Road Trip to Southern Iloilo

During our recent trip back home, Lyndon and I decided to go on a road trip along the coastal towns of Southern Iloilo. The Southern part of Iloilo have plenty to showcase and is home to some of the Philippine’s cultural gems. We brave the sun and the long ride in a motorcycle and started our adventure in the humble town of Tigbauan.

Tigbauan Church

Tigbauan Church or St. John of Sahagun Parish Church, Tigbauan, Iloilo
Tigbauan Church facing the town plaza.

Tigbauan Church or the St. John of Sahagun Parish church is located in my hometown, Tigbauan. Reported to be the only Latin-American inspired church in the Philippines, Tigbauan Church is indeed amazingly unique. It was constructed in 1575 but destroyed by an earthquake in 1948, leaving only the façade, the bell tower and a few columns of the convent.

The church’s interiors was gradually rebuilt through the efforts of Tigbaueños. Take a peek inside and you will see mosaics throughtout the church’s interior made by local artists.

Make sure to drop by whenever you travel to Southern Iloilo!

Tigbauan Plaza

Tigbauan plaza newly-constructed fountain.
Local government continues to improve the municipality’s plaza.

Right across the Tigbauan Church is the town’s plaza. We noticed improvements since the last time we went to this place. A large fountain with the municipality logo  was constructed at the center of the plaza. It was noon when we went there and the fountain is not in operation but it was indeed a spectacular place to hang out during the afternoon.

Superhero Statues – Guimbal Highway

As we head towards the town of Guimbal, we happen to notice statues of superheroes lined up along the highway. To be specific the statues are in front of Exact Training Center in Guimbal.

We stopped by and had some fun photoshoot with our favorite superheroes. It is along the highway so please be very careful of the passing vehicles.

Guimbal Church

Guimbal Church, Guimbal, Iloilo
Guimbal Church was established in 1774.

One of the oldest churches in the Philippines, Guimbal church or the St. Nicolas of Tolentino Parish is impossible to miss due to its yellow sandstone facade. Imagine the coral stones and adobe stones that the church is made of were quarried from the island of Guimaras.

The church was also destroyed during World War II and 1948 earthquake so the church have to undergo reconstruction twice. The church’s belfry which is four storeys high also acts as a watchtower against invading Moros during Spanish period.

Make sure to include Guimbal Church in your bucketlist whenever you visit Iloilo!

Miag-ao Church

Miag-ao Church, Miag-ao, Iloilo
Miag-ao Church was designated as one of the best examples of the Baroque Churches of the Philippines in 1993.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a sight to behold. The Miag-ao Church or the  Santo Tomas de Villanueva Parish Church is one of the Philippine’s architectural gems because of its unique and majestic structure. 

When we arrived in Miag-ao, several tourists on group tour were busy taking photos of Miag-ao Church. It is indeed one of the must-visit places in the province of Iloilo.

Sulu Garden, Miag-ao

This Japanese-Philippines inspired restaurant is a dainty and cozy place to enjoy your lunch or dinner. It is our first time in Sulu Garden and we actually enjoyed the experience. Menu comprises of Filipino and Japanese cuisine. 

While waiting for our food to be served, we took our time taking photos in their garden featuring fish ponds, river view, miniature architectures such as pagoda, hobbit holes and bell towers. See their website: https://sulugarden.com/.

Campo Santo de San Joaquin

San Joaquin Cemetery is located along the Iloilo-Antique National Road in San Joaquin, Iloilo. If you are not attentive enough and you are driving fast, you might miss it.

Considered one of the tourist attractions in San Joaquin because of its Baroque-style Camposanto or mortuary chapel and is one of the most preserved ancient Roman Catholic cemeteries in Iloilo.  

We made sure to be extra quiet when we were taking photos so we won’t disturb the dead.

San Joaquin Church

 San Joaquin Church, San Joaquin, Iloilo
Located beside the town’s plaza, San Joaquin Church magnificently stands overlooking the sea.

Another cultural gem of the Philippines is the San Joaquin Church built in 1869, made of limestones quarried from the mountains of Igbaras and white coral stones from the shores of San Joaquin.

The church is unique, with its intricately designed facade where sculptural relief representing the victory of Spanish over Moroccan forces is shown. Hence, the church distinguishes itself from other churches in the Philippines because of its militaristic theme.

After looking around the town plaza of San Joaquin, we decided to head back home and call it a day. If we drive further we could have arrived in the province of Antique.

It is indeed fun driving around Southern Iloilo. There is much to see and do aside from the ones we mentioned. But due to our limited time we can only explore spots along the highway.

Have you explored Southern Iloilo? Share your experience with us.

DIY Japan Itinerary (Nagoya – Kyoto – Nara)

Japan Banner

Japan maybe is the most desired country for most visitors, I bet everyone know why, from temples, shrines, the scenic views, the streets, Ninja, Anime up to the discipline of Japanese people. Indeed Japan has to lot to offer.

For us it is a dream destination, a dream that actually came true earlier than we expected and plan it to be. Although we have a lot of dream travel destinations that we keep on chasing one by one, Japan stands out. So, when we stumble upon a seat sale that is affordable for us, we never think twice and booked it immediately.

So here are DIY travel tips that we can share for your easy and budget friendly Japan travel. Our Japan travel is purely DIY, we did not booked anything in advance like tours, train tickets and Wi-Fi except for a hotel as this is an immigration requirement. If you follow us on Instagram you know that we always preferred DIY travels.

EXPENSES

Ticket: P 12,436.62 RT 2 pax

Visa processing: P 1,900 2pax

Travel Tax: P 3240.00 2 pax

Pocket Money: ¥ 100,000.00 (P 47,780.00) 2 pax – Exchanged through Metrobank

Total Budget for 5N4D: P 65, 356.62 (All in)

Breakdwon expenses of Pocket money ¥ 100,000.00 for 2 pax:

  1. Hotel accommodation for 5 nights 4 days – Booked Through Booking.com ( ¥ 19,600.00 for 2 pax (Hostel Kyoto) and ¥ 5,850.00 for 2 pax (Hotel Wing International Nagoya)
  2. Train tickets (Unlimited Kintetsu rail pass for 5 days ) – ¥ 7,600.00 for 2 pax)
  3. Pocket Wi-Fi ( ¥ 600, 1 GB per day for 5 days = ¥ 3,000.00)
  4. Food
  5. Tour Entrances
  6. ICOCA cards (¥ 2,000.00 per card ¥ 1500.00 useable and ¥ 500 deposit each plus ¥ 1,000.00 reload each. = ¥ 6,000.00) – Bus and Local Trains Transportation
  7. Souvenirs

ITINERARY

Our Arrival is at Chubu Centrair International Airport, at first we thought that we may have made a mistake booking in Nagoya since when we do our first research there’s not much of attraction in the area and travel from Nagoya to Kyoto cost a lot. This is where we are mistaken, digging further and researching more and more, we realized that this is an ideal place to start exploring Japan and it is not that expensive traveling to Kansai Region from Nagoya. We have not followed fully our original itinerary but hey, the true essence of DIY travel for us is to be flexible.

Day 0: (July 5, 2019) – Arrival

Arrived at Chubu Centrair International Airport (Nagoya) – 8:40 p.m. Rent Wifi at Global Wifi.

Travel to Nagoya Station (¥ 1,600.00 2 pax)

Walk to Hotel Wing International Nagoya and checked-in – ¥ 5,850.00 (P 2,757.00)

Eat and then rest (Bought food from 7 Eleven)

Day 1: (July 6, 2019) – Travel to Kyoto

  • Eat breakfast and walk to Nagoya Station (Bought food from 7 Eleven)
  • Purchased two unlimited Kintetsu rail pass for 5 days at Nagoya station – ¥ 7, 600.00 (P 3,800.00)
  • Travel to Ise – Nakagawa (Travel time: Approx. 1 hour and a half)
  • Stop over and eat light meal (Bought food from Family mart)
Walking in the streets of Nagoya.
Walking in the streets of Nagoya on the way to Nagoya Station.

We actually intended to explore Ise-Jingu before going to Kyoto but we left Nagoya late so we have to set aside Ise.

  • From Ise Nakagawa travel to Yamato-Yagi Station (Travel time: Approx. 1 hour and a half)
  • From Yamato-Yagi Station travel to Kyoto Station (Travel time: Approx. 50 minutes)
  • Eat light food at Kyoto station (Remaining food from Ise Nakagawa)
  • Walk to Walker Hostel Kyoto

Walker Hostel Kyoto is a highly recommended hostel, the owner Leo is so accommodating and explain to us every must-visit destination in the Kyoto and how the train and buses work, it is a big help. It is also near the Temples of west Kyoto, you can actually just walk to explore these temples from the hostel. Just outside the hostel is the Sokujo-in temple but we have not visited it.

Walker hostel Kyoto
Walker Hostel Kyoto
  • Rest and walk to Nineizaka, Yasaka Shrine and Gion District (Entrance fee: Free)
  • Eat some local dish and take home food from Family mart for dinner and breakfast for the next day.

You may say that we spent our first day just by travelling but when you are on the train and watching every village and city, riding the train is already an attraction.

Japan Street Food
Japan street food for dinner. Yum!
I find this quite interesting.

Day 2: (July 7, 2019) – Arashiyama

  • Walk from Hostel to Kyoto station

We opt to walk early in the morning to familiarized the area, we passed by Kamogawa river, bridges where you can see trains from underneath when they pass by, railways, Kyoto tower and the streets were amazing.

  • Ride local trains to Saga – Arashiyama (Travel time: 25 minutes)
  • Walk from Saga – Arahiyama Station to bamboo forest and explore

Come early in the morning before 7:00 a.m. is advisable

  • Eat light snacks (Steamed pork bun and Macha ice cream sandwich is a must try)
  • Walk to Jojakko-Ji temple and explore – 5 minutes walk from Bamboo forest ( Entrance fee: ¥ 500 per pax)
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
We also took our couple photos DIY. Just put the camera on the ground! 😀
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
The bamboo forest is so fascinating that we spent most of our morning here.

In addition to Tenryu-JI temple, Jojakko-Ji temple is a must visit place, it is so serene, there’s a lot to explore inside plus the amazing view at the top overlooking Kyoto and not much of a tourist coming. We just happened to found this from Google Maps.

What to see inside Jojakko-Ji Temple: The old Shigure-tei site, Tahoto Pagoda, Immortal Poet Shrine, Observatory, Monk’s quarter, Myoken Bodhisattva, Main hall, Niomon Gate, Sanmon Gate)

  • Walk to Tenryu-ji Temple – Just outside the Bamboo forest (Entrance fee: ¥ 500.00 per person, Main hall walk: ¥ 300.00).

A must visit but unlike Jojakko-Ji, Tenryu-Ji is full of tourist but it is still a must visit, amazing structures and view. A walk to the main hall is the main attraction we stayed here for quite a while just relaxing.

 Tenryū-ji, formally known as Tenryū Shiseizen-ji, is the head temple of the Tenryū-ji branch of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism.

  • Lunch at the local restaurant (Takoyaki, Yakisoba and Macha ice cream)
  • Walk at the street of Arashiyama and bought some souvenirs

There’s a lot of shops here selling souvenirs and foods, we bought most of our souvenirs from here

  • Walk and relax at Togetsu-kyo Bridge, relax and dip in the cold water of Katsura River.
  • Walk to Arahiyama Monkey Park (Entrance Fee: ¥ 550 per pax)

You must visit this place when in Arashiyama this will be a worthwhile walk and of course the monkeys. It is just a walk in the park… like Monkey Park. No photography along the way.

  • Go back to hostel and rest
  • Short walk to Kodaiji temple (Entrance Fee: Free)
  • Eat Dinner at local Ramen and take home some food from Lawson for breakfast the next day

Day 3: (July 8, 2019) – Fushimi Inari and Temples of west Kyoto

  • Walk from Hostel to Tofukuji station
  • Ride train to Inari Station
  • Trek Mt. Inari (Entrance fee: Free) – You should never miss this place, it is so serene here.

The trek is around two hours depending on your pace.

Fushimi Inari Taisha
On the way to the summit of Mt. Inari.
Mt. Inari Summit
Finally we made it to the summit. Phew!
  • Eat light meal
  • Explore Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion (¥ 400.00) – A must visit place, it is a Zen temple, whose top two floor are completely covered in gold leaf. It is also Shogun Yoshimitsu’s former retirement complex

Ride a train from Fushimi-Inari station to Gion-Shijo Station and then ride bus number 12

The golden Pavilion
Golden Pavilion. Struggled to get this shot due to the swarm of tourists.
The Golden Pavilion
Looking majestic there! Can I have some gold? 😀
  • Eat light snack
  • Ride bus going to Nijo Castle – We ride on a wrong bus, but most of the busses are passing Nijo castle. It just took as a while to reach Nijo castle around an hour but it give us some time to rest from the trek at Mt. Inari summit
  • Explore Nijo Castle (Entrance fee: ¥ 1,000.00) – Tokugawa Shogun’s residence is a must visit place in Kyoto. Go for a walk inside the castle, super rich in history. This is where the Shogun era started and ended.

NO photography inside the castle

  • Explore Kiyomizu-dera (Entrance fee: ¥ 300) – It is one of the most celebrated temples of Japan. The name derives from the fall’s pure waters. The temple was originally associated with the Hosso sect, one of the oldest schools within Japanese Buddhism. One of UNESCO’s world heritage sites. – We actually just explore the free area since we are so tired of the whole day’s walk.

Ride bus 37 from Nijo Castle to Gion and then ride bus 202 going to Kiyomizu-dera

Kiyomitsu-dera
Kiyomizu-dera
  • Eat Wagyu, pork Japanese Curry and Omu-rice from local restaurant
  • Go to Kyoto station and buy souvenirs from Don Quijote, Japan.
  • Return to hostel and rest

Day 4: (July 9, 2019) last day – Nara – Nagoya – Manila

  • Check out from hostel
  • Ride bus 207 from hostel to Kyoto station
  • Travel to Yamato-Saidaiji via Kintetsu rail
  • Leave baggage at the station
  • Ride Kintetsu train to Nara
  • Eat light snack from Nara local restaurant
  • Explore Nara Park (Entrance fee: Free)
  • Explore Todaiji temple (Entrance fee: ¥ 500) – is a must visit site in Nara. It is a Buddhist temple complex that was once one of the powerful Seven Great Temples. Have a walk inside the great Buddha hall and see the giant Buddha’s structures and crawl through the Buddha Statue’s nostril. According the legend, if you crawl through the Buddha Statue’s nostril you will be blessed with health and happiness
  • Deer feeding – They are so adorable and terrifying at some point. A one of a kind experience.
  • Lunch Udon at local Restaurant
  • Travel back to Yamato-Saidaiji Station
  • Travel to Yamato-Yagi station
  • Purchased express ticket going to Nagoya (¥ 3,200.00 2 pax)
  • Travel from Nagoya station to Airport (¥ 1,600.00 2 pax)
  • Airport check-in, return Wi-Fi and Eat dinner at the airport
  • Departure for Manila

Must have for Kansai region plus Nagoya Japan travel.

Must Haves for Kansai region
  • Kintetsu Rail pass – Unlimited Kintetsu ride for ¥ 3800.00 per pax around P 1900.00 for 5 days. 1600 pesos if purchased outside Japan. A must have if you land at Nagoya or Osaka and want to travel the entire Kansai Region. You can purchase Kintetsu rail pass from Klook,Nagoya Airport, Nagoya Station, Kyoto Station and Osaka airport (please see full list here https://bit.ly/2GtCVBN ).
  • ICOCA Card – for non-Kintetsu train ride ¥ 2,000.00 (¥ 1,500.00 consumable). Can be used for trains and busses.

If you will only explore Kyoto for a day no need to buy ICOCA card, you can just buy the unlimited bus ride and then purchase ticket for every train ride. 

  • Wi-Fi – depending on your needs, they have ¥ 600.00 for 1GB a day up to ¥ 1,500.00 I think for unlimited data. For us we purchased the 1GB data per day since we only be using this for navigation. Note that most hotels and hostels have free Wi-Fi, including airports and tourist spots.
  • One day Unlimited Kyoto bus ticket ¥ 600.00 yen (P 300.00) – You will need this. Kyoto has a flat rate of ¥ 230.00. So ¥ 600.00 unlimited ride is budget friendly. Can be used within the allocated zone of the city (Arashiyama, Sagano, Takao, Shugakuin etc. are outside of the allocated zone).
  • Japan Visitor hotline – You will need this in case of Emergency.
  • Google Maps – just remember that Japan is always left and Google maps will provide you of a wrong bus stop. This frustrate me until I discover this.
  • Trains and Busses Maps – a bit complicated at first but once you understand it, it’s easy.

Tips: if you have enough time and want an affordable city tour just ride any busses near your hotel and just drop off to any destination you see. Unlimited bus ride is useful for this.

The food from convenient stores were amazing plus it’s cheaper.

If you have any questions feel free to message us.

DIY TRAVEL: Tiliti Nuang Falls

Tiliti Nuang Falls Banner

Surfing, beach parties, majestic falls – La Union is known to be a gratifying and convenient getaway. The province is famous for its waves and the imposing Tangadan falls, simply one of the favorite hangout of millenials. But did you know that La Union has a hidden destination not frequented by the crowd? Introducing the Tiliti Nuang Falls.

I don’t know about you but Tiliti Nuang Falls is my cup of tea. When we first went to Tangadan falls, our impression is that the place is quite crowded, knowing that it is a must destination of most who are visiting La Union. But when we went to Tiliti Nuang Falls, we have the place all to ourselves which we much preferred since we enjoy less crowded nature.

LET THE ADVENTURE BEGIN

From San Juan, we were accompanied by a local guide and went to the drop off point in a tricycle and then later transfered to a “habal-habal” or the local term for off-road motorcycles. Since we have a local tour guide, he did most of the coordination and we simply just tag along.

After almost an hour, we arrived at the drop off point. I was not informed that there will be some trekking to do to get to the falls, maybe I was informed but my ever absent-minded self missed it (hah!).

The trek consists of an hour of walking through bamboo trails, streams and dense woods. We can actually tell that our destination is not frequented by many. You can miss the trail if you don’t look enough because of the thick grass and bushes. When I think about it now, it is actually kind of scary wandering around the mountains where you can easily get lost.

HOURS OF HAVING FUN!

I’m kind of wondering if the exhausting trek is worth it. But when we arrived at last, oh boy, my introvert self rejoiced! I love everything about Tiliti Nuang Falls. First of all, we are the only human being in the vicinity (others may find it creepy but not me) and we can be silly and crazy and everything we wanted to be without worrying about disturbing other people.

Cascading waters of the falls.

The view is just too much for me to handle, and I can’t wait to take a dip on those waters while the lush green forest serves as your backdrop. During our visit, November, the falls had a decent amount of water.

We were all over the place, enjoying every spot of it. Of course, we snapped several photos before finally indulging into the inviting waters. The current is quite strong and the pools are deep that I don’t dare venture jumping in it (I haven’t taken swimming lessons back then. LOL).

Who wants a refreshing swim?

When hunger finally managed to get our attention we decided to eat our “baon” which consists of canned paella and crackers. We stayed there for a couple of hours more before we decided to call it a day and started trekking back to the drop off point. Mind you the way back is much exhausting since the trail is in an upward slope.

FRIENDLY REMINDER

Here are some reminders worth noting if you are planning to see Tiliti Nuang Falls:

  • Bring your own food. There are no convenience store nearby, it is wise to prepare your food and bring it with you.
  • Rise early. Going there requires motorcycle ride and trekking so rise and start your adventure early.
  • The Trek. Steep slopes, slippery rocks, streams and jungle vibes. Be prepared.
  • Change of clothes. No restrooms or changing rooms nearby, well you can always try to change behind the thick trees and bushes if that will work for you.
  • Local tour guide. Here’s how to contact our reliable guide Kuya Christian 0948 360 3009. I don’t know if we can manage to go back on our own without him around.
Chillin’ in this paradise.

OUR EXPENSES!

How much we spent?
Php 800 – Tour Guide Fee
Php 500 – Tricycle rent
Php 1200 (600 per pax) – Motorcycle or Habal-habal
TOTAL – 2500 for 2 pax

Thank you for checking out this blog post. Enjoy travelling and have a safe trip! Feel free to comment below for any questions or concerns.

Arigatou!

DIY TRAVEL: MT. PINATUBO DAY TRIP

PINATUBO COVER.png

A day trek at Mt. Pinatubo is one of the favored getaways of those living near Manila area. It is not just its accessibility and breathtaking scenery but also the experience that comes along with it that makes it a popular choice among adventure seekers.

People often labelled Mt. Pinatubo as “A Beautiful Disaster” due to the fact that after its major eruption back in 1991 it now offers stunning views and Instagram-worthy scenery.

One rainy morning, two introverts decided to venture out and see Mt. Pinatubo for themselves. Here is another of our DIY Travel stories we would like to share.

HOW WE GET THERE

Victory Liner in Pasay is our transportation of choice for this trip. They have regular bus trips that pass by Capas, Tarlac. We left Pasay at around 4 AM and it only took us 2 hours to arrive at McDonald’s Capas, Tarlac.

We had our breakfast at McDonald’s first before hailing a tricycle that will get us to Sta. Juliana Tourism office. Our tricycle ride went for almost an hour.

At Sta. Juliana tourism office, we were asked to register and pay for the 4×4 jeep rent, Botolan Fee, and tour guide fee. The rent for a 4×4 jeep is good for 5 people, but in our case it is only the two of us.

THE FUN STARTS

Oh, what a ride! A bumpy one actually! Over one hour of dusty and adrenaline-pumping ride before we arrive to the drop off point where the trekking starts. We were able to take decent shots of the lahar field even though we were tossed from side to side inside the vehicle.

pinatubo 3
4×4 vehicles parked at the drop off point. Let the hike begin!

We expect the trek to the crater of Mt. Pinatubo to be a challenging one, but it is actually like a stroll-in-the-park. We see quite a lot of children and old people going to the crater with us.

Pinatubo 4
Welcoming smiles as we head to the crater.

AT THE CRATER

We can sit for hours just looking at the view in front of us. We can never comprehend how terrifying the crater when Mt. Pinatubo erupted because looking at it or rather standing in it right now is very calming. We took a few snaps and after a while decided to just sit beside the crater lake and enjoy the moment.

pinatubo 5
Sitting side by side, the crater lake in front of us. Awwww…

Swimming in crater lake is prohibited. So there are really no other activities that you can do aside from taking photos, doing jumpshots, and posing for Instagram. Many brought food with them and enjoyed a picnic beside the lake.

At around 1PM we decided to head back. Another stomach-churning 4×4 vehicle ride and at last we arrived to the Tourism office of Sta. Juliana. We took another tricycle ride going back to McDonald’s Capas, Tarlac where we catch the bus bound to Manila.

TRAVEL TIPS

Here are some of our tips based on our experience for DIY travellers:

  • Bring lots of water. Price of small bottled water at the crater is PHP100. Too expensive for us.
  • Bring your own food. There are no food stalls that offer lunch in the crater. There are a couple of locals selling biscuits, candies and refreshments at a high price.
  • The lahar field is dusty and hot. Bring something to cover you.
  • 4×4 vehicle is good for 5 people. You can wait and join other groups if you are travelling in solo or in a pair to minimise expenses. In our case, we opt to rent the vehicle for only the two of us so we can have full control of our time.
  • Arrive early before the cut-off time. Yes, there is a cut-off time in going to the crater. During our trip it is at 10AM.
  • There are comfort rooms in the area near the crater.
  • The trek is long but the trail is easy so don’t worry too much.

EXPENSES

How much we spent for this trip?

PHP 360 (180 per pax) – Bus fare from Pasay to Capas, Tarlac

PHP 300 – Tricycle fare from Capas to Sta. Juliana Tourism Office

PHP 3,000 – 4×4 vehicle rental (good for 5)

PHP 500 – Tour Guide Fee

PHP 1400 (700 per pax) – Botolan Fee / Environmental Fee

PHP 300 – Tricycle fare from Sta. Juliana Tourism Office to Capas

PHP 360 (180 per pax) – Bus Fare from Capas to Pasay

Total for 2 pax = PHP6,220

Hope you will enjoy your Mt. Pinatubo day trip as much as we did!

Arigatou!

DIY TRAVEL: 4D3N Coron, Palawan

Coron Banner.png

When we say beach, Palawan is always on top of our list. The powdery-white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and abundance of marine life continue to render us speechless that we decided to visit it again. This is our second time in Coron, Palawan but its natural wonders still captivated us.

Behold! Here is our DIY travel 4D3N Coron for 2 pax with budget.

DAY 1: CORON TOWN , MT. TAPYAS SUNSET, MAQUINIT HOT SPRING

We arrived at Busuanga Airport from Manila at around 9AM and rode a van going to Coron Town. We stayed at Sea Dive Resort that we booked prior to our travel date through Travelok PH. Since we arrived earlier than our check-in time (2PM), we asked the hotel staff to take care of our belongings then we explored Coron town. It is much cheaper and convenient going around town using a motorcycle so we rented one for two days at Angel Motorcycle Rental.

View Tapyas.png
View from Mt. Tapyas. Amazing, right?

We rode around Coron town, stopping from time to time to take some snaps. At around 4PM we hiked Mt. Tapyas. You have to conquer 700+ steps to arrive at the top and witness the sunset. All eyes on the west as captivated tourists watched the sun set slowly, painting the sky orange.

We headed straight to Maquinit Hot Spring to relax our muscles. The feeling of warm waters enveloping your body as you look at the night sky, it’s reviving!

Day 1 Expenses:

  • Php 300 – Van from airport to Coron town (150 per pax)
  • Php 1,000 – Motorcycle rental for 2 days
  • Php 120 – Fuel
  • Php 400 – Entrance Fee Maquinit Hotspring (200 per pax)

Total = Php 1,700 for 2 pax (850 per pax)

Note: Food expenses not included.

DAY 2: CALAUIT SAFARI, OCAM-OCAM BEACH, MAQUINIT HOTSPRING

This is the highlight of our Coron travel. We always wanted to go to Calauit Safari in Busuanga because of the Safari vibe and animals in the island. We left Coron town at 5AM going to Calauit Safari with our rented motorcycle. Calauit is approximately 80km away from Coron town so it definitely is a long ride. We arrived around 7:45AM and took a boat going to the island. We wasted no time in seeing the Safari Park and the animals and we enjoyed it very much. Activities include close encounter with giraffes and they even let you feed them, and a brief tour around the Safari. Zebras and Calamian deer roam freely, making it accessible for tourists to observe them in a close distance. Read my Calauit Safari blog entry for a more detailed travel and activities guide.

Untitled-2.png
Giraffes at Calauit Safari waiting to be fed by visitors.

After Calauit Safari, we decided to take a side trip to Ocam-Ocam Beach before we head back to Coron town. The place is relaxing, giving us ample energy for a long ride again.

We arrived town at 3:00 PM, took a bite and rested a bit. We decided to indulge ourselves with the soothing waters of Maquinit hotspring again. We badly needed it after hours of motorcycle ride.

Day 2 Expenses:

  • Php 106 – motorcycle fuel
  • Php 400 – Calauit Safari Entrance Fee (200 per pax)
  • Php 500 – Boat Rental going to Calauit Safari Island
  • Php 40 – Ocam-Ocam Beach Entrance Fee (20 per pax)
  • Php 400 – Maquinit Hotspring Entrance Fee (200 per pax)

Total = Php 1,446 for 2 pax (723 per pax)

Note: Food expenses not included.

DAY 3: CORON ISLAND TOUR A

We haven’t arranged any Coron tours before our travel so when we were in Busuanga airport we gathered flyers offering tours as many as we can and chose the one that is cheaper. We decided to avail Tour A, any tour will do as long as Kayangan Lake is included. Tour A includes Siete Picados, Quin Lagoon, CYC Beach, Kayangan Lake and free lunch.

Untitled-1.png
Inviting waters, who would say no?

We made some friends with people in the group tour and heard some of their interesting stories as well. Kayangan Lake is also one of our favorite destination, a must-experience by every tourist visiting Coron.

Day 3 Expenses:

Php 1800 – Coron Tour A (900 per pax)

Total – Php 1,800 (900 per pax)

Note: Food not included.

DAY 4: DEPARTURE TO MANILA

We booked for an early flight to Manila so we left Coron town at 6:00AM. The day before, we already arranged our transportation from Coron town to airport . You can coordinate with your hotel so that they will be the one to arrange it for you.

Day 4 Expenses:

Php 300 – Van from Coron to Airport (150 per pax)

Coron is a dear place to us. The first time we travelled there we were really amazed by its beauty and instantly fell in love. After three years we were back, Coron still captivated us.

Total expenses of our 4D3N DIY Coron travel for 2 pax:

Php 5,246 – total expenses for 4 days 3 nights (tours, transpo, entrance fee, fuel)
Php 900 – 4D3N hotel accomodation at Coron Sea Dive Resort booked via Traveloka Ph
Php 3,300 – RT Plane Ticket Manila-Busuanga-Manila via Cebu Pacific

TOTAL expenses for 2 pax – Php 9, 446

We booked our air fare and hotel accommodation months before our travel date. Please note that Food is not included. It is always your choice to eat cheap or eat lavishly.

Note: Your Coron experience may very well be different from ours. Mind sharing yours? Comment below!

Arigatou!

SIDE TRIP: Ocam-Ocam Beach

Ocam-Ocam Beach Banner.png

The hype of Calauit Safari trip drained our energy. We decided to take some rest at a nearby beach before our long ride to Coron town. Signage along the road are posted, approximately 15 kilometers from Calauit, making it easy to locate this relaxing beach.

Ocam-ocam beach did not disappoint us. The beach is just the place we need. Serene, cozy atmosphere, and only a couple of travelers are present, probably looking for a place to rest just like us. It’s almost like the beach is exclusive for us, and our introvert souls rejoice!

Maybe the weariness and hunger is visible in our faces, a local woman offered to cook us lunch for 170 per pax. The meal consists of grilled fish and rice and we very much need of nutrition so we agreed.

Ocam-Ocam Beach 2.png
The beach all to myself! 😀

Ocam-Ocam offers golden-brown sandy shores lined with coconut trees. Locals depend mostly on fishing as their livelihood. There are no fancy resorts, only a couple of cottages and houses of the locals. Overnight stay for two is 500 pesos per cottage, you can also bring your own tent.

What to expect:

  • Peaceful beach, almost all to yourself (almost!). Perfect for those who wants to relax, away from the crowd.
  • Beach is sandy, golden-brown. Not recommended for those who are looking for powdery-white beaches.
  • Sea grass is abundant (at the time we went there, March).
  • Accommodation is limited. So bring your own tent or opt to stay in one of the few cottages.
  • Road from highway to Ocam-Ocam is rough and dusty but manageable.
  • Entrance fee is Php20.00
  • No fancy restaurants or shops. You can request locals to prepare a meal for you.
  • Locals are respectful and accommodating.

It may be brief, but we are very much satisfied with our stay in Ocam-Ocam. Recharged, we left for Coron town with another place dear in our hearts.

Note: Your Ocam-Ocam beach experience may very well be different from ours. Mind sharing yours?

Arigatou!

DIY TRAVEL: Calauit Safari

If you’re checking this out, you’re probably looking for DIY travel guides on how to experience Calauit Safari. Yes, we did it, we went to that unimaginable island by ourselves, without spending much. Tour packages for this trip ranges from aroud Php2,500-Php3,000 per pax, and it’s costly given that it is only the two of us.

Being introverts, we opt for DIY travel to Calauit, and we enjoyed every single moment of it. Whether you are on a tight budget or wants to travel in a more adventurous way, hope our experience will help you anyway.

Our Adventure

Using only a hand-drawn map that was given to us as our guide, we depart from Coron Proper at 5:00 AM on a motorcycle that we rented the day before. It was chilly during the early morning ride and we’re thankful that we brought jackets with us.

Landscape On the Way to Calauit
6:30 AM view on the way to Calauit

It was a foggy morning and we took some snaps along the way. The road is concrete, and it took us two hours and forty-five minutes to arrive at the port of Malacachao where boats to Calauit Island were docked. Boat ride only takes 5 minutes.

Safari Experience

After paying the entrance and environmental fees, we are are ready to say hello to our Safari friends! Calamian deer and zebras grazing freely are what welcomed us on our way to the feeding area.

Calauit Camian Deer
Calamian Deer
Calauit Zebra
Zebras huddled together

At Calauit Safari, you are allowed to feed giraffes and it is one of the main activities in the island. We are always reminded to stay five meters away from the giraffes. A kick from these animals can be very fatal. During the feeding, guests enter a cage where they are given fresh leaves to feed the giraffes. It was actually fun to have a close encounter with these tall mammals!

Calauit Giraffe Feeding.png
I’m inside the cage!

A park’s tour guide accompanied us as we take a stroll around. He showed us some of the captive animals in the island including Philippine Crocodile, porcupine, Civet Cat, Wild bearded pig, python and monkeys.

On our way back to Coron Town, we dropped by Ocam-Ocam beach to have our lunch and recharge. If you crave for a heavy lunch, residents of Ocam-Ocam can cook lunch for you starting from 170 pesos per pax. It was a scorching ride back but we happily endured it.

We arrived at Coron town at around 3:30 PM, took some rest and head straight to Maquinit Hotspring for a relaxing bath.

Expenses

So this is it. Here’s how much we spent for this trip.
Php 500 – motorcycle rent for one day
Php 106 – motorcycle fuel
Php 500 – Boat to and from Calauit Safari
Php 400 – Entrance / Environmental Fee (200 per pax)
Php 40 – Entrance Fee to Ocam-Ocam Beach (20 per pax)
Total = 1,546 for 2 pax
(Food not included)

Here are some tips if you opt to do DIY:

– Travel early. Giraffe feeding are ideal in the morning.
– Motorcycle Rental: We recommend Angel Motorcycle Rental. Ask for a sturdier motorcyle for Calauit Trip and a map.
– Calauit is approximately 80 km from Coron town. Expect a long ride and bring jacket or anything to cover you against the cold and the sun.
– Bring lots of water and your own food. There’s no food in the island but you can drop by Ocam-Ocam beach for your lunch. You may also drop by Concepcion falls at kilometer 41 (Concepcion).
– It’s scorching in the safari, wear hat and apply suncreen. Don’t forget to have fun.

Let me know if you have any questions or anything that I can help you with.

Enjoy and be a responsible traveler!

Arigatou!