We woke up early at 5am to visit Taj Mahal, the India’s most famous site which is listed in the Seven Wonders of the World. Sunrise is said to be the best time to visit for less crowd and colder temperature. We left the hotel at 5:30am and arrived at the Nature Park in less … Read more Steamy Moments at Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri
Where is that? It’s the normal question from someone who is not familiar with the country of Maldives. It is a small country consisting of several islands located in Indian Ocean. Its neighboring countries are India and Sri Lanka. There is no direct flight from Saudi Arabia going to Maldives as far as I know. … Read more Sighted the Islands of Maldives
I received a call from Cebu Pacific that they cancelled our early morning flight to Caticlan because of typhoon. They gave us options on how to deal with our flight. It’s either in form of full refund or re-booking without fees. I asked the staff if possible to join the flight on the next day … Read more Re-routed to Plantation Bay
Our tourist guide named Ernie picked us in the hotel at 7pm. On the way, we picked us a couple, and a family with four members. All of us have the same status as explained by Ernie. Booking for Underground River tour should be done a month before of planned vacation. Our group just have … Read more Spying Underground River and Caving in Ugong Rock
We woke up early for our Thai breakfast at 7am. The dish was like a porridge with so many spices. The taste was very flavorful. We then prepared to Taling Chan Floating Market which was just 20 minutes from the hotel according to the google map. Unfortunately, the taxi only brought us at Taling Chan … Read more Temples, Palace, Cruise, and a Lotus
We traveled for around five hours from Pagadian to reach Zamboanga, the only Latin city of the country. As noticed, some of the stores’ names are written in an uncommon word and the dialect used is “chavacano” which is almost related to Spanish language.
Location: Zambonga City, Philippines
Where I Stayed: Casa Canelar
Buddy: Group (5+)
We checked-in at Casa Canelar and offered us a spacious family room on the 3rd floor for P1,800. The hotel didn’t offer the usual bed and breakfast scheme. The reception at the ground floor was the backdoor of the Gerry’s Grill Restaurant. The best thing here was, the reception collected our ordered foods and the restaurant’s staff delivered it directly to our room.
In the afternoon, we roamed on the busiest street of the city which historically witnessed the war siege in 2013. We visited the Spanish era buildings of the municipal hall and its neighboring establishments. We walked on the aisle and waited for the romantic sunset at Paseo del Mar. We also visited and increased our spiritual reflection on the mass held in the shrine of Fort Pilar, an old fortress built by Spanish long time ago.
In the afternoon, we headed to the City’s Barter to buy souvenirs. Zamboanga products are characterized by Muslims textiles symbolizing its colorful culture. The different designs of “sarong” and “malong” are the best buys. We enhanced our bidding and bargaining skills for there were so many stores to choose.
After buying souvenirs, we visited the Butterfly Garden. I’ve been to several butterfly sanctuaries but only on that garden I saw and encountered so many live butterflies. We also visited the nearby museum, El Museo de Zamboanga. Unfortunately, the museum was already closed.
We will be staying in El Nido for two days only, so we decided to do a private island tour. I met a tour operator and we both agreed with P4,500 payment for a combined tour of A and C. It sounds expensive for a single payee but my excitement and expectations weighed more than the price.
The TOUR A for a joining guest costs P700 per head while the TOUR C is P900. To make the tours private and exclusive, a costumer should pay the amount equivalent to four persons. In our case, we bargained the combined tour to the lowest price.
ISLAND HOPPING. We just finished our breakfast at 7:30am when the boatman and his assistant (tour guide as well) fetched and brought us to the boat to start the island tour. Drinking water was not included, so we bought first from the nearby store before leaving the bay.
Our first stop was the Hidden Beach. It is hidden because the boat will pass through a narrow passage in between of cliffs. Our guide, brought us to a cave on which the exit is on the other side. We took care and being careful with our feet because the rocks are pointed and sharp. I really loved the place and enjoyed its natural beauty.
We left the beach and sighted the locally known helicopter island but we didn’t have time to drop on it. We continued to our second destination which was the Matinloc Shrine. Our boat docked in a jetty yard of an abandoned mansion and a catholic shrine. We visited its underground museum and have glanced on the remaining old pictures of the owner and the last activities held in the island. We climbed the cliff near the shrine and reached the wooden cross situated on the top. From there, we saw the wonderful blue colored seawater and the neighboring beach, called the Star Beach. Our guide also toured us quickly inside the mansion and scared us with his horror stories encountered in this place. Why was the owner abandoned this beautiful mansion and the government never develop it? Besides, it’s part of the attractions and most requested site as part of El Nido island tours.
Our third stop was the Secret Beach. At first, we were wondering if what are those boats are doing on that side of the cliff. Some tourists were bravely swimming against the strong waves. Our guide explained that there is a small cave on that cliff which serves as only way to a beach inside. It is called the secret beach. So, we wore our life vests and swam towards the cave. Bigger camera are not advisable to bring. Our guide voluntarily carried my small camera which wrapped securely inside a plastic bag. We stayed for a few minutes in the secret beach, swimming and snorkeling.
It’s already 12nn and were looking for a place for lunch which mostly done in Simizu Beach. But the boatman suggested that it is better to visit the Big Lagoon first while it is still high tide. It’s hard for a boat to reach the lagoon during low tide. So we headed to the big lagoon passing the five star Miniloc Resort. The Big Lagoon location is similar with the hidden beach for we also entered a narrow path between cliffs. The water here was so blue and deep. During that time, only our group was in the place. Our guide noticed that we’re afraid so he jumped first in the water to prove that it is safe. My wife was so brave and followed him. There’s no reason for me to be afraid. We didn’t stay in the water for so long. We left the place and headed to Simizu Beach for lunch.
Our boatman spotted a private beach, fronting Simizu Beach, as a perfect place for lunch. We docked and while we were enjoying the water, they were busy on grilling the pork and fish for our lunch. They set up and prepared everything. Our table situated on the beach was so romantic.The grilled pork was so delicious which tempted us to ask their secret ingredients on marinating the pork.
After our lunch, we went to the Secret Lagoon. We explored first the place before entering the lagoon. The place was one of the host island of European TV show Survivor. Some evidences are still visible like the posted lamp they used. We headed inside the lagoon entering a small cave opening. It’s really amazing that Palawan has plenty of attractions like this. The lagoon covered by cliffs and rocky mountain.
Our next stop was the Small Lagoon. Contrary to the big lagoon, I’m not afraid here because there were so many people. The boat can enter the big lagoon while the boat stay outside of the small lagoon. We managed to swim to the cave within the lagoon. I noticed that it was more tiring to paddle when swimming towards the middle. Our guide said that we were opposing the water current. We can swim faster when we’re going out. We stayed in small lagoon for half an hour and decided to leave the area for our last island tour.
The boat stopped in Seven Commandos Beach, where there’s a long beach side. The heat was extremely hot so we just take a short bath and hide among the trees. After 30 minutes, we asked out boatman to bring us back to our resort. We finished our tour ahead of the normal tour schedule for we wanted to catch the sunset in El Nido beach. That is the advantage of a private tour. We controlled our time and movements.
It was low tide when we’re heading to our hotel. So the boat stopped few meters away from the beach.
DINNER. At 5pm, we rode a tricycle going to El Nido town. The beach side was busy for boats, tourists, and children who were playing happily. We walked from the market up to the last building along beach side of El Nido passing all the advertised beachfront hotels. At the end of the beach is El Nido Corner Restaurant and Bar. We’re so lucky that the place was nicely situated for sighting the sunset in Bacuit Bay. One thing I noticed, the place is with high humidity. The wind couldn’t reach the community because of mountains which are surrounding and covering the area.