De-stressing at Isdaan Floating Restaurant in Laguna

How to de-stress when you feel toxic at work or in life? 

1. Go to Isdaan Floating Restaurant- Calauan, Laguna and bring your friends.

2. Order all the food you want to eat. Their crispy pata is the best! ūüź∑ūüĎĆūüŹľ

3. Explore the place and take pictures. Um-aura if you must.

4. Try Tacsyiapo where you can smash plates, glasses and tv (yes, TV! Hahahha) and release all your anger, disappointment and frustrations.

5. Go home/get back to work and enjoy your life.


Life can be tough sometimes, your problems won’t be solved if you rant all day. What we can do is to choose to be strong in facing our challenges in life.

Remember, most of your stress comes from the way you respond, not the way life is. Adjust your attitude, and all that extra stress is gone.

#niknakztraveltrips

1. Ask your friend to drive you there. Since you’re tired and exhausted you will fall asleep during the 2 hour drive from Manila, make sure to appreciate him once you arrived at the place. (Thank you so much Jess, you know how much we love you! ūüėė)

2. Food is a bit pricey but it tastes good. Their servings is good for 4. We love their crispy pata and chicharong bulaklak.

3. They don’t accept debit/credit card so bring your cash with you.

3. Plates and mugs cost P20 each. While the TV costs P2000, you can smash it several times.

4. They are open from 8 AM until 10 PM.

Thanks for your time reading this post! Happy Travels!

 

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Cebu-Bohol Adventure: A DIY travel guide

Thinking about travelling to the Queen City of the South? Why not include Bohol in your trip.

Last year, my friend and I booked a trip to Cebu for 4 days and 3 nights. Initially, we only planned to go to Cebu but being a spontaneous travel junkie we are, we decided to include Bohol even if it is just for a day.

Just a little trivia, did you know that recently Cebu made it to Conde Nast Traveler’s 20 Best Islands in the World list. Not only that because our very own Palawan is on the number one spot, followed by Boracay (top 15) and Cebu (top 19). I am so ecstatic that even before the list was published I was able to visit these three amazing places. So before I get giddy writing the intro, here is the complete DIY travel guide to our ultimate Cebu Bohol adventure.

Day 1 & 2: Manila to Cebu – Cebu to Bohol – Bohol to Cebu

From Manila, we took a flight going to Mactan, Cebu. Travel time is approximately one hour and 20 minutes. At exactly 7 AM we arrived at Mactan Airport. From there, we took a cab and went to Cebu pier 1 to catch the boat going to Tubigon, Bohol. There are a lot of ferries that travels to Bohol and we chose MV Starcraft Ferry since it is the cheapest among others. Estimated travel time is one hour. Check their website to see the ferry-boat schedule and their rates.

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My friend Kat and I inside the ferry boat
Boat fare is 210 pesos each and we paid 25 pesos for the terminal fee.

Things to do in Bohol

1) Go to Chocolate Hills

For our first stop, we visited the famous Chocolate Hills of Bohol. It consists of 1268 cone-like hills spread over 50 square kilometers. The hills are green until the end of the dry season and then become chocolate brown, hence the name Chocolate Hills.

From port no need to ride a trike or pedicab. We just walked at least 5 minutes from port to van terminal going to Carmen, terminal is near McDonald’s.

Estimated travel time:

  • 1 hour van ride from Tubigon to Carmen
  • 10 – 15 minutes trike to Chocolate Hills

Fare/Fees:

  • Van – 80 pesos
  • Trike – 100 pesos
  • Entrance Fee to Chocolate Hills – 50 pesos

We climbed up this 200+ steep stairs and burned some calories just to see the magnificent view of the Chocolate Hills.

2) Mini tour in Bohol Habitat

This place has a butterfly sanctuary and restaurant inside. The tour guides here are very hospitable and funny. They made our mini tour here engaging and full of laughter while having rich information about butterflies and moths. Plus, they are good photographers!

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Estimated travel time:

  • 30 to 45 minutes bus ride from Carmen to Bilar (ask the driver to drop you off at Bohol Habitat)

Fare/Fees:

  • Bus – 20 pesos
  • Entrance fee – 40 pesos

3) Go biking around Panglao

We drove 10 kilometers from our hostel to Alona beach. Good thing that the weather is all good for a bike ride and the road is smooth and safe. We rented our bikes from Bohol Coco Farm for 100 pesos each.


4) Swimming in Alona beach, Panglao

The famous Alona Beach is in Panglao Island, it has a long stretch of yellowish-coral-sandy beach where the resorts, dive centers, restaurants and souvenir shops are also located. Honestly, we didn’t enjoy the beach that much because there are a lot of boats around the shore. But I can say that it is still worth visiting, though locals say that we should have gone to Dimalaluan beach instead of Alona.

Outside Hennan beach resort
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5) Visit Tarsier Convention Area

Our Bohol adventure would not be complete without seeing the tantalizing eyes of the smallest species here in the Philippines – the TARSIERS! Too bad it started to rain and all the tarsiers are hiding and I didn’t have a chance to have a closer photo of them.

Tarsiers have extremely large eyes and ears, and long tail and hind legs. They are nocturnal animals and hardly ever show themselves up during the day. One of their unique feature is they can rotate their head for 180 degrees without moving the rest of the body. This helps them remain “silent” while waiting for the prey to appear.

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There are buses passing thru outside Tarsier Convention Area, we ride a bus going to Carmen then ride again a van going to Tubigon Port.

Estimated Travel time:

  • 15 minutes van ride from our hostel to Tagbilaran
  • 30 minutes bus ride from Tagbilaran to Tarsier Covention Area in Loboc

Fare/Fees:

  • Van – 75 pesos
  • Bus – 30 pesos
  • Entrance Fee – 60 pesos

And that’s how we end our 1 and a half day tour in Bohol! Too bad, we weren’t able to go to Danao Adventure Park because it was closed due to the damage that was left by the earth quake last April 2013. I really wanted to try their Bunjee Jumping but I guess it’s a sign to go back here again.

Accommodation: Bohol Coco Farm

It’s a budget hostel in Panglao, rate is 350 per head or 700 pesos per kubo (nipa hut) which can accommodate up to 2 person. They also have rooms for bigger groups. Visit this link to know more about the place.

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Day 3: Moalboal and Kawasan Falls

Next stop, CEBU! From Pier, we took a cab and go to South Bus Terminal. Then we ride a bus going to Moalboal via Santander-Barili road. Travel time is almost 3 hours including the pick up and take off of the passengers per town. Bus fare (non aircon) is 115 pesos.

It was late midnight when we arrived at Moalboal, good thing that there are still tricycle drivers waiting. You just have to negotiate with them regarding the price cause if not they will ask you for a higher price.

We stayed for one night in Moalboal Backpacker Lodge, we rented a private studio with own T&B for 700 pesos. We chose to stay in Moalboal because it is closer to Badian where the Kawasan Falls is located.

One thing I learned from travelling is that finding the best accommodation is really an important part of the trip. Top three things that I always consider are the 1) location – its proximity to tourist spots and easy access from the road, 2) reviews – I love reading comments and recommendations from other travelers. It helps me to work out on my expectations regarding the place I wanted to visit or a hotel I wanted to stay.  And of course 3) the price – it should be budget friendly!

Kawasan Falls

Kawasan has three waterfalls. The first one is the largest, and is usually the most crowded. We didn’t have much time to explore the other waterfalls that’s why we spend most of our time in the first waterfall.

I love the scenery as we go walking to the falls. Its turquoise water is compelling. Really nature at its best! The waterfall is spectacular and sparkling. And the water itself is so fresh and cold.

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From Moalboal, we took a bus going to Badian. We ask the bus conductor to drop us at Matutinao Badian Church. From there, we walked for at least 10 to 15 minutes. We didn’t hire a tour guide and when we were asked if we know the place we immediately say yes. Because I read from other blogs that some people there will not stop bothering you if they know that you’re a first time traveler in Kawasan. Also, there are cottages and life vests available for rent.

Estimated travel time:

  • 15 to 20 minutes bus ride from Moalboal to Badian
  • 5 to 10 minutes trekking to the waterfalls

Fare/Fees:

  • Bus – 20 pesos
  • Entrance fee – 2o pesos
  • Cottage (round table) – 300 pesos
  • Life vest – 50 pesos

Moalboal beach – 2 minutes walk from our hostel
After that, we went back to our hostel and packed our things and travel to our next destination. From Moalboal, we ride a bus going to the town of Oslob. Bus fare is 70 pesos and estimated travel time is 1 hour and 30 minutes.

We took off at Oslob bus terminal and ride again a bus going to our resort. We stayed at Seafari Resort and enjoy our remaining time in there. Visit this link to check my full review on Where to stay in Cebu?

Day 4: Swimming with the whale sharks

For me this is the highlight of our Cebuhol adventure. I really had fun with my close encounter experience with the whale sharks and that left me a feeling of going back to this place, hoping to go back here next year.

Sharing with you my 5 Reasons why swimming with the Butanding is the best thing to do in Cebu.

Estimated travel time

  • 10 to 15 minutes boat ride from our Resort to Whale shark watching area

Fare/Fees:

  • Boat ride is free when you stay at Seafari Resort
  • 30 minutes swimming with the whale shark – 500 pesos

Heading back to Cebu City from Oslob took us 3 to 4 hours travel time and the bus fare is 140 pesos. Since our flight to Manila is scheduled late at night we decided to squeeze our time and roam around the city. We were able to visit 3 places: Ayala Center Cebu, Taoist Temple and Magellan’s Cross.

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I only spent 7100 pesos for our Cebu-Bohol trip; it includes accommodations, fares (except airfare), foods and pasalubong. See, it is possible to visit this two amazing places and experience riveting adventures for a budget amount. Happy travels fellow travelers! ūüôā

Disclaimer: Fare price and entrace fees indicated  above may change as this blogpost was written on the year 2015.

“Travelling is like flirting with life. It’s like saying, I would stay and love you, but I have to go; this is my station.” – Lisa St. Aubin de Teran

5 Reasons why swimming with the Butanding is the best thing to do in Cebu

Whale shark or Butanding (commonly known in Filipino) is a slow-moving filter-feeding animal that is considered as the largest fish in the sea, measuring 40 feet or more.  These sharks have very wide mouths which can reach nearly 5 ft. wide and can contain up to 350 rows of teeth. The head is flat and the eyes are located near the front of its head. While these sharks aren’t known to attack humans some speculate that a human could get caught in its large mouth, however even if this were to occur the throat of a whale shark is fairly small and it would be impossible for the shark to consume a person. These shark has even been said to be fairly friendly and playful with divers and may even let a diver hold on for a ride. (facts from whalefacts.org)

Here in the Philippines, there are several places you can go to-to experience whale shark watching/swimming.

So when I planned my Cebu and Bohol trip last June, I made sure to include¬†this in my itinerary. I didn’t regret to do so cause¬†it became¬†the highlight of my Cebuhol Adventure.

Overwhelmed by my experience, I decided to write my top 5 reasons why swimming with the gentle giants is the best thing to do when you go to Cebu.

1) Whale sharks are completely harmless so there’s no need to be afraid of them. They are filter feeders meaning they consume food by swimming towards it with their mouth open engulfing the prey that enters their mouth. Plus, they don’t eat humans!

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2) Gentle giants are truly gentle and friendly. Swimming and snorkeling with them is an amazing experience. Again, no need to be scared of these creatures. But, if you are too afraid of the giant fish then you can still watch them from the boat.

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3) You’ll enjoy it even if you’re not a professional swimmer. Besides the¬†boatmen will guide you and will even help you to have that instagram-worthy photo with the whale shark.

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4) Swimming with the Butanding makes me appreciate more the beauty of the underwater world. For me oceans are deep and magical and there are still a lot of things we need to see and discover.

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5) It is one of a kind experience that you shouldn’t miss!¬†An adventure you wouldn’t forget¬†and definitely worthy of your bucket list.

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Hopefully, these 5 reasons will inspire you to try this adventure when you visit Cebu.

Sharing with you my #niknakztraveltips when swimming with the whale sharks.

  • I would suggest to go there early to avoid the crowd. It is open from 6 AM to 12:30 PM.
  • You have to pay P500 for 30 minutes encounter with the whale shark and P300 for whale shark watching. Foreigners have¬†to pay for a higher rate. Snorkeling gear is free.
  • But, if you have your own gear then you better bring that with you if you don’t want to use snorkeling gear that has been used by others.
  • Whale shark watching is well organized by the local town people. Listen very carefully to the do’s and don’ts when swimming with the whale sharks. Compliance is a must.
  • Don’t bother to put sunscreen when you¬†go there,¬†you’ll end up removing it because it is not allowed to put sunblock when you swim with the whale shark.
  • You can rent an underwater camera if you don’t have one.
  • Enjoy the moment! It is really scary at first but once you’re in there you will feel amused and amazed by the gentle giants.

How to get there?

  • Book¬†a plane ticket to Mactan, Cebu with Air Asia, Cebu Pacific or PAL.
  • From Cebu City, go to¬†South Bus Terminal and take a Ceres bus going to Oslob.
  • In our case, we stayed in Seafari Resort in Oslob and they take us to whale shark watching area. Only 5 minutes boat ride from our resort.

Thank you for spending your time reading my first entry here in my blog. Happy Travels!

“Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventures.” – Lewis Carrolll, Alice in Wonderland