Saturday, November 26, 2011

Navigating Naval (October 2011)

Where are we off to?

After 48 years of friendship, finally, Honey brought all of us to her hometown-- Naval.

Naval is the capital municipality of Biliran. And Biliran is located north of Leyte.

First order of the day upon reaching Honey's place...
Individual photo op with Honey's OML!
One of the best tasting liempo I've tried. And I'm saying this not because Honey's my friend.
I noticed a few establishments in Naval with this poster. Talk about save-mother-earth movement.

There are two words I can think of from our Naval adventure--


Honey's dad is a food enthusiast and a certified coffee-lover. He finds joy in experimenting a new recipe.
Hunger obviously has no room in their place.
Despite our short stay, I think I gained a few pounds from all the eating. Haha.

Naval's master chef!
Was this the Farmer's sandwich? Don't be deceived. It's really ginormous in actual. 
Binging on Selecta ice cream!
Enough with the food. Now to the rocks. Haha.

Andrei on emo mode. lol.
First stop of our adventure: Mainit Falls.
We had the place all to ourselves. Behind those huge boulders is a tiny natural pool-- actually,
it was more like a whirlpool because we were up against strong currents.
The climb was a bit slippery but very manageable.

While a few were already enjoying the natural pool, my husband and I opted to 'document' this scenic spot.
We then proceeded to the nearby hot spring called---{drumroll please}---Mainit hot spring.
How fitting, isn't it?

It was my first time to experience a hot spring. Most of the springs I've been to are cold springs.
How's my first time?

Well, we had some unexpected guests (and I'm not referring to the paranormal kind)
A herd of carabaos (water buffalo) which camouflaged with the rocks
I wouldn't have realized that those were carabaos, had they not moved
their heads. I was about to dip my feet in the water. Haha. 

The water was not only hot, but literally boiling hot that we can even see the smoke emitted.

This was the start of my love-hate relationship with the rocks.
My first (challenging) encounter with the rocks came about when the eager beaver in me accidentally stepped into a puddle of hot spring water. There was no definite delineation (yes, delineation jud) between the cold water and the hot water. I had one foot in cold water, and the other unfortunate foot stepped into the hot water. Ergo, to save me from going though the same dilemma, I had to climb (or cling) on to these rocks just so I can avoid any puddle of water.

En route to our next stop, we passed by these beautiful sceneries.

Next stop: Tinago Falls.

Why Tinago? Because you can't see the entirety of its beauty unless you climb massive blocks of rocks.
My (challenging) encounter with rocks Part Two.

One brave (& crazy) soul. Kids please do not follow.
My dearest MALA
Finally, we have the falls to ourselves!

Obviously, enjoying the ride.

Incidentally, our trip to Naval had two birthday celebrants on board: Andrei (Oct. 29) and Jerome (Oct. 30). Notice their improvised birthday candles? Hehe.

Next post: Higatangan Island.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Breathtaking Boracay Part II (October 2011)

The are PLENTY of activities you can do in Boracay. Your choices are boundless. Parasailing, Zorb, APV, Scuba diving, Flyfish, Banana boat to name a few. If you are tight with the budget, you can get yourself a henna tattoo and for the ladies, have your hair braided. Of course, watching Boracay sunset is priceless and it'll bring out your romantic side as well.

Here's a summary of the activities we did in Boracay:


Our trip was on a tight budget but lady luck was on our side (Read more on that HERE). And she did it AGAIN! We got to join the other Toastmasters for island-hopping for FREE (since some of those who availed of the early bird promo sadly have to fly back to Cebu right away).

Banca-racing with fellow TMs. I think 3 bancas were hired, all for Toastmasters.
(1) Passed by blue sails. (2) Rock formations in the island. (3) A private & exclusive cove. (4) Stop-over at Puka Beach.

We obviously didn't mind the scorching heat of the sun.

It was here in Puka Beach that I mimicked Anne Curtis' opening scene in  the movie "No Other Woman". But for the protection of my legal profession, I'd rather not post the pictures. Haha. I'll leave you with this instead.
how to make a gif

Believe me when I say that the island is filled with interesting people/things. When you are in Boracay, staying in your hotel/resort room at night is a big no-no. You'll be missing a lot, swear.

See what I mean? Lol.


Food stalls and restos sprout like mushrooms in Boracay. You'll go crazy on which restos to try out. From fine dining, to fastfood, to street food. Name it, they got it.

Pizza. Seafoods.
Two scoops of Gelato for Php 100 only!
Potato skins & The Ultimate Belly @ I love  Backyard BBQ (D'Mall).


Boracay is accessories heaven! I went loca with the very affordable accessories. I bought a statement necklace at Php 200+, more or less of the same kind with the one I bought in Cebu at Php 400+!! Hhmm... Feather earrings are being sold at less than Php 100. Chunky bangles also less than Php 100. Wooven floppy hats less than Php 200. Fedora hats less than Php 400.


How much? Only Php 400-500 for locals but for foreigners, they charged as high as Php 3,500! Talk about overpricing!!!

Where to avail? You don't need to look far because there are persistent-close-to-annoying "agents" who offer you a wide array of activities to do in practically every nook and corner of Boracay. You won't miss them, believe me. Be careful though and inquire if they are licensed by the operator or not. Then you make haggle to the max on the price. They can go really low especially if you are booking by group.


Never miss the Boracay sunset. It's a sight to behold.

how do you make gifs


7. SWIM.

I have to admit, I am not a beach person for the sole reason that I don't want to get tan lines. But how can I say no to this?


Need I say more? Haha.

Needless to say, I FELL IN LOVE with Boracay. I certainly won't mind going back there, if time and money permits.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Breathtaking Boracay Part I (October 2011)

One item in my travel bucket list is ticked off!

If there is one place here in the Philippines that is most visited by tourists all over the world, it would have to be Boracay. I couldn't blame them. The long stretch of white sand with blue-green waters sitting serenely in the background is a sight to behold, truly bewitching.

Simply put, our trip to Boracay is one traveler's dream come true.

Before I'll indulge you with pictures, allow me to give a brief background why Boracay came within our reach.

Truth be told that we have been given blessed with more opportunities to travel because of Toastmasters. Countries and different regions all over the world are divided into districts. The Philippines is District 75. Every year, the district holds two national conventions-- the District Convention, happening every last week of April, and the Midyear convention-- during October.

This year's Midyear convention was held in the captivating island of Boracay, particularly at La Carmela de Boracay. Initially, we were hesitant to join because of budget constraints. But it seemed that the stars have aligned and we were able to get promo fares a few weeks before the convention date. Plus, we were able to save a night's stay courtesy of VECO TMC. We couldn't be any luckier!

How to get there:

  • There are direct flights from Cebu to Caticlan (as well as Manila-Caticlan) via Cebu Pacific. Subscribe to their sale alert newsletter to get a heads up on the promo fares. I noticed however that the email notification is not in real time, so if you are keen on really getting a good deal on the plane fare, better check their website regularly, and by regularly, I mean at least twice a week.

  • The flight is approximately an hour only. I was a bit surprised when we reached Caticlan airport. Its the shortest runway I have seen so far. If the pilot miscalculates his landing, for sure the plane will extend to the fields surrounding the runway.

  • Upon reaching Boracay Airport, if there is no arranged van by your hotel to get to Caticlan jetty port, you may opt to ride the tricycle (motorcycle with side car). The moment you step out of the airport, turn right. At the end of that small alley is the tricycle lane. There is a little booth beside the sari-sari store where you can pay for both the tricycle fare (Php 25.00) and boat fare (Php 25.00). Once you reach Caticlan jetty port, there is another series of fees to pay: Environmental fee (Php 75.00) and terminal fee (Php 50.00). Roughly, that's Php 175.00. There are plenty of boat rides that will take you to the island, no need to worry.

  • Once in Boracay island, again there are plenty of tricycles that can take you to your hotel/resort. The pakyaw rate is Php 100 for Stations 2 or 3. I don't know for Station 1 though. The cheapskate that I am, opted not to take the pakyaw rate but rather joined strangers in going to our destination. We only paid Php 20.00/person. We were dropped off at the national highway nearest to La Carmela de Boracay. We had to take a 5-min walk in going to the resort.  Now that's the price to pay for not taking the pakyaw rate. Haha.

Moving on, I am sharing some snippets of what transpired during the Midyear Convention:

My boss, PDG Nolie Espina (2nd photo, top row) is running for International Director.
Calling all D75, let's pledge our support, shall we?
No convention can be had without a beer-drinking contest. Teehee! :)

All hats are off to the creative "sexy" ladies. This is one of the things I love about Toastmasters.
Raw talents and creativity are being displayed.

Congratulations to the winners of the Speech to Evaluate Contest.
Didn't you notice, all winners are girls? Hhhmm.. Girl power at its best! Yay!
I can't help but notice the spooky atmosphere of the resort with their Halloween decorations. These three caught our attention (and the camera's attention as well. Lol.)

All other resorts absorbed the Halloween feel.

While the rest of the Toastmasters were having dinner and preparing for the fellowship, we (the husband & I) took a quiet stroll along the beach. It's my first time in Boracay, while it's his second. The excitement brought in a new brand of energy for me.

Speaking of energy, the whole island transforms into a party paradise bursting with energetic vibes spelling only one word: F-U-N!

A must-see. They perform every night along the beach. This one was taken at Station 3.
One brave soul!
I chose to keep distance from the fire dancers, bearing in mind Murphy's law. Hehe.

The Midyear Convention was scheduled for a day and a half only. Since chances like these don't come very often, we took the liberty of extending our stay in Boracay. After staying one night at La Carmela de Boracay (Station 2), we transferred to Casa Pilar Resort (Station 3)-- a few minutes walk from La Carmela.

This post is getting long and there are still pics worthy to be posted. So I have to cut my Boracay post into parts. For the meantime, I will leave you with this pic. Breathtaking, isn't it?

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