is a mixture of cold and hot water. Its actually uneven at most parts. When on your snorkeling gears, you can see below that the water is so deep. Others who are skilled and brave enough, they pass through the other side of the lake by holding their breath and swimming under a pile of rock. Some tourists endure the stairs which is actually hard to climb too.

After a very wonderful Twin Lagoon experience, we went to the Shipwreck Coral Garden. I am a bit disappointed in this area because the shipwreck is not so clear. Thanks to these friendly fished who made our stay in the area, worth-while. Entrance Fee is at P100.00

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Our last stop was the Coral Reef Garden which somehow saved us from our disappointment with the previous coral garden we have visited. Entrance Fee here is P100.00 At least, we saw some good corals. This is better compared with the corals of Siete Pecados.

And that ends our Day 2 of our Coron Island Escapade. We had so much fun. It was so rewarding and the memories we’ve built this day were priceless. I even fall in love more with Coron after Day 2.

Day 3 (February 6, 2017)

Since 6 of our companions are scheduled to fly out this day, only 3 of us are left to continue the Coron Tour. Due to limited number, we decided to join a mixed tour. This time, we chose the Tour which includes: East Tangat Wreck, Pass Island, Lusong Gun Boat & Lusong Reef Garden. We booked under JY Travel and Tours at a Package Rate of P1,200 per head inclusive of Lunch and all applicable Entrance Fees. Since this is mostly water activities in nature, we have rented out snorkeling gears for our Day 3 Tour. Well, there are so many tour operators in the island and all prices are regulated by the Government so you won;t have a hard time finding one.

Our tour started at exactly 9AM. First stop is the East Tangat Wreck which is an hour away from Coron City Proper.

It is just so amazing to finally see a sunken Japanese Warship for the very first time. At least, a clearer view compared with our Day 2 Tour. This area is also ideal for Scuba Diving. After 30 minutes, we moved with our next destination and our lunch stop-over, the Pass Island.

Pass Island is another 1-hour journey from East Tangat Ship Wreck. Upon arriving from the island, we fell in love with the place. The 2-hour travel is worth it. Seashore is nice and water is very clean. I loved also the Lunch area. Aside from enjoying the beautiful island, they also have a nice coral reef garden which I enjoyed so much.

After some wonderful time in the island, we head to Lusong Gun Boat. Its another shipwreck in Coron Island.

The Lusong Gun Boat is the best shipwreck spot I have seen in the island. Aside from its very clear and near view from above, the Boat is beautifully surrounded with corals and variety of fishes. A few meters away is the Lusong Coral Reef Garden.

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The Lusong Coral Reef Garden is the best Reef Garden I have visited in Coron. The view below is just amazing. Awesome Creation of God indeed.

We ended the Day 3 Tour with happy hearts. It was tiring but it was priceless. I never imagined to be at awe most of the time we visit one place to another. Truly, CORON has captured my heart.

OVERALL RATING FOR CORON: 10/10 Stars (Worth-coming back many times)

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The island is truly best traveled with a crazy bunch. Thank you guys for such a wonderful and memorable time with you!

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It may be long but hope you find my blog worth-reading. Keep on sharing guys. Gracias!

#MCTravels

The Island Fortress of Corregidor

 

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POINT OF ORIGIN: Manila, Philippines

DATE: January 29, 2017

CORREGIDOR ISLAND is long before in my bucket list here in the Philippines. When I  and my best friend booked our Miss Universe 2017 tickets, we thought of making this island as our side trip since I have one whole day to spare in Manila. This was one of the best decisions we have made.

Corregidor Island is part of the Province of Cavite and is situated 48 kilometers West of Manila Bay. This tadpole-shape island fortress stands a living proof of the heroism and courage of all Filipino-American soldiers who defended the Philippines from the Japanese invaders during World War II.

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PICTURE SOURCE

After some thorough research of the place, we stumbled upon Sun Cruises Philippines Website. (Visit their website HERE). Sun Cruises Incorporated (SCI) is the only trusted Tour operator for Corregidor Island. They provide Tours, Ferry Services and Hotels in Corregidor island itself. Monopolized as it may sound but all tours in the island must be guided and regulated. Upon browsing their website, we decided to take the Island Day Tour with Buffet Lunch.

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You can visit their website HERE for more details. The rates published are as of 2016. We paid P2,550.00 and settled it ahead via Credit Card and through their Website. The good thing is that the package includes Buffet Lunch already. After payment, Reference Number and Special instructions will be sent to you.

Jump-off point for the Sun Cruises Inc. Terminal is located at the Mall of Asia Esplanade Seaside Terminal Pasay City. We arrived there before 7AM as advised.

Upon arriving at the Terminal, just look for the Corregidor Island Section and fall in line. Present your ticket or receipt along with your Valid ID. Once settled, pay the Terminal Fee of P30.00 prior going to the gate. You will issued with stickers. Your Bus number is indicated in your sticker.

I must say that I am impressed with the service of Sun Cruises Inc. from ticketing down to the Ferry ride itself which is still under the same company – Magsaysay Shipping Lines. The Ferry is comfortable. Seat is a bit small but I had a good ride. Travel time from Manila Bay to the island is approximately 1 hour & 20 minutes. You can somehow feel the waves especially when approaching Corregidor. Upon arrival at the island, you must head directly to your assigned tram buses stated on your respective stickers. Each tram bus has one assigned Tour guide.

I must say that I am impressed. Loved how organized our tour is especially riding this classy tram buses with well-trained tourist guides who acted as story-tellers too during the whole trip. I was just amazed to rediscover Philippine history with our Day tour. It feels so surreal. From history books to reality feels.

The island is also know “The Rock”. It became the headquarters of the Allied Forces and also the seat of the Philippine Commonwealth Government under President Manuel Quezon. During the Japanese Invasion on December 9141, the military force under General Douglas MacArthur carried out a delaying action at Bataan. In 1942, MacArthur went to Australia and left Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainright in command. On this day, the famous MacArthur line ” I shall return” was popularized and became part of history. The Filipinos Heroes Memorial is the site that commemorates the valor and heroism of all Filipinos who fought for their lives to secure both Corregidor Island and Manila.

The fall of Bataan on April 9, 1942 did not stop General MacArthur and his Allied Forces to reclaim Corregidor in March 1945.  From then on, the big guns in the island and the ruins of buildings and structures devastated by years of war and violence stood by as a testament of heroism and courage that has claimed so many lives.

One of the major spot in the island is the Malinta Tunnel experience. This is not included in the package so we have to pay additional P200.00 to get inside. The construction of the tunnel took about 10 years. It was completed in 1932. The 835 feet long East-West passage served as the main tunnel which is 24 feet wide and the height at the top of its arch is 18 feet. The tunnel had been dug through solid rock and offered complete protection from artillery or air attack. Command communications and medical units were located there. Gen. MacArthur set up the headquarters inside the tunnel where men and women would live and work during the siege of Corregidor. The Malina Tunnel Experience is a 30-minute walk-in tour inside with several stops for videos narrating the background of the tunnel. It is written and directed by National Artist, Lamberto V. Avellana.

Corregidor Island is truly a historic place for the Philippines and even the Americans as well. Aside from ruins and guns, the island also house the Pacific War Memorial Museum in honor of the Filipino-American soldiers who served during the Pacific War in World War II. This was funded by the American Congress and showcases war artifacts and relics.

I am really impressed with Corregidor Island. Aside from its rich cultural background, the place is really well-maintained and preserved over the years. No doubt they wanted to monopolized everything for the spots to be regulated. What I love about the island is its reforestation projects. It feels like you are not in the Philippines at times. The tour was even made more exciting with our bubbly tour guide (Shocks forgot his name). The lunch was also good though I haven’t took picture since I am so hungry at the moment. After the trip, I must say that Sun Cruises Inc. exceeded my expectations in terms of service. The island is worth coming back.

***Hope you find my blog worth-reading. For more features, like MC on Facebook.

#MCTravels

Kipilas Falls in Kitaotao, Bukidnon (Side trips: BEMWA Farm & Seagull)

Date: January 15, 2017

Location: Kipilas Falls, Barangay Kipilas, Kitaotao, Bukidnon

Jump-off Point/Time: Davao City (4AM)

Number of Pax: 5

Mode of Transpo: Private Car

SIDE TRIPS

We started our road trip in BUDA (also known as Bukidnon-Davao Highway) with a breath-taking view of this sea of clouds. Yes, you need to wake up early and start your trip for you to catch these lovely view. From Davao and via a private car, it will take you more or less an hour to reach this area. Well, fogs might be your buddy so it is better to slow down when necessary.

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What a wonderful way to start the day with this majestic view.

BEMWA Farm

BEMWA Farm is more or less 1 to 1.5 hours from Davao City. Well this place is home of the famed strawberries and some says its the Baguio City of Mindanao. The only marker for this farm is that this the way going to the Hillsview Mountain Villa. Just look for the signage on your right when you are coming from Davao City. From the highway, the farm is approximately 2kms. The road going to BEMWA is fine.

The main crops in the farm are Lettuce & Strawberries. In fact, this farm supplies Davao’s major Hotels & restaurants with fresh lettuces everyday. The farm also has a store that sells organic juice, lettuce, chocolates & strawberry jam at a reasonable price. Literally, farm to table goodness and freshness.

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Panoramic View of BEMWA Farm with Strawberries and Lettuce as their main crops.

Unfortunately, the farm has become strict especially on the strawberry picking as the tourists became abusive of this activity. Some of the farm’s nicest spots were also closed down particularly the one with bigger strawberries. Basically, we are left with the majestic view of the farm and a breath of fresh air. The strawberry farm as seen on the panoramic view has smaller berries so it is not that visible. Also, weather condition (especially El Nino) and peak season orders may affect strawberries production too.

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Thanks to my Travel-inspired Tote Bag from my Special Collection under Monograf Apparel. Get yours now for only P199.00. For orders, like and PM http://www.facebook.com/mcfeatures

Nevertheless, we still enjoyed the place. I love the cool breeze and the tranquility that the place has to offer. By the way, the place doesn’t charge any Entrance Fees so at least be courteous to the farmers, be mindful of your trash and be gentle on the crops especially while taking pictures.

Seagull Mountain Resort

Right after BEMWA Farm, we immediately went to another famous place in BUDA – the Seagull Mountain Resort. It is just 10-15 minutes away from BEMWA Farm and can be easily identified as well on the road. Always look at the left side if you are coming from BEMWA or Davao City. Oh well, the reason why we went here is to finally taste their Suman and Tsokolate which has received hype on social media already. Also we had our breakfast already along the road so we didn’t bother ordering at their pricey menu.

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Suman & Tsokolate at P65.00

The hype was true. This is indeed delicious and affordable as well. I loved the crispy toppings. This is just perfect for the cool ambiance of the place. You can also grab some eats here. We did not enter the resort anymore so we don’t have any idea what’s inside the resort.

KIPILAS FALLS ESCAPADE

Just when we thought this lovely day would end with just sight-seeing activities, we decided to go straight Kipilas Falls since we thought it would be an epic adventure to try this underrated Falls which is generally not yet discovered.

Kipilas Falls is located in Barangay Kipilas, Kitaotao, Bukidnon. KITAOTAO is the first class Municipality in Bukidnon Province. Please see MAP below for your reference.

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PICTURE SOURCE

It may sound far since its located in Bukidnon Province already but KITAOTAO is the first Municipality you will encounter upon entering Bukidnon if you are coming from Davao City. Approximately, the Municipality of Kitaotao is 1.5-2kms away from the Bukidnon Checkpoint & Quarantine Area and is 15-25 minutes away from Seagull Mountain Resort in BUDA.

To locate the Jump-off point of Kipilas Falls, the marker will be after the first bridge you will pass by after the Checkpoint & Quarantine Area. Just look at your right side and spot this Food Hall below:

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Your marker for the Kipilas Falls Jump-off Point (The Barangay Food Hall in Kitaotao)

Turn right on this area and just find any locals there in the place. In our case, we went to a nearby Sari-sari store to inquire on how to go to the falls. Since the place is not yet fully discovered, you will find yourself talking to everyone else to gather information. In short, there is no system yet in place for visitors. Upon checking with the locals, we found out that the only way to reach Kipilas Falls is to ride a Skylab (aka a motorcycle) and register on-site at the Barangay Kipilas through the Barangay Captain’s house.

We asked for adventure and here it begins:

SKYLAB is a local term that refers to a motorcycle with Two (2) wood planks on each side. This is the primary means of transportation of crops from the highlands going to the town proper. Ideally, this ride is designed to withstand very rough and thin roads especially those hard-to-reach areas. And guess what, this is the ONLY means how to get there. With the help of a local who also lend his house for Parking space of our car, he contracted Two (2) Skylabs for us. The rate given was P80.00 per pax (vice versa) with waiting time but we ended giving P100 instead since they waited a little bit longer. Travel time from Jump-off Point to Barangay Kipilas is 1 hour. We were warned that it would be a very bumpy road. We started off at around 10AM.

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Pre-Skylab Photo Opp

TIPS: You may want to bring more food and water prior the Skylab journey. Good thing they have Sari-sari stores around. We bought lots of chocolates and breads.

And so, the skylab journey begins…

A short video clip in Facebook of this Skylab journey can be found HERE.

Just when you thought it was going to be easy. Well, unfortunately its not. Aside from enduring the bumpiest road trip of my life, the skylab will require you to balance yourselves in the wood planks while holding on to a dear rope for nearly an hour under the heat of the sun. I had rope burns in my hands and we stumbled for 3 times and had some minor cuts along the way. If you seek for adventure, this is your first dosage of it.

After an hour of this very tiring ride, we finally reached Barangay Kipilas Proper. We immediately head to the Barangay Captain’s house (I forgot her name) and register ourselves. Entrance Fee which serve as Environmental Fee as well is worth P20.00 per person. The locals including the Kapitana were warm and accommodating.

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Barangay Kipilas Plaza
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Barangay Captain’s house (Left side of the plaza) when you arrive

Since system is not yet in place for visitors of Kipilas Falls, there were no accredited guides in the area. The Kapitana only appointed a male local resident for or us. They also told us that the Kipilas Falls is just a 15-minute walk from their plaza. (Oh Gaaaah!). Without proper briefing and even just a hint of warning, we immediately began the trek.

The first part of the trek was generally peaceful. It was somehow a good phase to start considering that we are not experienced trekkers or climbers at all in the group.

The next part of the trek was bit of challenging since its an uphill. But then again, we still managed to survive it. The next trek was I think the beginning of the DEADLY PART!

Just when we survived the first uphill, we are now heading to the downhill trek where the local guide told us that we are near. Yes, we suppose that we are near since as we went down further, we could already hear the gushing water of Kipilas Falls.

My first major climb was in Lake Holon in South Cotabato way back 2 years ago and I must say that the Kipilas Falls downhill trek was the most challenging and even deadly by far compared with the latter. Why Challenging? It requires much effort going down through branches of trees and bamboo shoots on top of the areas which are mostly clay and mud. Why deadly? It is truly a risky trek especially if your shoes are not fit for climbing and your body is not conditioned well. Aside from that, the place has no strong alleys to hold on too when going down compared with Lake Holon which is a  very organized place already. Lake Holon has man-made alleys and poles too. For Kipilas Falls, you could only grasp a few bamboo poles (many of them are weak and soft) and rely with your balance and body weight. At some point of the trek, I just lay down my butt and slide myself down with mud to be safe. It was very challenging for us. It took as an hour to go down since we are catching our breaths too between stops.

The most challenging part of the downhill trek is this wooden ladder above that is somehow not built well. This is the last major hurdle we are to conquer as we finally reach the falls. The ladder was shaky when I went down and it is approximately 15-20 ft in height. Gaaah! This ladder is scary as hell.

FACT: As per our local guide, the original trek of Kipilas Falls is very easy until a recent landslide destroyed it. Also, the trek is not advisable on rainy days as it is very slippery.

After an hour of grueling trek and climb, we finally reached KIPILAS FALLS! And the near-death climb (that goes for me) is just freakin’ WORTH IT!!! Yahooo!

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The Majestic Kipilas Falls in Kitaotao, Bukidnon is truly the region’s undiscovered Treasure.
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I just can’t believe I made it. Not bad for an inexperienced climber. Yahoo!

The Waterfalls is just majestic. The water coming from it very clear though the water below is brownish. I am not familiar with height of the Falls but its one the best I have seen so far after Tumalog Falls in Cebu, the one in Camiguin, the 7 Falls in Lake Sebu among others.

If you don’t plan on getting wet, you will still be somehow since you will be passing by the area where the mist and drizzles of the falls welcome you gently.

Also, what is essential for inexperienced climbers or trekkers are the gears. Though I am not that fully geared-up and dressed-up, I did brought with me essentials like water, chocolate bars, biscuits, water-protection bag (floating), sunblock, extra garments, power banks and aqua shoes. I am thankful I wore my Merrell shoes that day. This brand is just fit for rough climbs and grips on terrains.

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Shoes by Merrel, Aqua Shoes by Reeva, Water-protection Bag, Go Pro Hero 4 & Travel-inspired Tote Bags by MC & Monograf Apparel (More tote bag designs at http://www.facebook.com/mcfeatures)

After some nature-feel moments, we decided to leave Kipilas Falls. Since we thought that the uphill climb on the same trek we took will give us a much harder time (considering loose bamboo poles and lack of safe grips & alleys), we asked our guide to take us to the alternative route which is a bit farther but would spare us from the uphill dangers.

The alternative route has somehow spared us from steep uphill climbs but it did not spare us from danger as well. The route we took will require us to traverse the long and winding river, survive boulders & big & slippery rocks & even climb at them. Yes, we climbed big rocks. Arrrrgh! This was even more challenging and deadly than the first one.

The most challenging part is surviving a pile of rocks with algae and rocks with flowing water. Got several cuts and bruises but thank God I am generally safe. The biggest photo above was the hardest part of the trail. This was the spot where I fell. I got a 5 swollen wounds after this fall. ARGHH!

After surviving the dangerous rock climb, we experienced the even harder part of the alternative route. It is the long and winding journey to 3 downhills, 2 uphills and a wide corn  & squash field under the scorching heat of the sun. I had major breakdowns along the way but I am thankful my colleagues came to the rescue. At some point, I had difficulty catching my breath so we had several stops along the way. The hardest part is the uphill since I literally crawled my way up to survive. We don’t have any choice but to push ourselves or else will fall into the cliff.

Well, those pictures and stolen shots were true testimonies that this was not an easy climb for me. After 2 hours, we finally got back at the Jump-off Point. It was late 2PM when we arrive. We got ourselves fix right away and ran to a nearby sari-sari store for some cold soft drinks. For the local guide, we gave him P200.00 since they did not charge us with any fixed amount prior. After being settled, we rode again our skylabs. Given that we have somehow mastered the art of balancing, our trip back home was generally bearable compared to the first one. As mentioned in the earlier part of this blog, we paid them P100 each instead of P80 since it included waiting time too.

Upon arriving to the Barangay Food Hall area, the local who allowed us to park our car was even accommodating enough to let use their faucet for us to wash ourselves from lots of dirt, mud & itchiness from various plants. Upon departure, we handed them some bucks as a tip. They didn’t charge us but it is just right to give some since they allowed us to use their space for parking and even gave us a decent shower.

Upon leaving the place, we were just amazed and thank to God that we have arrived safe and sound. This was not an easy nor a fun climb. Because of this experience, I was inspired to write this blog to act as both warning got first time & inexperienced climbers and an invitation to adventure-seekers and athletic persons out there. It was a risk actually. But this risk came out to be one in the books.

GENERAL TIPS:

  1. It is cheaper to go in groups and have your own private car.
  2. For those who don’t have private vehicles, option is via Bus (Non-aircon) from Davao to Bukidnon or via Van. Just take note of the drop-off point in Kitaotao, Bukidnon at the Barangay Food Hall marker.
  3. Be prepared. Do some exercises or cardio before the climb. We failed to do this so we have to suffer the aftermath. Believe us! Its painful. GAAAH!
  4. Always check the weather. It is not advisable to trek on rainy days in the falls. Also, it is better to start the climb earlier so you won’t have to suffer the heat of the sun.
  5. Always include an experienced climber in the group. From our end, we have with us a Triathlete. Hi Ms. Vangie!
  6. Be equipped and properly dressed up. Bring water-protection bags, enough food and chocolate bars, enough water, sunblock, right garment (3/4 to cover your skin from sunlight) and wear the appropriate climbing shoes. Also, it is advisable to pack light so you won’t bear heavy stuffs while climbing.
  7. Be emotionally ready. If you are in for an adventure of your life, Kipilas Falls might be your destination.

BUDGET BREAKDOWN PER PAX:

Note: Quoted on 5 pax with Private Car (From Davao City)

  1. Gas Up: P100.00 for per pax (From Davao City)
  2. Breakfast (7-11): P100.00 per pax
  3. Suman & Tsokolate: P65.00 per pax  (Seagull Mountain Resort)
  4. Snacks before the Climb: P50.000 per pax (Sari-sari store nearby)
  5. Skylab (Vice Versa): P100.00 per pax  (2 Skylabs, 5 pax)
  6. Environmental Fee: P20.00 per pax
  7. Tour Guide Fee: P50.00 per pax
  8. Tip for Parking & Bath: P30.00 per pax
  9. After Climb Snacks: P200.00 per pax                                                                                                         GRAND TOTAL:  P715.00 per pax (Prices may vary depending on number of pax)  

NOTE TO PERSONS IN AUTHORITY:  I strongly suggest to create a system for those who are planning to visit Kipilas Falls. Its now time to organize a group of people for this especially the locals of Barangay Kipilas. Aside from that, an authorized set of guides should be made available all the time. Just like any other treks, a briefing should be done prior the climb. Moreover, this place will soon be a major tourist spot in Bukidnon, we appreciate if you could set-up Parking spaces at the Barangay Food Hall (Kitaotao Highway), set a standard Local Guide Fee & Skylab Transport Fee & come up with decent showers and bathrooms available for public use.

Hope you find my blog worth-reading. Its quite long but this is the very detailed one I can share with you all. Feel free to share guys. Let us both inspire and warn others. We can all take risks but it is always right to be informed and be safe all the time.   

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Much LOVE from Michael (ME on white), James (front), Ms. Vangie (on yellow & blue), Alexis (topless) & Jander (yellow)