Mis-Adventure in Cagayan Province

After being sick for two weeks and not able to join Bim on our Panay Trip, I’m finally feeling better and ready to go back to work. Unfortunately, when I was asking for my “fit to work” clearance from our Company Doctor, she told me wait for another two days. I can just to go work on December 1 (Tuesday) since Nov 30 (Monday) is a holiday. It’s another four days for me  not doing anything at home. Two weeks is already enough so I don’t need this extra four days, boredom is already killing me.

So I browsed the internet, facebook and look for any tours that I can join. Good thing, there’s a trip going to Cagayan Province via Lakbay Backpackers. It’s a Baguio travel agency so it means free ride from Baguio to our destination. Almost all the trips that I joined, meet up place is in Manila so I had to travel down from Baguio to Manila.

I always wanted to visit Cagayan to see Callao Cave and the famous Palaui Island (home for survivor US). Before the trip, the travel agency (May) texted me if we still wanted to proceed with the trip since it’s been raining in Cagayan which means big waves so it’s very hard to go island hopping. She told me that we are divided into three groups: group of friends from Manila, lovebirds from Baguio and solo girl from Baguio (that’s me). I told her that my decision will be based on the big group, if they cancel, then I’ll have to cancel also. Good thing, they decided to push with the trip. 🙂

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The itinerary makes me so excited since it’s a three day full of activity – island hopping, trek to lighthouse, beach bumming and church visits. But unfortunately, the itinerary was not followed. Instead of 8hours drive from Manila to Cagayan, it took us 15 hours (arrived 3pm at Sta Ana Cagayan). I think the problem is that we only have one (1) driver, so we need to take lots of breaks/rest… safety first right.

It was raining so it’s not advisable to go to Palaui. Our Day 1 was used for travel and rest at Jotay’s resort. Good thing, they have swimming pool so I just did an underwater pictorial with Chamy and Harold (lovebirds from Baguio). We also went to see their market and bought some goodies for our island hopping  tomorrow.

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won’t let our first day go to waste 🙂

After breakfast, it is now time to go island hopping. I’ve visited different islands – in and out of our country, but the boat ride to Palaui is the most scariest ride that I’ve ever did.

I’m glad that we made it alive! Thanks to our expert boatmen. 🙂

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definitely, the scariest boat ride experience

It took us an hour to reach our first destination: Anguib Beach. It has fine sands and blue water. As always, took lots of pictures and enjoyed the beach.

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vitamin SEA 🙂

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the beautiful Anguib Beach

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the gang…

Another one hour boat ride to our next destination: Palaui Island where we trek to Cape Engano Lighthouse.

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Palaui is ❤

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survivors..PH

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after an hour trek…finally reached the lighthouse

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feels like home ❤

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mandatory jump shot

Chamy and I wanted to see the hidden falls but the other big group doesn’t want to, so we moved to our next stop: Crododile Island.

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can you spot the crocs? 🙂

After island hopping, it’s time to eat our late lunch at Nangaramoan Beach. We were surprised that we will be sleeping in one small room with no private toilet at Mar-pe’s Lodging and Cottages (Phone#09174767041). It’s not acceptable for a group of 10 people to sleep in a small room. So we decided to pay an added fee so we can have our private room. I think I added Php 600 pesos since it’s only the three (3) of us in our room – Chamy and her bf Harold; and me. Our coordinator Tosz and driver Roger slept inside the van only.

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enjoying Nangaramoan Beach 🙂

It was agreed that we will leave the beach early so we can complete our remaining itinerary, but the big group was late so we left an hour late against our original plan.

We ate our breakfast first at Dodie’s Panciteria. This was featured by Rated K already for their famous pansit batil patung.

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Then off to Callao Cave – yippee! This famous cave was featured on the movie of John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo “The Mistress” wedding scene. Our guide told us that you can use this as venue for weddings. You just need to decorate it and pay Php 20 entrance fee for each guest. I was also surprised that this is not the only attraction on this cave. It has seven chambers but you can only go up to the 5th chamber. Here you will see different rock formations.

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after 184 steps, we reached the entrance to the Callao Cave

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say a little prayer for you 🙂

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rock formations 🙂

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lion’s head ❤

There’s so much more to do within Callao Cave like boating to falls. But due to time constraint, after spelunking, we went to visit the Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Piat.

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During lunch time, Tosz found out that we already pass the other church. We had to go back to Sta Ana again to see it. But the team decided that we will just travel back to Manila since it’s gonna be another 13-15hours. It’s sad that I won’t be able to see the other churches but at least I was able to see one. It’s enough for me for this trip.

They need to drop the Manila peep first before going back to Baguio. So that means, I might be late for my work. Chamy and I decided to take a bus going to Baguio. We arrived in Tarlac at 3am and arrived in Baguio 6am. After power nap, I’m ready for work.

What do you think about this blog? Leave me a comment or email at roanguerrero@yahoo.com. Thank you! 🙂

My Tinipak River Trek

While browsing Facebook, I saw a post of Vagabond Pinas offering a trek to Tinipak River with side trip at Pillilia Windmills. Bim and I saw the windmills but never had a chance to see it up close during our Rizal … Continue reading

Beyond Baguio

With the completion of the Pangasinan portion of TPLEX (Tarlac-Pangasinan- La Union Expressway), the trip to Baguio from Manila via Kennon Road is only 3 to 4 hours. It’s  fast and easy so every weekend, lots of tourist goes to Baguio not only due to cold weather but also to see the famous tourist spots in the city. But did you know that there are other places that you can visit beyond Baguio City?

Here are my top five (5) spots that will surely make your weekend to Baguio more exciting:

1. BALATOC MINES, ITOGON BENGUET. Learn and experience the life of a miner. This is just 30 minutes away from Baguio City. This can be reach via private car or public jeepney bound to Balatoc-Acupan located at Harrison – SSS Petron Station, fare is Php 24/pax.  Tour Fee is  Php 250/pax with certificate. It’s a 2 hour tour inside the tunnel where you learn about the stages of gold mining while wearing the proper safety gear. You can contact them at 09212990169 or visit their site at http://www.facebook.com/balatocminestour. Make sure to contact them first since it was closed last November due to the typhoon.

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miner on duty

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Balatoc Mines

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learning about mining

2. DAYHIKE AT MT. ULAP , ITOGON BENGUET. Lose some calories by doing a day hike to Mt. Ulap (4 to 6 hours trek). Here you’ll see the stunning views of mountains, pines and grassland ridges and even burial caves. This is just 40 minutes away from Baguio City. This can be reach via private car or public jeepney bound to Ampucao located at Harrison – SSS Petron Station, fare is Php 32/pax.  Just ask local directions on how to reach Ampucao Barangay Hall where you need to register and secure a guide. Better if you hike with your friends so you can save some cash on guide fee.

Mt Ulap EcoTrail Text Lines: 09284831113, 09217292726 &09182788625

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the famous rock…say NO to vandalism

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3. CHASING WATERFALLS: BRIDAL VEIL FALLS & COLORADO FALLS, TUBA BENGUET.  You can visit these falls before going up to Baguio since it’s located at the border between Camp 1 and Camp 2 Kennon Road. But if you’re in Baguio already, ride the public vans located at Harrison – SSS Petron Station, fare is Php 70/pax. Just tell the driver to drop you at Twin Peaks, Colorado Falls. Then after hiking at Colorado, you can either walk or ride a tricyle (Php 15) to go to Bridal Veil Falls.

No hike required to reach Bridal Veil Falls, you can actually see it from the highway and can see it closer by crossing the hanging bridge. There is no fee, just bring your swimwear and enjoy the cold water.

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Bridal Veil Falls

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some local boys having fun at the falls

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Just 5 to 10 minutes away from Bridal Veil Falls is the Colorado Falls at Twin Peaks. It’s a 27-tier waterfalls. There’s a “no trespassing sign” so I guess it’s closed now. Make sure you get a local to guide you on your hike/trek since the trail is not that good. You need to cross the hanging bridge, rivers and climb huge boulders. Take extra careful, just one wrong move and it’s game over.

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Colorado Falls

4. KLONDYKE HOT SPRING, TUBA BENGUET. It’s  a small beautiful resort located at Camp 1. You’ll reach this first before going to Baguio via private car. But if you’re in Baguio already, ride the public vans located at Harrison – SSS Petron Station, fare is Php 70/pax. Just tell the driver to drop you at the resort. This is a perfect place to relax. Entrance Fee is Php 100/pax.8

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Hot Springs 🙂

5. MT STO TOMAS, TUBA BENGUET. This is one of my favorite place to do hiking even before the famous “Forevermore” TV Series. Make sure not to miss the Sto Tomas Reservoir, radar and the bedrock. You can get here via private car, or rent a taxi (Php 300/hour) or public jeepneys located near Hotel Veniz (fare: less than Php 50/pax).

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Welcome to Mt. Sto Tomas

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love the mountains 🙂

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Mt. Sto Tomas Reservoir

So next time you go to Baguio, make sure not to miss this.

 

 

What do you think about this blog? Leave me a comment or email at roanguerrero@yahoo.com. Thank you! 🙂

 

 

 

Day 1: Negros Oriental Eco Tour :-)

Despite the storm and me being alone on this trip, it didn’t stop me explore Negros Oriental.

I contacted several tour agency in Dumaguete but most of the tour package are beyond my budget. Good thing, I stumbled on the page of WPG Philcan Tours (http://philtraveltours.com). Their tour package is in USD but I still tried to contact them. To my surprise, Gord (owner) replied to me and he was very accommodating and willing to help me out on this trip with affordable budget. If you have plan to visit Negros Oriental, you can contact him via email – gord@traveltours.com or call him at 09154881914.

My guide – Kuya Jong2 pick me at the Gazeebo Pension House. We will be going to Dauin for snorkeling and Casaroro Falls via tricycle.

with Manong Tricycle driver

with Manong Tricycle driver

Unfortunately, due to the typhoon which brought big waves made it so impossible or difficult for me to go snorkeling. I’m a bit disappointed since I’m not able to see the fishes. 😦

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overlooking Apo Island

overlooking Apo Island

no swimming! :-(

no swimming! 😦

After a few photo op, I told him that we can just go to Casaroro Falls. It will be difficult to go there via tricycle so we decided that I’ll just ride on his motorcycle. It’s not a big deal for me since I used to ride motorcycle with my brothers in Subic.

There are so many beautiful sights along the way so I can’t resist but to take some photos. I usually have more than 1000 photos on any of my trips. Am I addicted to photos? 🙂

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At last, we’re here! There’s a stairs going down to Casaroro Falls. But to may dismay, I still can’t see the magnificent falls at the end of the stairs. You need to take the difficult (for me) trail and trek for another 20-30 minutes to see the falls. I didn’t push to do the trek since my guide is not familiar on the trail. So I was disappointed again….

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Seeing that I’m so disappointed, my guide told me that he’ll bring me to a better falls for free. So we went to see “MALABO FALLS” at Valencia. It is popularly known as Pulang Bato Falls due to the red color of its rocks. Locals say it is the presence of iron minerals that made the rocks turn red.

we're here!

we’re here!

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Pulang Bato Falls

Pulang Bato Falls

I actually enjoyed my visit here since I had the chance to swim. Just a short walk from the entrance is the man-made stone-lined swimming lagoon that is fed by small ‘falls’ cascading down the walls surrounding the lagoon.

spot the mini me :-)

spot the mini me 🙂

Then if you go down, you’ll see the picnic area and another waterfalls where you can jump and dive.

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swimming time

swimming time

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And then the main waterfalls.

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The way to Malabo Falls let’s you pass the highway where you can see some steam vents spewing out hot sulfuric smoke.

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Then off to Tierra Alta Residential Resort. It felt like I was in Greece. I love their Greek inspired clubhouse & pavilion, lighthouse and lagoon type infinity swimming pool. I could live here! 🙂

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It was a bad start but ended nicely.

Ilocandia Adventure: Bangui Windmill

Bangui is  a fourth class municipality of Ilocos Norte and well known because of it’s Bangui windmills. It was a dream come true for me since I thought windmills can only be seen in Netherlands.

It’s nice to see a giant fan..lol!

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Bangui Bay is also a beautiful tourist spot,yet not practical for swimming because of its deepness and water currents,but it is beautiful to view. Maybe it’s good for surfing…look at the waves.

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Ilocandia Adventure: Balaurte

Our Ilocos adventure won’t be complete without visiting Chavit Sizon’s Balaurte which showcase his private mini zoo. It has animals from other countries and others endemic to the Philippines. Perfect place for family bonding! 🙂    After this fun trip at Balaurte, … Continue reading

Philippines Hidden Gem: Tambaron Island

It’s summer time but I haven’t been to the beach yet. So when I saw Travel Factor (TF) Ultimate Beach Bumming Experience in Tambaron Island, Bulalacao Oriental Mindoro, I register and joined the trip. After all, I’ll have a long … Continue reading

Surviving Mt. Pinatubo

I was on my 4th grade  when Mt. Pinatubo erupted on June 1991. School was off early due to ashfall. Weather is not good at that time due to incoming typhoon. So the heavy rains brought sands. It’s raining sands, literally! My Dad and my Kuya  (older brother) had to go up the roof to remove the sands despite the heavy rains with lightning. We’ve seen some houses collapsed due to the heavy sands on the roof. So to avoid it, they had to remove the sands on the roof. Plus the earthquake that we felt every minute. Yes, every minute you can feel the ground shaking. It’s so scary especially that I still have a baby brother at that time. Days become nights! Can’t tell if it’s day already or still night! The skies were covered by dark smokes! Survival becomes tough! No water, electricity and food. We had to walk a thousand miles just to get relief goods. But I’m so thankful that my family survived this disaster! And after more than 20 years, I’m here to see the crater of Mt. Pinatubo who once killed hundreds of people and left billions of crops & properties covered in Lahar (volcanic mudflows). Some places until now are still covered with Lahar.

Mt. Pinatubo crater lake has become a top tourist spot in the Philippines. I’ve seen the worst but it’s time to see the beauty of it.

Before you can actually see the majestic crater lake, you need to ride a 4×4 truck for almost an hour then trek for another 1.5 hours. You can actually swim at the crater!

Make sure to stop and register at PDC Spa Town. Or you'll be stuck like us...

Make sure to stop and register at PDC Spa Town. Or you’ll be stuck like us…

start of our 4x4 ride

start of our 4×4 ride

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stucked!!!!

stucked!!!!

stucked but I'm still happy

stucked but I’m still happy

getting ready to pull us out

getting ready to pull us out

while waiting for our ride

while waiting for our ride

pull it! :-)

pull it! 🙂

ok! hop on!!! ready to roll again :-)

ok! hop on!!! ready to roll again 🙂

Time to walk 🙂

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ah finally...almost near the crater

ah finally…almost near the crater

the magnificent crater lake <3 :-)

the magnificent crater lake

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After a long walk, need to freshen up…how? swimming at the crater!!!

quick rest before swimming to the crater lake

quick rest before swimming to the crater lake

at the Mt. Pinatubo crater lake

at the Mt. Pinatubo crater lake

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time to swim... water is warm :-)

time to swim… water is warm 🙂

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crazy girls...with Marj

crazy girls…with Marj

with my girls

with my girls

Who run the world? Girls!!!

Who run the world? Girls!!!

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After a refreshing swim, it’s time to go home!

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missed the hot volcano sand spa and mud pool.. we arrived past 5pm so it's closed already :-(

missed the hot volcano sand spa and mud pool.. we arrived past 5pm so it’s closed already 😦

dinner after as long trek

dinner after as long trek

Truly, Mt. Pinatubo is a nature’s way telling us that there’s beauty after destruction. But please, don’t explode again!

Memories from May 2012 Trip 🙂

March 10, Day 3: Jingshan Park

Time flies when you’re having fun! 🙂

So true! We are now on our last day of our backpacking trip in China! And still with so many places to explore. Our first stop: Jingshan Park. Tikoy highly recommends this place since it provides an amazing view of the Forbidden City.

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Here’s an information about this place:

Five pavilions sit atop the hill. At the Northern foot of the hill is Shouhuang hall, once dedicated to ancestor worship, now used for childrens’ activities. Just to the East lie Yongsi and Guande Halls, where the bodies of Qing Emperors lay in state. There are displays of art and calligraphy by the Park’s North Gate.

It was in Jingshan Park that the Ming Emperor, Chongzhen hung himself from a pagoda tree as rebels stormed the city and brought down the dynasty. A replica of the tree, (The Chinese Scholar Tree) is to be found on the Eastern side of the Park.

The hill was formerly known as Coal Hill. The current name, Jĭngshān, rightly suggests rightly that the hill commands excellent views. (Jĭng 景=scenery, Shān 山= hill).

The hill was formed from earth excavated to make the moat around the Forbidden City, and its location directly to the North protects the Forbidden City from evil spirits according to Chinese feng shui. It also serves as a useful windbreak, and was once part of the Forbidden City.

Let’s continue with our photoshoot!

Thanks Phoebe, our Art Director, for the concept!  🙂

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After our fun photoshoot, it’s time to visit Forbidden City. Unfortunately, the north entrance is closed. We had to go to the other entrance. It’s a big place so walking towards the entrance will take us hours. Tikoy decided that we need to take the bus back to Dongsi Subway Station, then to Wangfujing  to eat our lunch first.

Hmmm..what to eat?!? I’m hungry!