Virgin Island | Cebu

December 25, 2009
After spending the night at Bantayan Island, the next morning following a quick breakfast, I went on a long walk along the long shore of the island. I passed through nearby fishing villages and other resorts surrounded by tall coconut trees. It was low tide and many fishermen and even young children from the nearby villages have come to harvest oysters and clamps with their bare hands.

Counting Chocolate Hills | Bohol

December 23, 2009
As a 3rd grader Markyramone, I remember being shown pictures of different places in the Philippines. The Banaue rice terraces, Taal volcano, the near perfect cone of Mayon volcano, Rizal statue at Luneta Park, the white sand beaches of Mindoro and of course the Chocolate Hills of Bohol.

I've kept all these images in my mind and as I grew older and gotten fascinated with traveling, I made it a point to go and see these places before my eyes, not as still photographs, but in person with me behind a camera taking an actual photograph.

Kara Hizon

Does Tourism Speed up The Philippine Tarsiers' Extinction?

December 20, 2009
When one mentions Bohol, the first and second thing that comes to mind are Chocolate Hills and Tarsiers, the latter is considered an endangered species. In Bohol, a continually dwindling number of Philippine Tarsiers can be found. It is also found in a few places like Leyte, Samar and some parts of Mindanao.

Mujee Gonzales

Magellan's Cross

December 19, 2009
One of the more popular landmarks in Cebu City is the Magellan's Cross. A simple monument situated beside the Basilica del Sto Niño. Many of us have seen the photographs of the cross in various angles, whether its online, on postcards or other travel books-it is still different when you're staring at it in person.

The shrine was built in a simple manner, with the cross housed in a small chapel where one can take photographs, light a candle and say a short prayer. The ceiling of the chapel is covered with murals that depicts Magellan and his exploration party making a landing on the shore of Cebu and meeting with some of the natives, the cross planting and the first mass held in the Philippines.

The original cross, according to the sign located beneath it says "This cross of Tindalo wood encases the original cross planted by Ferdinand Magellan on this very site April 21, 1521." Just a few days before the fateful crossing of the path with Lapu-Lapu on Mactan Island.

History tells us that the cross was planted when Ferdinand Magellan made the first successful conversion to Roman Catholicism, of the first batch of Filipinos who will embrace the faith up to this day. They were Rajah Humabon and his wife Queen Hara Amihan and along with a few hundred of their followers.

The shrine wasn't that grandiose but the importance of it cannot be neglected, as I remember in grade school when my teacher taught us about our early history, Magellan, Lapu-Lapu, Magellan's cross and so on, I only hear and read about it at that time. However this time, I was right there, at the site of where the actual event took place and as a big follower of history, It was just right being there and seeing with my own eyes, the very cross (even though it only encloses the original) that my history teacher have taught me early in my elementary days.

My First Travel Article Published in a Magazine

December 17, 2009
If you have time to grab a copy of the December - January 2010 Anniversary issue of the "7107 Island Travel Magazine" you'll read the article I contributed about Capones Island.

Kristina Hamdorf
Haven't seen the copy myself, just the preview page on the website of the magazine. But I'm happy with the layout of the lighthouse (which was taken from my Holga) and the cross tattoed Lot (my friend) overlooking the sea from the lighthouse tower.

The Sto. Niño Church in Cebu City | Cebu

December 14, 2009
I bet most of us grew up in a household that has an altar with the little red Sto. Niño statue. I remember how my mom would look after our Sto Niño, taking care of it, as if it was the most prized religious artifact there is. This memory lasted from my childhood until my early adulthood. We transferred houses a couple of times, my mom went abroad and our family was forced to live apart for a while and sadly, we've forgotten about our little Sto. Niño statue.

Reese Belarmino

Sitting Inside a Confessional Booth in Baclayon Church | Bohol

December 13, 2009
The Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is located in Baclayon, a fifth class municipality in Bohol. Many people now refers to it as Baclayon Church and is considered as one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. The church has a rich history spanning centuries, as it stood  witness to the eventual emancipation of the Philippines from the Spanish colonizers who built the church sometime around 1727 following the settlement of Spanish Jesuits mission in Baclayon around 1595.

Izah Morales

Fort San Pedro, Cebu City

December 13, 2009
The Fort San Pedro was first erected with logs in 1565 upon orders by Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. While the time when the actual construction of the stone fort remains in question, there are claims that suggests it began in 1630. Regardless, the Fort San Pedro currently claims the title of being the oldest and smallest fort structure in the Philippines. The Spanish built the fort as a mean of defending the city from bastion of hostile Muslim raiders who are against the rule of the Spanish colonizers, with the over all construction getting done by 1738, a little less than 200 years after it was first conceived.

The fort is triangular in shape, according to a 1739 report that was addressed to then Spanish King Philip II and was made of mortar and stones. The three bastions were called Ignacio de Loyola, San Miguel and Concepcion.

During the course of History the fort became under the Americans after the Spanish-American War and was used as a barracks by the Americans before it became a school for a lot of Cebuanos in the few years leading to World War II.

During World War II, the fort was used as living quarters of Japanese living in Cebu city until it became a hospital for the wounded during the war. It became a short lived military camp after WWII until Cebu Garden Club took over its operations.

Present day, the local government of Cebu takes care of the fort by naming it as a historical park with a museum that houses well preserved Spanish documents and artifacts as well as a garden that exhibits different kinds of plants.

Fort San Pedro is found in San Roque, Cebu City. A mere walking distance from Pier 1 of the Cebu City port and another landmark, the Plaza Independencia.

I was able to visit the fort after my trip from Bantayan Island. Upon disembarking from Pier 1 of the city port I decided to take a short walk before I get a cab - a walk which in turn took me to the Fort itself.

I had a wonderful time walking around the small fortress, looking at its old structures, the solid rock walls, visiting the museum and just imagining the scenes that used to happen in the courtyard, behind the walls when those skirmishes are happening during the old times. In a way it took me further back in time.

It's a wonderful opportunity as well, to learn from history while visiting landmarks such as the Fort of San Perdro. I'm glad that such place was preserved rightfully to serve as a reminder of our rich and colorful past.

Blood Compact Site | Bohol

December 12, 2009
The island of Bohol is the site of another historical event known as "Sandugo" or the blood compact between then ruler and chieftain of the island, Datu Sikatuna and Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legaspi held on March 16, 1565. History have told us that the arrival of the Spanish to the Philippines was anything but smooth sailing. We all knew how Ferdinand Magellan fell to the courageous men of Lapu Lapu in Mactan Island. Since then, succeeding expeditions sent by the kingdom of Spain to the Far East and eventually The Philippines met hostile resistance and was unable to convince local rulers that they had come in peace — but with intent of colonization.

Regene Ong

Malcapuya Island: Coron, Palawan

September 03, 2009

During our second day of island hopping in Coron, we sailed to Malcapuya Island located about an hour and a half away from the main town. We arrived there at around 10:00 AM giving us more than enough time to explore the island. My favorite part, aside from the long stretch of shoreline covered with fine white sands, was the viewing deck perched atop a 50-foot hill, wherein you’ll see the surrounding view of the island.

Jill Munion

Kayangan Lake: Coron, Palawan

September 01, 2009

Kayangan Lake situated in Coron Island north of Palawan is said to be among the cleanest lakes in Asia. Surrounded by rocky mountains and lush green trees, it paints an image  one used to seeing only in postcards and movies. If you're expecting the best the great outdoors can offer, then you cannot be more correct to get it here. Climbing the hiking trails leading to Kayangan lake already gift you with a jaw-dropping view of the Calamianes archipelago.

Ria Jose

Coron, Palawan: Chasing Beaches

August 29, 2009
We spent 2 days island hopping in Coron, Palawan around the Calamian group of islands. This included a trip to paradise-like Kayangan Lake and went snorkeling in coral laden areas like Siete Picados — an area surrounded by 7 small rocky islands — and around it are some of the best snorkeling sites in the world where. The vibrant corals and fishes of different colors are clearly visible through the crystal clear waters.

Levy Amosin

Maquinit Hot Springs, Coron, Palawan

August 27, 2009
Another place one should visit while in Coron, Palawan is the Maquinit Hot Springs. It is located in the hillside part of Coron, about 25 minutes from the town center. Visitors will be enchanted by circling pools filled with steaming water oozing from the bottom of the nearby mountain. It is said to come from an underground volcano thus explaining why the water’s temperature ranges from 38-40 degree Celsius.

Mia Panlilio

Coron, Palawan: “Town & Country”

August 26, 2009
Coron Town is the center of economic and tourist activity in Busuanga, Palawan. It serves as the sail-off place for island hopping tours throughout the rest of the Calamian group of Islands. One of the main attraction of the town is Mount Tapyas. The view from the peak gifts you a wonderful view of the town below. One can clearly see the nearby islands, hillside roads, boats and ships on the horizon and the people living their simple lives. It is a setting we big city dwellers would save up to experience for a few days in between our daily grind climbing the corporate ladder. 

Christian Sangoyo

Bullets over Busuanga, Palawan

August 25, 2009
August 20, 2009: we flew aboard a Cebu Pacific propeller plane to Busuanga, Palawan planning to explore not only Coron town but a good part of the Calamian Group of Islands. The place is about an hour of flight time from Manila. I was barely keeping myself awake when I heard the plane’s captain telling us that we’re about to land at Busuanga airport. I looked out the window and saw these beautiful island formations surrounded by blue waters, white shorelines and reefs. “Putang ina ang ganda” was all I can mutter to myself.

Marianne Londres

Sagada redux

July 18, 2009
This was my second time around to go to Sagada, right after our trip to Batad Rice Terraces in Banaue we headed straight to Sagada-which is another 3 hour drive from Banaue.
With our body and legs battered by the hike to Tappia Falls we arrived in Sagada at about 11:00 pm, found a nice place called George Inn that gives a wonderful view from its window on our room on the third floor.

view from our window
view from our window

The next day we woke up at around 6am, had our breakfast at about 7:00 am at Yoghurt House.

don, kat, kim and mark m.
don, kat, kim and mark m.

After fueling our gas tanks, still feeling a bit tired from the previous long day at Banaue, we started our cave connection ( Lumiang Cave – Sumaging Cave). On the entrance of the cave, a horde of wooden coffins can be found all humped over another stretching from the bottom of the cave’s mouth up to the rocky ceilings – positioned peacefully and bringing an eerie feeling of unfortunate circumstances once disturbed.

wooden coffins
wooden coffins
There was a coffin with a hole in it, large enough for a human skull to take a peek. It feels weird looking at it, thinking that it was once a live human being walking and feeding and talking like us, but right now it firmly rests there with its soul in the other world.

Peeping skull
Peeping skull
Inside the cave, the five of us plus our guide then another group of people are in the cave as well, producing a short queue on the tiny opening at the start where one has to use a rope to get down. While waiting for our turn Don exposes his “chemical gas” that almost rendered our guide unconscious.

to the bat cave
to the bat cave
Inside the cave was a maze of rocky passageways requiring body contortions, balance and the reliable lamp light, without it, the cave will turn into one pitch black world.

Batad 053-053

Pools of cold water greets you inside, flowing along rock formations whom the local guides refers to as the king (as it forms like a penis), queen, pig pen, chocolate cake, elephant trunk and so on (you’ll know why when you see it trust me)

Batad 098-097

We took a dip into one of the cold pools found inside. The cold water meets your skin like needles the first few seconds after you go under it but as time goes and your body adjusts to the cold water it feels like therapy feeding your skin with energy.


After 15 minutes we got back on our trail and were met upon by more cool rock formations and crossed small pools of water again.

And here’s Don when he’s not farting inside the cave.
One by one we climbed up about 6 feet using a rope heading to the exit of Sumaging cave.

Batad 154-153
the Queen
the Queen
Batad 168-157

We stayed at Sagada until the next day then headed back to Manila, it was a long trip that started friday night to Banaue, went Tappia falls, then to Sagada, went caving, foodtrip, pictures and then back to the maddening real world in the city. Something to look forward to again, because the life on the road forever awaits you.


Top 10 RV Destinations in the United States

July 11, 2009

Land Of Mobile Luxury

Recreational vehicles have changed the way we live in America. You can get away for a week in the wilderness and bring all the comforts of home with you. If you’re with your family, you can have a camping adventure. If you’re alone, you can get away from it all.

Batad Rice Terraces of Banaue / Tappia Falls

June 29, 2009
We were only supposed to go to Sagada, however we took the Auto Bus route from Manila to Banaue one Friday night last month (May) we decided to make the trip more worthwhile by taking a side trip to Batad Rice Terraces and Tappia Falls. Prior to this, I’ve never been to the world famous rice terraces and I was glad that this time, I was able to do so.

After a gruelling 12 hour bus ride from Manila in an aging Auto Bus which rendered its air conditioned useless an hour after leaving the terminal, we arrived at Banaue about 9:00 the next morning.

We rented a van that took us to the jump off of a short trek (which according to our guide will only take an hour), the van was good for 1,500 and it would be much cheaper if you’re a party of 8 to 10 people, we were 5 in our group, so do the math we split everything five ways.
We never reached the jump off or the saddle because a certain part of the road became impassable due to landslides, so we started our hike much earlier than we planned.

Van Driver: “May landslide, okay lang sa inyo simula na ang trek pero matatagalan tayo ng 2 oras?”
Kathrina: “wala na naman tayong choice eh”

It took us 30 minutes to reach the saddle and from there on, we starte d yet another hour of hiking.

Then our guide, chewing on a “*nga-nga” told us “another ho ur” of hiking is needed to reach our destination, Tappia Fall s.

*( It’s a tradition in Banaue for locals to chew “Nga-Nga”, our guide explained that it’s a form of communication, doing so means you’re welcome to make conversations with other people. The process of chewing it involves splitting the nga nga in the middle, sprinkling it with lime, wrapping in a leaf of pepper and placing it in your mouth, upon chewing it produces red juice as it mixes with your own saliva that can be spit out)

Nga-Nga (it comes in green and red)

The short hike gets very tiring (in my current physical condition hehe) but the view along the way makes up for it. You can’t help it but take time out to marvel and gaze at the sight of the rice terraces, like amphitheater that stretches up to the sky filled with lush green rice fields along with small villages in between.

In all, we hiked a total of two hours before we finally arrived at Tappia Falls, there were half a dozen rest stop along the way where locals sells gatorade and softdrinks, 50 pesos at the viewing deck then it becomes 70 pesos near Tappia Falls (understandably, it gets harder to bring things there) we took a swim for about 30 minutes, enjoying the cold water, lying down on sauna like pool formation therefore applying cold water therapy on our aching feet and leg muscles.

After almost an hour’s stay at Tappia falls, we hiked back to the viewing deck where we had our late lunch (almost 4:00 pm in the afternoon), we were so tired I could swear its the best “sinigang na baboy” I’ve ever had. Can’t tell the same thing about the Chicken curry though .

We started our hike back again at about 5:00 PM, reached the saddle at about 6:00 PM, and hiked back again to where our van got stranded by the landslide and as Don said, we reached our van just as total darkness was about to take a bite. (with matching palm motion of biting). We had dinner back at Banaue then drove off for Sagada for three hours before we finally called it a day.