Captivating Calaguas

“One hell of a ride yet heaven when we arrived!”

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I have used that line back when we went to Dicasalarin Cove; but I think, the trip to Calaguas toppled it all in every aspect.

Why is that? Let’s go back to where my quick escape started…

But wait, check out first our happy faces and the beauty of Calaguas caught on cam here:

I am always a DIY person when it comes to traveling and soul searching. But whenever I’ll be organizing a trip for more than 8 pax, I’ll ask for someone else to do it for me – hence; Cookies Travel and Tours is my go to agent. Full list of itinerary and expenses below.

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Our group met at 9pm Friday night in SM North and braved the place where forever existed – EDSA. We stopped at 2nd pick up point in McDonald’s Buendia to meet the other groups the travel agency was hosting. All in, we’re about 4 groups (40 people displaced in 4 Grandia vans). This was the major setback – we didn’t have control over our time. We had to wait for other people to arrive, not to mention, how frequent they insisted on having stopovers after a couple of minutes cause they wanna pee (they’re already drinking along the way). Another thing that prolong our already long agony drive was that one van lost his way and we had to convene and discuss the plan (which I thought, they already had since they won’t be a travel agency for nothing, right?) Our estimated travel time of 7 hours became a dragging 12 hours. It’s safe to say I am reverting back to DIY trips be it a large group or what not. We reached Paracale, Camarines Norte at 9am.

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But that was not the worst part.

We only got half an hour before we board our boat– our group dispersed in buying last minute essentials – (2) 5 gallon water, plastic bags for waterproofing our things, pulutan, coffee and booze. We hopped on to a 25-capacity banca hoping against hope – a safe, smooth ride.

Safe? Debatable. Smooth? That was the craziest, bumpiest,stomach- turning, worst boat ride I experienced to date. We’re like survivor castaways (yes we’re dripping wet, wet from the rain and waves!) with no staff and crew to help if the boat stumbled over. A normal person could’ve endured that ride given enough rest. Luckily, our case was entirely the opposite. Hashtag no pun. The other groups had it worse, yup the ones I mentioned drinking, you can imagine how comfortable their trip was –stretch it to freaking two and half hours of seesaw motion.

Finally, our faces lit up when we saw the captivating Calaguas’ coast!

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Huge surfer waves welcomed us as we alight the boat. I couldn’t care less since I was already soaking wet – I jumped off as soon as we reached the shore. The struggle was real when we needed to transport our belongings off the boat.
Tips: Waterproof your things! Bring raincoat or plastic jacket too!

We were exhausted from the trip that waiting for our travel agency to cook us food would drove us nuts. Good thing, one of our friends, prepared a packed lunch good for 10 pax. What a relief. Another tip right there!

Now a bit energized, we faced yet another roadblock – setting up the Vango (the humongous 10 people tent where you can glamp all night long). After an hour, we managed to erect the goddamn shelter. And the food from our agent were ready too. Round 2 of Man Vs Food commenced.

With no cellular service, we were left to enjoy what we have around – good company, majestic view, fine sand, amazing beach. who am I to complain right?! Sometimes, it’s exhilarating to disconnect from the world and strengthen your relationship to the real connections you got – your family, your friends. The virtual world will still be there when you get back, trust me.

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With our phones just for snapping pics, playing JB songs, and occasionally as flash light, time surely can pass slowly. We partied the night around in our rented nipa hut and drank til we drop in the sand. Dancing and shouting  in the shore like crazy, oh boy, hashtag no regrets. I remembered sleeping in the tent only to wake up an hour later. That’s my body clock telling me to sleep anywhere but here.

I was greeted by a cool island breeze as I step out of the tent. My friends and I decided to play volleyball and cap it off by a morning swim.

Ronnie of PlanB tours invited us for a quick 10 minute hike to a hill at one end of the island. We got to see an awesome scenic view of Calaguas and its neighboring islands. What a sight!

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The waters of Calaguas isn’t for the weak of heart – especially when you easily get sea sick. But for those who can endure the ride – this piece of heaven is for you. Boracay can boast its impeccable white sand and crystal clear waters but Calaguas can rival its spotless, powdery sand and the serenity this virgin island has to offer.

Itinerary 

Day 1

9:00 pm Pick up point SM North

10:00 pm McDonald’s/ Shell Buendia bound for Paracale

9:00 am Paracale, Camarines Norte

9:00 – 10:00 am Waterproofing, last minute shopping

10:00 – 12:30 pm Epic boat ride

12:30 pm Lunch, set up tent

1: 30 – 6:00 pm Beach time

6:30 pm Dinner

7:00 pm – 5:00 am Walwal aka party all night long

Day 2

7:00 am – Breakfast

8:00 am – 11:30 am Volleyball, swim, hike

11:30 am – Depart Calaguas

1:30 pm – ETA Paracale port

7:00 pm – ETA Manila

Expenses:

Cookies Travel and Tour: Calaguas

2D/1N stay at P 2,999/head

Package includes:

Roundtrip van transfer

Environmental fee

Entrance fee

Roundtrip boat transfer

3 Meals – Lunch, Dinner and Breakfast

Personals (transpo and dinner at McDo)  x contribution (booze, food, essentials): approximately P 1,000
I’m pretty sure my friends won’t be back here anytime soon. As for me, I am open for any invites!

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Quezon Buffet – Best Sisig in the Metro

Traveling at my own cost really took a toll on my personal savings (or what’s left of it). Laughs – not really. Reviewing a newly opened buffet restaurant was definitely a breath of fresh air. Since it’s free, that’s where I gotta be.

When you had something for free and it was bad – you don’t have a say. On the contrary, if it was good and free at the same time – it’s like winning a raffle. In my case, a lottery.

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I arrived at Fisher Mall at half past four – way late from the 2:00 pm call time. Although, I came all the way from Cavite, I thought to myself, well if the event’s done, I deserved it cos of my ever reliable time management. Lo and behold, it’s as if the event waited for me. The counters were all served with sumptuous offerings. Other dishes being replenished as I salivate at the side.

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What Quezon Has To Offer

Quezon buffet boasts its decadence array of strong Filipino – Spanish tie through its immaculate dishes of gastronomic proportions.

I couldn’t even put to words my exact thoughts when I had my first sisig bite. It just exploded in my palate. Their sisig dish comes in three’s: Bangus, Chicken and Pork. I know sisig isn’t for everyone – but please take my word for it to drop by whenever you’re around the area.

I’m not skipping the best part (for most foodies). Not far where I left my heart lay another heart wrenching dish – lechon! Yes I’m not that of a huge fan; but, oh boy, the crispness, texture and flavor can be compared to the infamous Cebu’s Zubuchon. And they serve it at a buffet – how dope! Lechon Chili Belly all-you-want definitely sounds my cup of tea.

I know, I know these dishes must be paired with rice, right? Quezon buffet didn’t disappoint offering yet another scene stealer – Paella. Filled with mussels, pork bits and veggies. Kanin pa lang ulam na!

Other food choices include Beef Kare Kare, Sinigang sa Pula, Dinakdakan, Callos, Bulalo Steak among others. I had a few portions and came back to refill my plate. Nothing is going wrong for Chef Kalel and his team!

How rude of me not to talk about desserts! Their leche flan (crĂšme caramel) and brazo de mercedes were to die for! Not literally of diabetes cos they have a balanced level of sucrose – not too sweet making me feel less guilty I gave in to temptation. Make your own halo-halo, turon with langka, sticky pudding with mango purĂ©e, palitaw and other kakanins completed the line up of the desserts. Very Pinoy, indeed.

Ambiance & Staff

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Faint lighting from their posh chandeliers wrapped around the banquet making the ambiance very cozy and relaxing. The restaurant can host around 200 people – perfect for all occasions. Although the opening was swamped (not seen in the photo) and looked undermanned, the staff were accommodating and more than willing to satisfy everyone’s needs. They sure replenish the food fast – perhaps because it’s the opening with media and celebrities gracing the event.

I do wish they continue this going forward – cos it makes or break a buffet restaurant.

Price

Absolutely affordable. Treat your family, friends, colleagues here. Quezon buffet will do the rest.

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So it is now safe to say I am a travel foodie. Thank you thewanderjunkie for accompanying me gatecrash this event.

We sure had a lot of laughs and our stomachs full.

Thanks again Quezon buffet for showcasing and being the forefront in promoting our rich Filipino cuisine.

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Take Me Away ♩ â™Ș â™«

Living in the world of dreams,

We can make it happen


We are the youth of today,

We can prove it to them

Refrain 1

So come with me let’s take a stand,

Reach our goals hand in hand

Chorus

Take me away, I don’t wanna live in this world

Where no one cares, no one shares.

Can’t hide the fears, living in the darkness

That I need to conquer.. need to conquer..

Living in the world with Hope,

Winston and Philip Morris.

They’re my only friends,

They f*ckin really understand me.

Refrain 2

Music changed my life before,

Oh I know it’s a bore.

Repeat Chorus twice


Note: I wrote this song when I was 13 years old, I’ll probably soundcloud this when I have a studio of my own. For now, my blog will do.

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Dean

10 Selfish Reasons Why I Won’t Take You To The Movies

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  1. Movies last for about 2 hours tops and I can’t risk it having you get bored and cease interest in the film; or worst, in me.
  2. I don’t want you to see what others are seeing – I just want you to look at me.
  3. I won’t allow you be caged in the darkness; the theater that is, the whole world needs to witness how special you are.
  4. I’d rather spend the two hours arguing, get lost conversing about the gravitational pull, laws of attraction, and how the universe conspires than succumbing to silence with our eyes glued to the big screen and losing you in the process.
  5. I can’t allow you be seated with someone else and have the risk of your elbows touching, eyes meeting & popcorn sharing.
  6. Movies end period. I don’t want us to.
  7. Your precious name won’t be in the end credits – don’t worry this post is just for you.
  8. I know all about your inviting laughs, heavy hands and how shallow your tears are – we don’t need to see a movie for me to witness that in just one seating. We can do that everyday.
  9. I don’t want you to relate yourself in a particular character in the movie – I just want us to be us, you to be you and me to be me.
  10. Why take you to the movies? We are already in a romantic comedy flick starring you and me.

El Nido or Coron?

This is my take on the Palawan dilemma our country is currently facing. Yes, I know this is serious and should be featured on the nightly news.

Yesterday, I underwent odontectomy where my wisdom tooth #48 (lower right molar) was surgically removed. Now, I have pretty much ample time to dwell on some serious matters. One of which is the ever bugging question I received from friends, which is really is which
 El Nido or Coron?

El Nido, 2012 (Snake Island)

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Coron, 2014 (Mt. Tapyas View Deck)

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My answer would always be – depends on what you’re after. The two places offer exquisite experience for nature lovers. If you’re into a quieter, more serene, soul searching vibe – I would suggest El Nido. Otherwise, go to Coron.

The much better option would be why not go and see both, right?

I did.

And boy, those trips were forever etched in my adventure seeking heart.

I ‘ll give a rundown of my travels – first up would be El Nido then Coron. So quickies, shall we?


Use El Nido in a sentence: Go for it! El Nido to go for it! (okay it sucked but believe when I tell you to go and fly here!)

My orgmates fresh outta college decided to pay a visit to Lisa’s hometown – El Nido. Who am I not to join, especially when most of our expenses will be shouldered by her. I have such great friends, right? This trip didn’t just bring me to one of the best destinations in the Philippines; or perhaps, in the world but awakened my traveling feet. 3 years later, I’ve been to major hot spots in the country and now starting a travel blog.

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Itinerary & expenses of my PPS x El Nido trip

Day 1 Puerto Princesa (PPS)

Dinner at Ka Lui – 8 to 10:00 PM (200-300php/pax)

Firefly watching – 10:30 PM (didn’t push through due to weather)

Day 2 PPS to El Nido

ETD from Lisa’s house (PPS proper) to Sabang (drop off going to Underground river) – 7:00 AM

Underground river tour – approx. 9 to 11:00 AM (Free c/o my generous friend Lisa)

Lunch – Sabang (Buffet at 200php)

ETD Sabang to El Nido: 1:00 PM

ETA El Nido: 6 to 7:00 PM

>walk by the beach, explore town, dinner and walwal!  (Expenses depend on your preference)

Oh my hello El Nido!!!

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Day 3 El Nido

> Whole day island hopping – (Package B 800php/pax)

Day 4 El Nido to PPS

> If you guys have tour packages then good for you. For those who are backpacking, you have to rent a van that will take you to PPS. Well that’s the case back then, I don’t know now if they have established public vehicles now. Feel free to comment. As for our case, thanks again to Lisa for providing the van and just had us chip in for gas which cost me a staggering 100php for a 6 hr ride.

> Lunch at PPS ( approx.150-200php)

> Rushed city tour and souvenir shopping before the flight (1000php)

Expenses:

Air Fare: Php 2600

Day 1: Php 400 (Dinner at Ka Lui)

Day 2: Php 400 (100 for breakfast and 200 for lunch at Sabang)

Day 3: Php 1800 (800 for Package B and 1000 for food & lodging during my entire El Nido stay)

Day 4: Php 1300 (gas x lunch x pasalubong expenses)

Total: Php 6,500 (including air fare)

Notes: Careful planning is the key in visiting El Nido as you will need a transportation time of about 12 hours (round trip via land). Travel and tour packages definitely make traveling easier. But hey, I’m a backpacker and a big fan of DIY trips. So if you insist of backpacking El Nido and saving money in the process, by all means 🙂

Yey we’re complete here! Let’s set another one, out of the country maybe?

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Let’s get it on, Coron!

I dare you, yes you reader, go book a weekend flight to Coron/Busuanga (preferably this coming weekend and a seat sale) and never come back. Kidding! Just a weekend trip, no plans, no ifs, no buts. I guarantee you, you won’t regret it. Well, you might. You might regret staying for just a couple of days. That’s the good thing in Coron (aside from stable commercial flights – as opposed to El Nido), you can definitely find a place to stay even after you land! And go with whatever you wanna do in the island while you’re at it.

Top View (photo taken a Mt. Tapyas View Deck)

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Yeah, you get to see that after climbing a flight of stairs, 700++ steps to be clear.

Itinerary x Expenses

Day 1

Mt. Tapyas hike (Php 100 – 3 bottled water)

Maquinit Hotspring (Php 150 entrance)

Day 2

Whole day island hopping part 1( approx. Php 1000)

It’s underwater madness down there, I am urchin everyone not to step on anything! Oops!

Dinner at local restaurant (Php 300)

Social drinks at No Name Bar (Php 300)

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Day 3

Island hopping part 2 (approx Php 850)

Ship wrecks, fish feeding, picturesque views, Kayangan lake’s brackish water.. Coron got it all!

Pasalubong hunting (Php 200)

Tipid dinner in the city (Php 100)

3 night stay at Kimberly’s (Php 3600 good for 3 pax)

  • Php 1200 per pax

Miscellaneous (transportation, bottled water, some toiletries, etc) Php 300

Air fare: Php 1200

Total: Php 5,700 (including air fare)

I got to experience Coron for 4 days in less than Php 6,000 (~$130)

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And I was dancing Nae nae long before its hype.

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See you again, Palawan! My family and I will be flying back to El Nido by mid next year. I will make sure to provide you guys with an intensive blog post by then. I realized I was there in El Nido for just more than a day. Next year, I’ll stay there for the entire week (hoping)

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Credits to Lisa, Anjo, Migs (who almost died reaching the Mt. Tapyas’ 400th step) and Poli for some of the photos posted here.

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The Unofficial Newsletter

I wasn’t just a cadet engineer back in 2012 but an editor-in-chief of our supposedly-department-newsletter. It wasn’t published due to some constraints (let’s just leave it at that). I guess the purpose of this post is to tell everyone how a person with no editorial-know-how (aka yours truly) have come up with such a complex output.

Originally, the plan was to create a newsletter in pdf (paperless, yeah go green). I envisioned a better one. Aside from gripping, relevant and entertaining articles, I wanted it to be more than just your ordinary “scroll-up-down” newsletter. The challenge I posed myself was to design a newsletter in pdf with webpage functionality.

I am no one-man-team. In order to bring this project to life I needed not two, but more than a dozen heads. The exchange of ideas was the key factor why I was very proud when we reached the final draft.

Developing this interactive webpage like pdf version was one thing (pardon my ignorant terms), coming up with articles to include was another. Through InDesign, the newsletter was published like browsing a webpage. After much discussion with the team, the newsletter job was to introduce the department to the whole Emerson community, discuss technical transcendence and innovation, highlight issues at hand; and provide entertaining takes on food, series (I am a self confessed US TV series addict), and employees.

We weren’t able to publish it back then but I’m blogging about it now (the rebel in me is leaping). Shout out to my wonderful team who made this effort possible.

You can view or download the pdf file here: Technically Speaking

For whatever reason, the newsletter isn’t functioning 100% when viewed on browser. If you can download it and open using Adobe reader, I’ll definitely appreciate it. Enjoy the articles, quickies!

Disclaimer: This is not an official newsletter of Emerson Climate Technologies. This is a shelved project of the company intended to be released in the year 2013, some information may be irrelevant now. I just released it to let everyone know how they can think outside the box and be creative in their respective fields. Credits to Windows template and to owners of the photos included in the newsletter.

Liebster Award

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I didn’t know Liebster award existed until I got a notification that I was nominated. Basically, this was given to bloggers by bloggers so thanks Vinne for the nomination!

I decided to deviate a bit from the rules provided by Vinne and got this new set online.

The Official Rules Of The Liebster Award

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and post a link to their blog on your blog.
  2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)
  3. Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
  4. Provide 11 random facts about yourself.
  5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)
  6. Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.
  7. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:
  8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)

So here are the questions from Vinne:

What is the main reason why you started blogging?

I wanted to tell the world how beautiful the Philippines is. Well that’s the initial plan, now I’m looking forward to my first overseas trip and can’t wait to share it with everyone!

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What sort of activity you really wanted to do but too afraid to do it?

Drag racing & motocross – I’m an adrenaline junkie but these two extreme sports require training and practice which I can’t commit at the moment. On a personal note, I would love to let go of all my insecurities and don’t give the world a f*ck – easier written than done.

What is your favorite colour and why?

Red. Blame it to red mighty morphin power ranger that made my childhood interesting. Aside from the fact that it’s visually striking, it compliments my fair skin. Haha

Do you believe in horoscope?

Yes to some extent. I’m a Scorpio and if the reading is favorable to me, I will definitely believe it. If not, then I’ll just shake it off. Horoscope readings are there as a guide, you may or may not accept it – depending on your preference.

Are you left handed or right handed?

Right handed.

What do you like most, reading or writing?

Hmm, this is a hard one. Depends on my mood I guess. I love both. I read to enhance my writing.

Do you have any New Year resolution? Please explain.

No. I have never succeeded in fulfilling my New Year’s resolution so instead I just live in the moment.

What is your favorite season?

Definitely summer! I love to soak my skin in the sun and have that shiny tan (laughs)!

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If you have a million dollar what will you do to spend it and why?

Invest half of it on our soon-to-be family business. Learn to invest people – especially the young ones. Don’t just save up, invest too. The other half – I’ll take my family to a journey of a lifetime.

Taxi ride on a busy/traffic-jammed road or drive your own car?

I could’ve easily picked take a train; but since I’m limited to these two – I would drive my own car and belt out Ed Sheeran songs to avoid boredom.

What do you believe in?

I believe that once you put your mind to it – there’s nothing you can’t do.


11 random facts about myself:

1989 baby x I sing and write songs x frustrated dancer x US Series addict x learning to quit smoking x into extreme adventures x haven’t been outside Philippines x starting to work out x huge Ed Sheeran fan x never been to any international concert act ever x sarcastic AF and I just like to have fun


I nominate the following bloggers:

  1. Daryl of thewanderjunkie
  2. Diane of dianecheng
  3. This lovely couple of ChrisChels Explores
  4. Lizzie of pocketplanet
  5. Rachelle of rsfdeep

Hello nominees!

Here are the questions I sewed specifically tailored for you guys:

  1. What keeps you busy?
  2. Dogs or cats?
  3. Biggest regret of your life?
  4. What’s your favorite song? Please provide an excerpt from its lyrics that struck you most.
  5. Do you believe in after life?
  6. You are the happiest when?
  7. If you are given the chance to change the ending of a timeless movie, how will it go?
  8. What and where is your most memorable trip or experience?
  9. Which do you prefer series or movie? Kindly provide your favorite character.
  10. What is the most outrageous thing you’ve done?
  11. What type of charity or foundation will you set up?