For GIS lovers, things get much more exciting with the release of the story’s game version.
What’s new? So many things. Side stories. Fun encounters.
You can play it by downloading the app MY STORY – CHOOSE YOUR OWN PATH.
For GIS lovers, things get much more exciting with the release of the story’s game version.
What’s new? So many things. Side stories. Fun encounters.
You can play it by downloading the app MY STORY – CHOOSE YOUR OWN PATH.
When Anna Chelsea Lovette is fourteen, her mother dies in a tragic car accident. With her mother’s reputation tarnished after her death, Anna falls under the deciding eyes of the people. She has trouble facing the world alone, feeling that nothing matters anymore. But when a gentleman comes to her rescue at the day of her mother’s burial, Anna decides to stand up on her feet again.
Now nineteen and made it through high school, Anna can’t help but wonder who is that gentleman who’s been helping her through the years. She heads off to New Waulds, where the return address of the letters is located. Will she finally know the man who helped her? Or will she uncover one dreadful secret?
Read it here:
Deciding to give the couples a chance to have some quality time together and for reasons that I couldn’t join the canyoneering activity, I went on a solo trip.
And here was how it went…
We arrived at the airport at around nine in the evening. After grabbing some dinner at Jollibee, we went ahead to get our boarding passes and checked-in.
After an hour plane ride, we arrived in Cebu at around one in the morning.
And then we went straight ahead to Oslob. I didn’t get much sleep on the van, as I’m the type of person who hardly gets any sleep unless resting on a bed. But it didn’t even matter (at least for the first few hours), as I was used to staying up since our internship days back in college.
We arrived in Oslob at around 4:30 in the morning. The stars were bright. It was still early and the whaleshark watching activity started at 6:00am. While they were sleeping inside the van, I talked with our driver and the tour guide. They told me about the places I should go to during my solo trip and a few things about Cebu itself.
It was 6:00 am and the place was filled with people. I didn’t expect to see that much people for an activity, considering that it was early morning. There were around 100+ of us there at such an hour. Wow. I got stressed out for the whale sharks/butandings. Too many tourists for these sea creatures.
After some briefing, we paid for the activity (Php 500/snorkeling + gears) and waited for our schedule. I think we were the fifth group to go there. Rules were sunscreen was not allowed (w/c probably explained the early goers) and no flash photography and no getting near the butandings.
After thirty minutes, it was our turn to get on a boat. There were around twelve of us in a boat. Someone was feeding shrimps to the whale shark to make it come closer to our boat.
It didn’t take long until we’d seen the beautiful sea creature. It wasn’t as big as the others, probably a little smaller than a jeep. But the whale shark was so gentle you didn’t really have to panic when they were around, even if their mouths could probably swallow you whole. Maybe.
Underwater picture taking ensued. It was exhausting, since we had to let go of our life vests. You wouldn’t necessarily drown, but the waves kept on crashing on you. My greatest worry at that time was my glasses. I put it inside my shirt and I didn’t want to lose it. Why, why, why didn’t I leave it on the boat? I truly wonder. It made things so much harder for me.
Either way, I found the whale shark intimidating at first, but then it was so gentle. A friendly sea creature. There was nothing to be afraid of… unless you were probably seeing one as large as three-storey building.
After the whale shark activity, we went back to the shore and hunt down some breakfast. I didn’t have appetite that day (for the entire day, actually), so I only had coffee.
Taking a shower after, my friends and I parted ways. They were going to Sumilon and I was headed for whatever the day would bring.
To be honest, I didn’t do any island hopping activities for this tour. My heart is still in El Nido, Palawan. Like I close my eyes and I remember the beautiful beaches of El Nido. I don’t know. I feel like I’m not ready to see other beaches anytime soon. 😌
So yes, my itinerary consisted of going to unusual places and whatever the time permitted. My friends’ tour guide arranged a habal-habal ride/motorcycle for wherever I would like to go.
I wanted to see the Tumalog Falls. I’d seen pictures of the different falls there near Oslob, but Tumalog had the appeal that I was looking for.
My habal driver didn’t want to take me there at first, because it was almost summer and the falls didn’t have that much water at the time. He said that there were other falls with, perhaps, stronger water current, but I wasn’t interested with them. I didn’t want to see the current. I wanted to see the cascading water of Tumalog Falls. And it was a wise decision. Tumalog Falls was the prettiest falls I’ve seen in my entire life.
Speaking of habal-habal ride, it was an experience in itself. I loved it. The thrill-seeker in me overpowered the one who told me that it was dangerous. Without anything but the motorcycle and a pair of sunglasses (courtesy of my kind driver), we went up the mountain and down. I enjoyed the habal-habal ride up and down the mountain the most for this Cebu trip.
After Tumalog Falls, I headed to the ruins of Oslob. I went around the ruins and inside the museum. The baywalk was such a breathtaking view. If only it wasn’t 10 in the morning and the sun was right out in the sky, it would have been nice to just sit there and watch the ocean.
We went to Boljoon after upon my request. I saw it on our way to Oslob and the place looked so inviting. My habal-habal driver dropped me off at Boljoon. (Php 400 for the habal-habal ride)
I went around the church and saw something that looked like a cemetery. I had goosebumps at this place and that distinct heavy feeling that you couldn’t explain. It was later on that I’d found out why… or perhaps why.
The tour guide/curator was the best one I’d encountered while in Cebu. She was so knowledgeable and had an answer to all my questions and even more. And the way she delivered the tour was so entertaining. She didn’t even mind that I was alone and she was only doing it for me.
Pictures were not allowed during the tour. But it was fascinating. The artifacts were composed of pottery from ancient times and how they buried their dead relatives before. It turned out that there were settlements around the church in the past, and they buried their deads just beneath their slightly elevated houses, a few meters below the ground.
And together with their dead relatives, they placed ceramic pots and other things. Their guess was it was related to what that person did when he was alive. I saw one skeletal remains (a picture of it) with a seashell right above the heart. I wonder why.
What stood out during my Cebu museum trips was that they used to bury their deads with a ceramic plate covering their head, believing that the spirit would escape the body through the mouth. Interesting.
The excavation started a few years back after one accidentally found some skeletal remnants just a few meters below the ground. When they started their careful digging at the church’s front yard, they’d found all these skeletal remnants scattered around.
And that probably explained the heavy feeling I had for the entire tour and near the locked cemetery.
But the living is to be feared rather than the dead, as the saying goes. So I was hungry at that point. It was almost lunchtime. And walking a few meters back, I saw the public market. I ordered a meal at a carinderia (eatery) and ate while looking around the small market.
Since it was a two to three hour ride back to Cebu City, I was trying to find a CR. They pointed me to one, but then I felt something unusual behind me. And true enough, my backpack was open. Much to the dismay of the one who opened it, he saw sanitary pads and shampoos. But then, much to my dismay, it turned out that he wasn’t done with me yet and I was being followed.
My hunch was that he was the one wearing a faded red shirt behind me. A man around forty. I looked at him and wondered if I was right.
I saw the CR and was about to head inside when I saw him right in front of me as I was on my way to the cubicles. He was going for me. I got so afraid. I was still a few meters away from him, so I headed straight back where there were a lot of people. I focused on getting out of the market and back to the streets. It was a busy street and it was much, much safer there.
After that, I totally ditched using the CR and just waited for the bus near the road. My heart was pounding as I waited for the bus going back to Cebu City. It passed by every thirty minutes. Thankfully, there was a teenage girl who was also waiting for something near the road. At my back was a computer shop and there were plenty of kids and adults there. I felt safe standing here. The man stopped following me.
The wait for the bus was excrutiating, because I feared that I would see the man again. I wanted to get out of that place right away. The teenage girl made it bearable for me. She was kind enough not to leave right away and waited with me. It might just be a coincidence, but it might also be her kind heart. Or it might be God sending me a form of comfort.
So the lesson was this: don’t go to public markets in Boljoon or I would say for Cebu in general with a large backpack. I would be frank here, as a warning to other wanderers like me, Cebu wasn’t as friendly as other places I’ve been to. I’m saying this based on experience as a tourist.
I’d never experienced such a thing, say, in Ilocos. The people there were so kind for words. You could leave your things in one place and go back for it and it would remain untouched. Even in other places. I never felt so scared and unsafe in my own country.
If you’re not part of a tour group (or maybe even if you are), be very, very careful when in Cebu. Watch your surroundings. Pay attention to those who seem to be following you. When you feel like you’re being followed, go to where there is a lot of people. Don’t go to the CR or any place where he could get you alone.
When I saw that my backpack was open, I should have left the public market right away. I shouldn’t have risked it. He almost got me near the CR. I could have just imagined what he would do, but it surely would involve me being robbed.
For solo backpackers, safety is truly the first concern. But I didn’t let that man ruin the trip for me. There are people like him in this world, but I believe in the kindness of humanity in general. And truly enough, I’d met a few kind ones during my trip.
So after that heart-stopping experience, I was finally able to ride the bus. After paying for the trip, I instantly fell asleep. Exhaustion. Relief. Safe.
A short nap and three hours later, I finally arrived at Cebu City. I went straight ahead to the port. Pier 1 was where I would get my tickets to and from Tagbilaran, Bohol.
One thing that I really appreciated in Cebu City was the taxi ride. It was cheap, usually ranging from Php 60-70 for one ride. That was a relief, because it was confusing learning the jeepney system of Cebu City. And safe. Given what just happened to me, I became the safety freak from this point on.
After getting the tickets, I headed to Sugbutel, where I made a reservation. It was actually a nice place. The comfort rooms were clean and well-maintained. It was a dormitory type of hotel wherein you got either the bottom or upper part of a double-deck bed. I got the lower bed, priced at Php 315/night.
After fixing my things and such, I went to SM Cebu, the one near Sugbutel. It was a walking distance from the hotel, but I wasn’t sure if I would recommend walking at night. Maybe not. I did walk and it was okay, I guess. Still, I wouldn’t recommend it.
There in SM, I ate the recommended large clams soup. Sooooo delicious. I didn’t have much appetite for anything else that day, probably because of everything that had happened and the lack of sleep. But the soup was really something. Must try.
And then that was Day 1. A very long day.
It was an hour and a half fastcraft ride to Bohol. I was on board the 8:45am trip and had a 5:25 pm ticket back. That was a mistake, as it turned out that Bohol had so much to offer and one day might not be enough. If it would be the case, better get the earliest ticket and the latest one back. Like 6am and 8pm ones. I should have, could have, would have if I had known.
Because… from Tagbilaran Port, you need to go to the terminal (Php 25 via tricycle). Then from the terminal, you have to go on board a bus going to Carmen, Bohol. I was heading to Chocolate Hills first.
The thing about Bohol, it was so straightforward. Like there was only one road leading to almost all the tourist attractions. You wouldn’t get lost. Or it would take a lot for you to get lost. Plus, I found the people here friendly and nice.
So going to Chocolate Hills… it was a 2hour bus ride. That was what I didn’t expect. I arrived at Tagbilaran Port at 10.30 in the morning. Then the terminal at around 11 am. The bus left at 11.30am. I arrived at Chocolate Hills at around 1.30pm.
Then imagine that there was a ride back.
So where did that leave me? No extra time at all.
But it was enjoyable. That 2-hour bus ride (Php 60) was really something. I would personally recommend riding the ordinary bus. The air was so fresh and the weather was so good. You’d enjoy it more than an airconditioned bus ride.
Plus, when you get to pass the Bohol Forest, a man-made forest composed of mahogany trees, you’d feel something weird about the sudden drop in temperature. It was cold there, for some reason.
It was so majestic and breathtaking. I’d never seen anything much more beautiful when it came to mountain formation. You see it on textbooks, but seeing it in real life was something else. There was no word for it. Chocolate Hills captured my heart.
I wished I could have stayed longer, but I was on a tight race against time. Tarsiers first, before anything else. I wanted to go to the Tarsier Sanctuary in Corella, Bohol, but I wouldn’t be able to make it to boarding time. So I had no choice but to go to the one in Loboc, Bohol.
It was a conservation place. The tarsiers were confined instead of out there in the wild (like in Corella). I didn’t want to come here if I had the choice, but then I didn’t have any. It was the only place where I could see tarsiers if I wanted to arrive before boarding time.
And so I want you to meet the cute little guys here at the Tarsier Conservation Area:
I could have stared at them all day. And if only it wasn’t against the law to bring them home… 😂
I went back to Tagbilaran City and back to the port. I made it right on time, with just a few minute to spare in between. So yes, next time, get an earlier ticket and stay in Bohol for the night. That would have been better.
But I think I’d be back to Bohol someday. That place that captivates your heart, it makes you want to come back often.
It was past seven in the evening when I’d arrived at Pier 1 in Cebu City. With only several minutes to be spared for dinner, I went to Robinson’s Galleria. There I ate at Chicken Deli and had the tastiest Honey Milk Tea from a stall which name I forgot.
Back to Sugbutel, and that was the second day.
The city tour. I was supposed to do the tour with my friends, but they were late. I felt like I could do more instead of just waiting for them, so I went ahead and did the tour on my own.
A city walking tour. Under the sun. It wasn’t easy, but it surely was a great experience.
I was warned by the taxi driver that I hired to go to the different attractions near Busay (Php 800) to be watchful for snatchers. He told me that there was plenty of them around, but the numbers lowered down after Duterte became the President, which he said was a good thing. But nevertheless, he warned me about this and than, since he was worried because I was travelling alone.
The funny thing about being alone on a trip, people thought it was lonesome and such. But for introverts like me with such personality, I liked it. My being needed it. Some time alone away from everything.
First concern would always be my safety, being a woman, alone and all that. But quick judgement and like what the drivers told me, just be mindful of my surrounding. I used the taxi to go around Cebu City instead of riding the jeep. Just a precaution, I guess. And it was easier haha. I barely had time to eat, so that left me none to learn the jeepney system.
I also have a firm belief that God takes care of our every move. I trust Him.
I’m a pretty brave person and not your damsel in distress. Plus, an adventure seeker. I take experiences as something that I could use to describe the right feeling when writing. See the things I would do just to get a first-hand experience? 😂
For one, experience makes a great writer. You could express it better if you have felt it yourself or seen it yourself.
So yes, back to the trip. I first went to view up the mountain to get a view of the city (Entrance fee: Php 50) and then to the Temple of Leah (Entrance fee: Php 50).
The Temple of Leah was a husband’s tribute to his late wife. It was still unfinished up to this point. Some of the things inside…
My favorite was this Japanese figurine. It was still confined in a room and was not out for public display yet, but I stared at it for so long. There was something so captivating about it.
After that, I went to the Taoist Temple. It was a nice place.
And off to Museo Sugbo, a one-of-a-kind, air-conditioned museum. They showed the pre-colonial Cebu, the Spanish invasion period, the Japanese invasion, then the American invasion. For lack of better term, I would just call them invasion. 😂
It was a very nice museum. Good thing the taxi driver took me there. I almost missed it.
Next was the Yap-San Diego Ancestral House. Entrance fee: Php 50. All kinds of antique.
A little way from it was the Casa Gorordo Museum. It was little bit expensive (Php 120), but you get to have an instant souvenir.
After the earthquake that hit Cebu and Bohol a few years back, they had to shut down the museum for two years. It recently opened again, and hola! it was so interactive and millenial. Like you could use headphones in certain places and such.
The tour of the museum and then the house displayed the culture and lives of the people during the past, especially the Cebuano culture. The curator explained the different parts of the house and their purposes. At one point, when we entered the dining room, he showed us a cup with an engraved face of a geisha when placed underneath a light source. It was one of a kind.
This was also where I’d seen the first edition of Noli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal. It was kept by the family inside their library.
After Casa Gorordo, I went along and saw the Heritage Monument, Obelisk, the Basilica…
…and then I got lost. I couldn’t find Magellan’s Cross. And while getting lost, I accidentally saw AA Bbq (Php 90 for a meal). And the food was so good.
After that, upon consulting my friend, Google Map, I found the Fort San Pedro and then eventually, the Magellan’s Cross.
Later, I went to Taboan Market to buy pasalubong. So many dried fishes.
And that was about it.
Cebu City was too much of a city for me. I preferred the countryside in order to relax, rather than the hustle and bustle of the city life.
Bohol was my favorite part of this trip. There’s something about that place that warmed my soul. Like a form of serenity emerging from within.
When you travel, it’s truly about the people and the culture and the place.
So far, my current top 5 favorite places out of all the places I’ve been to are:
– Ilocos Norte
– El Nido, Palawan
– Ilocos Sur
Hopefully, it would be somewhere in Benguet. Sagada. Mt. Pulag. We’ll see. ☺️
p.s. vlog coming soon on my Youtube channel.
Since I’m a self-confessed Kdrama/Asian drama addict, here’s my take on the very best of 2016:
Other dramas that I’ve watched this year:
2016 has been such a wonderful year for Kdrama fans like me. Looking forward to a wonderful 2017! 😊
A paradise for sea lovers.
Acclaimed as the most beautiful island in the world, Palawan has a reputation that speaks for itself. During the five days we’d spent on this island, it was hard not to fall in love with the luscious forest and white sand beaches. And of course, the most remarkable of all–the lagoons. Small, big, blue, secret, hidden, not so secret… majestic lagoons.
And this was how it all started…
A year ago, a piso fare promo went up on the Air Asia website. My high school friends and I had traveled here and there, but mostly we just went to places like Quezon, Zambales or Ilocos. These were places that could be readily reached by the bus. But like all travel enthusiasts, we all wanted to go to El Nido, Palawan. It’s a highly recommended, ultimate getaway destination. So when the opportunity came, we went ahead and grabbed it.
Fast forward to July 23, 2016.
Scenario: Heavy traffic on the way to the airport.
Other scenario: We’re hungry.
Other, other scenario: We’re soooooooo excited.
It was my first plane trip in the last ten years. The last one was so eventful that I never forgot it. I kind of expected the same thing to happen. I was preparing my mind for turbulence or air pocket. Hahaha, thankfully there had been no such thing. It was a comfortable ride to and fro Palawan.
Thanks, Air Asia! What a budget friendly yet comfy way to get to your destination.
So the bags were ready and off we go. According to the weather forecast, it would be raining for the next few days. But anyone who lives in the Philippines knows how to hold on to some hope. As long as there are no typhoons, there’s always a chance that the weather will be good. But yes, it was a bit raining when we got to Puerto Princesa, Palawan, where we would take a van to go to El Nido, Palawan.
There are several options on how to get to El Nido, Palawan. We chose the van option because… well, it was already there when we got out the airport. Haha! Well-thought. Well-thought. One thing that never gets old when it comes to creating fun memories during trips is doing things the spontaneous way. Like you know where you’ll be going, but taking chances on the how to get there is actually the fun part.
It was around three in the afternoon when we landed in Puerto Princesa airport. We made some arrangements for the van ride (which was expected to be five to seven hours). A little food hunting and off we go…
…or at least that was the plan.
We waited a bit more for a few more passengers to fill the van. So while waiting, we came up with this ‘brilliant’ idea–to draw the drawing friend who said he would come but he didn’t. 😂 ‘Drawing’ is the term we use whenever someone says he will do something but ends up not doing it, or when he says he will go but will not come all of a sudden. It’s literally like drawing on a piece of paper and that’s it. It won’t materialize. In the end, it will stay as a ‘drawing’.
Thus, the term.
So while idling around, Derrick (left part of the photo) started drawing Jem on pictures, as if he was with us. Wish you were here moment hahahahaha. And this was the first one:
Eventually, this drawing event became known as the ‘Chronicles of Jem’. And wait for it… El Nido Arc! We were so proud of ourselves. 😄
Oh, and in the end, they had transferred us to another van, where a family was already waiting. So instead of sending off two half-filled vans, they all placed us in one.
At around six in the evening–for real this time–off we went to El Nido, Palawan! 🙊
We traveled on the long and winding (x1000) road. Keep a tablet of Bonamine (anti-motion sickness medication) ready. You’ll need it. Or sleep for the entire ride. Whichever way worked. Sitting beside the window did the trick for me. As long as I kept my thoughts entertained by the view outside, the rough ride to El Nido was somehow forgotten.
We had two stops. One was two hours later to grab some dinner. I doubted that we had enough appetite, but we did eat. Next was unremarkable because most of us were sleeping. But if you needed to use the toilet, this would be of some help.
Moths and one bat casualties later, at around eleven in the evening, we finally arrived at El Nido, Palawan. We had a reservation with Casa Cecilia, and five warm beds were waiting for us when we got there. Casa Cecilia was actually one of the nicest accommodation we’d had in all our trips. I’ll highly recommend it. It was just a few minutes away from the beach and located right in the heart of the small town of El Nido, Palawan.
There are three options when booking accommodations in El Nido, Palawan.
So there you go. Calling it a night after one rough van ride, we were asleep before we knew it. 😄
July 24, 2016
Hello, El Nido!
After breakfast, we went ahead to our first tour. The first ones on our list were Tour C and D. It was an all-in-one package. They gave it to us for the price of one. I didn’t know if it was because we would do all the tours or what. Instead of just one tour package, they combined it. Maybe there was really such a thing.
And you know what we did all day? We went from one beach to another. It was a beach hopping galore. Imagine the perfect beach, and then imagine another one after. It was like that the entire time.
Aerial shot of this island–drone, where you; right, I don’t own one–would give you a helicopter-like shape of the island. It’s also known as Dilumacad Island.
That’s me sitting on the rocky shore. For day one, I didn’t get to take a dip in the water. Take a guess and you’re probably right why. Imagine the feeling of just watching my friends enjoy the water and go from here and there, while I stayed on the boat (taking pictures and falling asleep until I remembered that I’d brought my headset with me and wished I had an audiobook on my phone and listened to music instead). Bookworms! I suddenly remembered that an audiobook would be perfect for the five hour ride from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. It would also be helpful if you were, like me, stuck on the boat or on the shore while they enjoyed the waves.
Someone’s enjoying the sea so much.
After Helicopter Island, we passed by Matinloc Shrine. We didn’t get off, but instead we went ahead to the Hidden Beach. This was the start of my agony. And don’t even remind me of the Secret Beach. 😭
But I did enjoy taking pictures of them.
From a distance, there’s the Hidden Beach. You have to swim all the way there or use a kayak.
Wish I was there moment…
And from the view while sitting on the boat:
Majestic. That was one word to describe these wonderful works of nature.
Lunchtime! I didn’t know where we were, but it was another beautiful beach. And happy me was able to go down and have a moment to sit on the white sand and take in the beauty of the place.
Did I mention that we had a clear fine day for the first day of our trip? See? Ditch the weather forecast and hold on to hope when here in PH. 😂
I could stay here on the shore for hours. Wake me up when you guys were done snorkeling.
We had a wonderful lunch (that was so well-presented). Unfortunately, no picture had been taken because we were so hungry at this point that Instagram was altogether forgotten.
p.s. Phone signals were good at some islands.
After this one, we headed to another beach… or they did. This was the Secret Beach. 😭 You have to swim all the way there and inside a little cave-like entrance.
Next stop, Cadlao Lagoon!
This was my absolute favorite for our first tour. I was seriously mesmerized. I wished we could have stayed longer, but our boatman only drove us around the lagoon for several minutes. And of course, we hurriedly took pictures! 😁
The jade-colored water was sparkling. And I seriously had no idea how that could be happening. It was like entering a fairyland.
This shot was close to the real thing. The sun was resting on the waves as it glowed. Another more…
That was why Cadlao Lagoon became one of my absolute favorites in El Nido, Palawan.
And after we exited fairyland, we were off to another beach.
This beach had the finest sand. It would remain unnamed until I’d be able to locate what it was called using Google. 😂
But if I was not mistaken, this might be Paradise Beach.
If it was truly Paradise Beach, I wouldn’t be surprised. You could see how amazing and scenic the view had turned out to be in picture. A paradise, indeed.
Next, we went to Pasandingan Beach.
This was where I met the white crabs. And I was so holding a grudge because they didn’t let me take any picture of them. They were so fast. While my friends were swimming/snorkeling, I was hunting down those white crabs.
The forest was so alive in this island.
And of course, the long stretch of white sand.
And one more beach stop before we called it a day.
A candid shot. Not seen in the photo: a dog that Derrick was playing with. I was walking on the white sand, lost in wonder. The couple was talking near the boat. And Joyie was the one who took this picture, while she was enjoying her time in the ocean.
And a random drop off of passengers before going back hahahaha. Because they couldn’t get enough of the ocean, our boatman decided to let them enjoy the blue sea for the last time that day. Into the blue scenario.
They were so terrified. 😂 They literally couldn’t see anything. It was like in movies when a shark would appear out of nowhere and take you alive. But you could see that they were enjoying it just the same.
For me, I watched the sun and the sea, a few minutes before dusk.
Later that night, we were searching for a place to eat. Joyie randomly mentioned Art Cafe out of nowhere. I suddenly remembered Shim’s post about her eating in that cafe. So deciding that it might be a good place to eat, we went there.
It was a few minutes walk from Casa Cecilia. And that, my friends, led to us calling that place our hideout in El Nido.
When in El Nido, this restaurant is a must try. You won’t regret it. We ordered five different meals that night and all of them tasted delicious. Service was also awesome.
Do order their bestseller–Seafood Pasta. And no one would ever forget their avocado ice cream. We ordered two scoops of avocado ice cream with one scoop of cheese flavored ice cream. It was so good.
And yeah, don’t ask what we did for the next two days. Clue: it involved lot of avocado ice cream scoops. 😍
July 25 2016
The best Monday ever!
El Nido during the day.
Don’t worry about toiletries and such. There were groceries stores here, even pharmacies if you suddenly felt a bit unwell.
So today was the day when I could finally join in the water activities. Agenda for today: Tour A. It was all about the lagoons.
But first, the Seven Commandos Beach.
I was so excited to finally be able to join them in their underwater activities. So while Joyie was swimming and taking pictures (and she took off her life vest and snorkeling gears), I played with it, making it a flotation device here and there.
Until this happened…
Um, that was my fault. I didn’t even notice that it fell while I was playing around with her life vest. We tried to pick it up using our foot, but to no avail. We had to call our boatman and ask for help. He got it in one dive. Okay. So much for our mundane struggle. 😅
This was such a rare shot. Because one, I was afraid of underwater activities–fishes and all. The only thing that gets me interested when it comes to underwater stuffs are the corals. But we did see a lot of small jellyfish here. So tiny that you would readily miss them.
After the Seven Commandos, we went to Small Lagoon. This was my personal favorite for the day. I really did enjoy kayaking while sightseeing and gawking at these magnificent works of nature.
See vlog below for our 360 degrees turn. It was funny because we did it the first time and it turned out that the camera wasn’t recording, so we had to go back again and do it all over. It was fun.
And the place was so magnificent. My greatest regret was thinking that there wasn’t much to see, so I didn’t bring my camera. It turned out that the place was so beautiful for words. Never judge a lagoon by what you could see outside. Once you entered inside, you’d be out of words.
Lunchtime again! This was slowly turning to be our favorite time of the day.
Menu for the day:
After that wonderful meal, we were off to Big Lagoon!
Need I say more? It was beautiful.
Um, shortly after, our boat encountered a small malfunction. It would have been nice to be stuck there in the Big Lagoon, but the boat untimely broke down a few distance from the exit of the lagoon.
Well, aside from taking lots of pictures, the best person to see was the ice cream man, who was riding a boat, and yeah, selling ice creams. And the best thing to do? Enjoy a chocolate popsicle under the heat of the sun in the middle of nowhere.
A few minutes later, the boat was up and running again. We headed to the Secret Lagoon.
It was a lagoon where you had to enter a small opening to get inside. Inside the Secret Lagoon:
After that, snorkeling!
Where there were fishes, you wouldn’t be able to find me. 😂 The fishes and I, we weren’t meant to be located together. I freaked out whenever they were near me. But my friends enjoyed this so much. You could tell by the amount of pictures with fishes that they’d taken.
Later that night, we were planning to try a local specialty here–the crocodile sisig. But funny thing was, when we got to the restaurant, they were close on Mondays.
But we went ahead with our other plan: sunset viewing at Corong-Corong. It was a tricycle ride away from the town proper. And apparently, it had one of the best sunset views in El Nido.
The golden sand of Corong-Corong. It was raining a bit where we were sitting.
Why do you use an umbrella when watching sunset in El Nido during the month of July?
a. It was raining.
b. It was hot.
c. All of the above.
d. b more than a
Our answer: d 😂
So after the sunset viewing, we went back to town and searched for a place to eat. We badly wanted to go back to Art Cafe and end the search, but we’d decided to try another place.
We ended up in Squido, a local restaurant that had squid specialties. We ordered their bestseller–Mixed Seafood Curry. And yup, it was worth the long wait.
But then again, we couldn’t let go of Art Cafe yet. It’s dessert time!
During our stay in El Nido, I think we were able to taste everything from the dessert menu. The technique was that all five of us would order different desserts and then we would taste everything. But I think that out of everything, the avocado ice cream won our hearts, hands down. And the espresso with ice cream. And the cheese flavored ice cream. And… well, you get the picture.
There was a thunderstorm happening a few miles away from where we were, but you could see it from the cafe’s veranda. I tried to take pictures of it, but to no avail.
El Nido at night was peaceful. There was also a BPI ATM machine if you needed some cash.
And a view of the port:
July 26, 2016
Last day! Sepanx kicked in a day before we actually left the place. This escapade was coming to an end, and you knew that you’d surely miss the place even before you left.
Tour B was all about caves and snorkeling and some more lovely beaches.
First stop, lunch. We were late for the last day of the tour. So the boatman brought us to Entalula Island and let us enjoy the beauty of the place while they prepared our lunch.
It was simply breathtaking. And there was one funny story that happened to me while here on this island.
I really adore taking pictures. So they went ahead to snorkel while I took some more pictures of the place. I took my time, enjoying the scenery and going here and there.
When I was ready to catch up with them, I got bitten by something. It looked like a fly or a really unusual bee. It didn’t feel itchy or anything, but I got a bit paranoid because the bite was a bit painful compared to your average mosquito bite. And then I saw a reddish bump and a minuscule amount of blood. Nothing to worry about…
…well, until it decided that I was its prey for the day and wouldn’t let me be. It kept on biting me for some reason. I had no choice but to go back to shore and remove my life jacket. It turned out that it was attracted to my life jacket at first. And then, when I went to the other side of the shore, it kept on following me!
When I submerged myself into the water, it somehow decided to let me be. Finally, it went away. In the end, I didn’t get to join my friends while they snorkeled, as I got held back by this insect. Okay, I Googled it. It was a horse-fly. That painful bite! 😂
After that horse-fly incident, we went to Snake Island!
It was supposed to be a sandbar. But then, the water was high (up to waist-deep) that day and it was a bit raining at some places. So we got this situation instead:
But whatever the situation was, when you were in the right company, you’d find ways to enjoy it. Like this one:
Now that’s what you call relationship goals. 😂 They weren’t real couple, but instead were childhood friends and neighbors. Derrick decided that it was tiring to walk all the way to the other side, so he asked Joyie to drag him.
On the way back, he was enjoying it so much that he buckled his life jacket with Joseph’s life jacket. 😂
Next one was Cudugnon Cave. The first cave for this tour. On the island, we saw some locals cleaning up the shore. We had a chat with them and asked about the place. You could actually rent the rooms on the island (I forgot for how much; I think it was around 12k Php) or camp overnight for only Php 200.
When it was our chance, our tour guide set up some life jacket in order for us not to get hurt by the rocks. Getting inside the cave was the tricky part.
Forget about the cave smell (as all caves usually had the same smell), and take in this view.
Creepy. LOL. That was the first part of the cave. It got better where sunlight was able to get in. Okay, it was still creepy there, for some reason.
After this, another cave was waiting for us. Cathedral Cave!
We were only allowed to pass by the cave and have a look. When my friends asked if they could snorkel, the answer was a big no. Our guides told us that there were sea snakes on this part of the ocean.
And last one on the list: Pinagbuyutan Island.
Coconut trees were everywhere.
However, the beach and the view remained splendid.
With a heart full of memories and sand in the pockets of our shorts, we went back to shore washed over with melancholy and happiness just the same. 😊
And now, for the most-awaited crocodile sisig hunt. On our way to the restaurant for the second time, we met this friendly tricycle driver. And for the first time, we actually met a real tour guide. During the short trip from town to the restaurant, he told us stories about El Nido.
The original name of the place was Bacuit. I didn’t know if his succeeding story was accurate, and even the tour guide sounded unsure himself. But he said that the reason why it became Bacuit was that when the Spaniards first asked the locals about the name of the place, the local replied, “Bakit?” That was a Tagalog word for why. And so the name Bacuit.
“On June 17, 1954, Republic Act No. 1140 was approved changing the name of the town from Bacuit to its present name El Nido after the edible nests of swiftlets (collocalia fuciphaga), found in the crevices of its limestone cliffs. These nests, nido in Spanish, the main ingredient for the gourmet nido soup…” (from Wikipedia)
If only it was still early, we would have probably end up hiring him to take us on tour with his tricycle and just tell us stories. He was currently setting up a tour office with a relative of his. If he was the tour guide, I was certain that every trip would be enjoyable.
His contact details:
Back to the crocodile sisig…
After a few minutes of waiting while watching Dolce Amore, the sisig was finally served. The texture was really good. You wouldn’t be able to tell the difference right away, but it sort of had the same texture as chicken.
And guess what? We went back to Art Cafe to grab some dessert. This time, we got a table at their extension, the one facing the shore. It was such a tranquil place.
The avocado ice cream was so popular among us that we ordered everything with one scoop of avocado ice cream on top. 😁 This was what you called as panic buying. LOL. It was superb.
We had a great chat, which touched the topics of relationship, life, and eventually, ghost stories. There was no escaping this one. We stayed at the cafe until it closed at around eleven in the evening. And then we strolled around town some more before going back to our accommodation.
And you wouldn’t believe what happened later on.
We were watching the news and preparing to sleep, when all of a sudden, the lights went out. Hahahaha! What a great timing. We finally experienced the blackout in El Nido. And given our previous topic during dinner, we all huddled together on one bed. After a few minutes, the lights went on again. This time, it was the generator that had taken over while the blackout persisted.
I shortly fell asleep after. Two remained awake. One was using the bathroom when another blackout happened. LOL. Imagine that. Thankfully, our accommodation had a generator. The lights were back after a few seconds. And yeah, no ghosts or anything.
July 27, 2016
Goodbye, El Nido.
After having breakfast, we prepared for the ride back to Puerto Princesa. We left El Nido at around nine in the morning, and we arrived in Puerto Princesa at around two in the afternoon.
We had an ample time to see the city, before our 7:45 flight later that evening.
We went to Baker’s Hill, a famous place here in the city. They were known for their breads and pastries. But we also came here for their…
…which we didn’t get to eat. It was out of stock that day. Tamilok are shipworms. I was up for the challenge, but it was sadly unavailable. Maybe next time. Puerto Princesa City also has so much to offer.
Off to buy pasalubong (souvenirs).
Things to buy when in Palawan:
-Dried Squid (all kinds; they were all good)
-Breads and pastries from Baker’s Hill
-Crocodile sisig. The store could be found in the market. This one’s preserved and could last for three days w/o refrigerator or six months in freezer. Soooooo good.
-And whatever you feel like buying. Buy everything. 😂
For dinner, upon Janine’s recommendation, we went to Rene Saigon to grab some chaolong. It was a Vietnamese dish, which was very popular in Palawan. One word: delicious. And the staff were very friendly.
After that, it was time to say goodbye to this paradise. ‘Till we see you again, Palawan! ♥️
THE CHRONICLES OF JEM (EL NIDO ARC)
-Joyie for her lovely pictures and videos that I also included on this blog.
-Derrick for the pics and for editing most of the pics in “Chronicles of Jem”.
We had a great laugh. 😄
Rough breakdown of expenses for those who are interested:
1,200 – Plane tickets (back and forth)
3,000 – Accommodation for four nights w/ free breakfast
1,400 – Tour C and D
1,000 – Tour A
1,000 – Tour B
1,000 – Van ride to El Nido (back and forth)
2,000 – Food expenses (Art Cafe, Squido, Crocodile Sisig, etc.)
300 – Tricycle rides expenses
Total: 10,900 Php
We did all tours when people usually do just Tour A and/or B. And then, when it came to food, we went all out. Told you, desserts. 😂
And here is the vlog:
Until next trip,
by Sarra Manning
“That was the worst thing about having a relationship with someone, even a pretend relationship. You opened up, let someone in, and when it was over, they had all the ammunition they needed to completely destroy you.”
This pancake relationship. I ship it. She’s a bookish nerd and he’s known to be a ‘manwhore’. Neve and Max. There’s no common ground between them. She’s waiting for her ‘prince charming’ to come back and constantly dreams about their future. But after being slammed by her sister for having no experience when it comes to relationships, she takes up Max’s offer to have what they called as a pancake relationship. It’s test run for the ‘real thing’ she’ll have with ‘prince charming’ later on. Or is it?
So I’m back and doing this book recommendation again. This is a continuation of my disclosure of the books that could be found in my shelf. 😂
For: 18+ (Mature)
This series in five random words…
Why I think you should read this book…
Heroine is amazing. Neve is easy to relate with. She actually reminds me of someone. And all her struggles while losing weight and how she sees herself, it’s real. I think that what makes the story enjoyable. She could be frustrating at times, but you would understand where she was coming from. It’s like that. She’s the truth that you sometimes wish doesn’t exist. Her character growth in this book is worth the applause.
It’s another love story that’s not supposed to happen, but then it did. They’re not supposed to work, but they did. It’s funny like that.
Sarra Manning’s a great author. I’m always on the lookout for her other books.
What I love about this book…
Neve and her weight struggle. Because the author nailed it so well. Here’s to you, extra pounds! 👊
The dynamics of Neve and Max’s relationship. They called it as pancake relationship. One to prepare Neve for the ‘real one’ when her prince charming comes back. But then, things don’t go as planned most of the time. Max also has a reason why he entered this pretend relationship, but let’s not spoil the story. I’ve always wondered what’s his motive is about. But don’t worry, the ending will reveal it.
I was off with Max’s character at first. This manwhore persona. He’s not exactly my type. But I warmed up to him as the story goes on. A person is a person, and he could be more.
The side characters. It’s the perfect blend.
Max’s dog. I don’t know why, but I adore him. Especially the part when Neve took care of him while he’s away.
Favorite quotes from the book…
“What you look like is just one part of who you are – but it’s not all you are.”
“I guess they’re called moments because they don’t last very long.”
“The thing about love was that it caught you unawares, turned up in the most unexpected places, even when you weren’t looking for it.”
“I suppose the things that you always take for granted, that you don’t even notice, are what you miss the most.”
Sweet, bookish Neve Slater always plays by the rules and the number one rule is that good-natured fat girls like her don’t get guys like gorgeous, handsome William, heir to Neve’s heart since university. But William’s been in LA for three years, and Neve’s been slimming down and re-inventing herself so that when he returns, he’ll fall head over heels in love with the new, improved her.
So she’s not that interested in other men. Until her sister Celia points out that if Neve wants William to think she’s an experienced love-goddess and not the fumbling, awkward girl he left behind, then she’d better get some, well, experience.
What Neve needs is someone to show her the ropes, someone like Celia’s colleague Max. Wicked, shallow, sexy Max. And since he’s such a man-slut, and so not Neve’s type, she certainly won’t fall for him. Because William is the man for her… right?