DIY TRAVEL: Tiliti Nuang Falls

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!