Couchsurfing Special: Jessie’s 1-day visit in Lipa

It’s been a while since I last accepted a Couchsurfer. I have been quite busy and I honestly did not think that I would have time soon.

A few days ago, I received a request from this guy, Jessie. I can say that I really enjoyed his company. At first, I didn’t want to accept him since I am doing a lot of stuff but I said, why not? Gladly, there’s a scheduled loss of electricity for my area that day. That means I have nothing to do.

Jessie arrived earlier than expected. I put on some decent clothes and went straight to the mall. I honestly did not know what to do or where to bring up and there I was, feeling lost. Haha! I somehow regret agreeing to meet up with him because there was nothing I could offer.

Being a Filipino himself, he already tried Filipino foods and that’s a challenge. We sat on a cafe but realized we preferred to eat somewhere else. Not knowing what to do, I randomly selected another place that offers something unique. I chose Jin Zai, which is a Japanese place that offers Takoyaki.

Takoyaki.jpg

We had a nice conversation about his experiences in the North–which was amazing by the way! Although Jessie does not have a specific plan for his trip, he managed to embrace his new-found freedom. I loved how exciting his adventures were. I admire his persistent quest to find himself an exciting experience.

We went home and took a bit of rest. We walked our way to San Sebastian Cathedral just to take a peek and explore this historical house of Segunda Katigbak.

There’s nothing much to see but I am glad that we had a chance to hang out.

I love how enthusiastic he is in making things work for him. His journey, I would say, has a big challenge. And I have come to realize that there are moments that made me start to lose hope.

Meeting Jessie is very memorable for me. He is just focused on one thing–to travel. And despite the difficulty, people have become instruments to help him find his purpose. Of course, not all opportunities will suit his goals, but there are people whom he had learn many things from.

I am proud to say that my love for sharing and writing was fueled even more. I think, it’s destiny to meet such a nice young man, Jessie.

Jessie,

I, and my family are excited for you and your journey. There may be things that you are not even interested to pursue right now, but if you find those things helpful to your journey, take a step. Try little things that will help you become a better version of yourself.

I am scared about some things in life too but I look forward to grow continuously as a person just like others. And I can see, that with your talent and your dreams, you’ll be where you want to be.

Whenever you feel that you are losing yourself in the process, remember that you are not alone. There are many of us–dreamers who have failed several times. But we are here. We are still here, chasing that dream.

See you again and let’s work together! 🙂

 

Advertisements

Take off your…

Upon arrival, I took off my shoes. I had to wear it for a few hours and it was really uncomfortable when it’s all muddy and wet. Good thing, I wore my “plastic” socks. Haha.

Anyway, the room did not have a television, but it has a nice table where we put our things, a spacious cabinet and enough space for our shoes and laundry. The room we booked has 3 beds. 1 is a double deck  and the other one is a single bed.

We wanted to take some rest but we had to move. We went to the Municipal Tourist Center. It only cost us 35 Philippine pesos for the environmental fee. And all we had to do was bring the receipt at all sites. It is a must to get a tour guide when going to the tourist spots. At first, I did not like that, but I realized that it helps the tourism industry and the locals to be involved in it.

The good thing about Isabelo’s Inn is that it is at the center of everything. It literally just in front of the municipal center,  it is beside the fresh fruits being sold, we have access to ATM and the transportation service can just pick us up nearby.

We took a little bit of rest then we started exploring the area. We went to the hanging coffins. Initially, we did not want to be assisted by a tour guide. But it was a requirement.

onestepadventures_HangingCoffinsSagada.jpg

For 200 Philippines pesos, we were guided by a nice man who kindly toured as around the area. And I have to admit, it may be easy to get to the place on our own, but these guides grew up in this place and there’s no better way to go to different areas but with their kind help. We also get to know something about their way of life.

We then went to dinner called the Yogurt House. We chose a spot upstairs, where we gladly waited for a nice meal. 🙂

onestepadventures_Sagada YogurtHousejpg.jpg

 

We then ended the evening with a little chit chat and plans about the next day while enjoying a bottle of beer.

 

Check out Part III

Let’s go to Sagada! Part 1

Welcome back! I am excited to tell you more about our fun experience!

So after a nice trip in Batad, Ifugao, we finally reached our next destination–Sagada!! I can’t even describe my excitement. It feels like I am in a dream. Sagada has always been like a dream destination for us–at least for the people who are in my circle.

20170405_101643.jpg

This is Sagada Weaving Centre. We did not go in but it’s a pleasure to be on the same road. 

To tell you honestly, I never thought I would ever be in Sagada. Prior to Rast’o and Miso’s trip, I thought I cannot go with them because of my previously planned trip in a totally different country. But because there are better plans for me, I had to cancel my trip. It got me so fired up because it means that I can go with them.

Image result for isabelo's inn

credits to: Travelbook.ph

It was a short trip from Ifugao to Sagada, Mt. Province. Upon arrival, we went straight to our accommodation. It was a very nice place. It’s well-maintained. And each room has its own assigned bathrooms. How cool is that? Despite the small space, it’s still great.

Check out Part II

 

The Missing Jumpshots

Allie was shocked to hear about the costly fare going to Batad. It wasn’t really clear why it would cost too much. She understands that there are only a few rides but it didn’t feel right. After about an hour, they arrived safely at their destination. Now, it is clear why the fare had to cost that much. The zigzags, the narrow road, the scary heights of these breathtaking mountains and the safety of the drivers. It’s worth the drive, yet dangerous to try.

The beauty of the various shades of green left them wanting more. Eventually, its beauty led them to an awesome trekking activity. They arrived at their hostel shortly after 20 minutes.  They continued exploring the muddy paths of Batad. Despite the numerous dead ends, they managed to find alternative routes until they find the next path.  Allie, an inexperienced hiker, had a difficult time. But she did not stop. She continued climbing, walking and doing her best until they reached the top. She was dragging her feet on the way up, but that didn’t stop her from having fun.

onestepadventures_batad.jpg

Michal continued to be his funny self and enjoyed jumping from one rock to another. He even took an equipment used for farming and strike a pose.  Rast’o, on the other hand, balanced having conversations between the two while helping Allie hop onto the next step on of this beautiful mountain.

Jumpshots – that’s what they love to do. Michal and and Rast’o enjoyed jumping onto the air for a well-taken photo. But that’s long gone. Those jumpshots were meant to be hidden. There were decent photos too, so that’s much better than those jumpshots you are never going to see.

 

They continued their trekking adventure. The rice field surrounded them with amazement. There’s nothing but fields of green. The mud complements the green perfectly.

“Ahh!” Allie managed to let out a short-lived scream. She slipped. Her left foot got stuck in the mud. They all laughed.

Every once in a while, Allie stops. With a constant push from Rast’o and reminders from Michal, they all made it to the top. These two men ordered a bottle of beer each. These stores have drinks that relieved the travelers from hunger and exhaustion. Allie ordered a cup of tea.

The clouds started to cover the beauty of greens. It’s getting dark. They had to move fast. It took them about an hour to reach the other side of the mountain. But it’s okay. They got home and took a rest.

 

….to be continued.

Affordable Room in Puerto Galera

WHERE TO STAY: 

Inside the White Beach Resort are numerous sub-resorts. They offer a lot of places where you can spend the night.  The rooms with air conditioning facilities, bathroom and wifi can range from Php 1000 to Php 2880 ($21 – $63). 

But wait! Don’t fret.

We stayed at Bankawan Beach Resort. It is not very visible to the public but it’s really quiet and you have access to a convenience store where you buy all the necessities.

  • The room worth Php 1000 is definitely a good place to stay. It can accommodate up to three people.
  • Backpacking Tip: Bring a portable mattress or a comfortable piece of cloth. It would be great if you can bring something that feels like a thick blanket. You can spread that blanket on the floor later in the night. Now, 5 people can stay. 🙂
  • The bathroom is small, but who cares? As long as you can enjoy the water and you can pee, then you have everything you need! Besides, there’s a mirror that you can use to see your face. 🙂
  • Outside the room, there’s a small space that you can use to chit chat or drink some alcohol if you want to.
  • After swimming, you can also choose to hang your swimwear or your towel. It will surely dry the next day, even if you put it there late in the night.

Alternative: 

If you don’t have the budget for that or if you want to feel more adventurous like a real backpacker, you can choose to bring a tent with you and set it up on the white sand. I’m just uncertain if there’s rent though. The good thing about this experience is you can see the sunset right away or the sunrise the next day. On the other hand, it might be less comfortable if you choose to stay there. You’d have to sacrifice your privacy and your waiting time if you want to take a bath.

So there you go! As low as 1000 Philippine Pesos, you have officially survived backpacking in White Beach Resort in Puerto Galera.

Story of the Week: On our way to Banaue

It has been a long afternoon. It was warm, but it rained too. But it didn’t matter.  They just happened to be enjoying the long walk from Rizal park until they stumbled upon this wonderful view near the sea. And surprise, surprise! There is a restaurant nearby called Harbor View. It was relaxing. It filled Allie’s heart with joy and appreciation. The view was very simple yet it gave her a sense of peace. She had never been there and would never have been there if not for these two.

onestepadventures.flag.jpg

They decided to order beer and fresh mango juice. Oh, the mango juice was so sweet. You should order one too!

It’s almost six in the evening and they only had few hours left before the trip to Banaue. Seeing that it”s getting dark, they hailed a cab through Uber and went straight to Mall of Asia. They wandered around.

 

onestepadventures.MallofAsia.jpg

They found some interesting spots outside and eventually found their way to Don Henrico’s.

onestepadventures.pizza.jpg

It was fun finding a place to eat since the three were totally lost and undecided. Each of them ordered a 10-inch pizza; one was Seafood Romano, second was Primavera Pizza and the last one was Ham and Cheese–at least that’s what she remembers.

 

The time has finally come. Allie, Rast’o and Michal left for Banaue. They had different buses. Allie rode the Ohayami while Rast’o and Michal rode the Florida bus. These two buses are the ones you will find online if you are looking for a trip to Banaue and other places in the north.  (Check Pinoy Travel’s website for a smarter booking. )

 

It was indeed a long trip–9 hours to be exact. Ohayami left at 10 PM while Florida left at 10:45 PM. These buses have their own terminals but at the end of your trip, you will still go to the same town center in Banaue.

Allie arrived at about 6:40 AM while the other two arrived a few minutes after she did. The guides were serious about their jobs and was very helpful in providing their services. The bus was mostly filled with people from European countries. Allie wasn’t prepared for that, but discovering that Banaue is a popular destination for foreigners, it made her feel proud and happy. Ironically, she felt like she was on a trip abroad. The bus was filled with chatters in different languages. At some point, a group was laughing genuinely at their own jokes while the others are minding their business. But it wasn’t awkward at all. Allie’s excitement and anticipation of getting off the bus grew. She had to keep it to herself though as she did not want to look crazy smiling alone.

Next is the arrival.

There was a jeep ready to assist them in going to the Town Center. For those who have reservations already, someone will pick them up. Allie, Rast’o and Michal were assisted perfectly separately. Eventually, they were all in the town center eating their breakfast. The breakfast was a traditional Filipino meal. You can order something like longganisa, tapa, eggs (scrambled or sunny-side up), with rice, cucumber and tomatoes. The prices are reasonable and you would surely enjoy the food.

…to be continued.

Couchsurfing and more!

It took me a while to write. I cannot seem to find the right words to describe how happy my trip had been. I will try to write this in a  third person’s point of view.

 

~*~

On April 2, Allie started her adventure. Wait, it was March 31st. But when did the true adventure start? April 2, indeed. After hosting a few guests for sometime now, she realized that she had never been a guest herself. So she rode a bus to Manila, without a doubt. (stories for that part is in another post)

Going there was filled with uncertainty and excitement. She was excited about the fact that she did not have a clue about what to do. But then, life is short. Life is about changes and it’s not going to stop.

Manila, Philippines–this is the capital city of the Philippines and yet, she barely knew anything. Life has been evolving around her small house in Batangas, and since then life seems to just move farther away. Despite this, she tried the wonders of the unknown.

On April 2, Allie, along with her host Ric, went to Malate to pick up Rast’o and Michal. She was excited and numb at the same time. There was no feeling of absolute certainty. She was just in a neutral state of her emotions. She went up to the hostel to pick them up. Riding the elevator seemed like it’s taking a lifetime. In excitement, she immediately saw a guy dancing in front of the opened elevator doors. Happily, she said, “Hey!” And to her surprise, it was the wrong guy. What an embarrassing moment. But then, it didn’t seem to matter at all. She exited the small rectangular box and went straight to the reception area where she was welcomed by a fellow Filipino with a smile.

As they were checking the names, Allie turned around and wait. Suddenly, these two images of the men she saw online appeared in front of her. It was…it was, no surprise at all. All she felt was comfort and a sense of happiness. It was like they knew each other, particularly Rast’o for a long time. It wasn’t awkward at all. However, it was weird for Allie. She cannot seem to hear or see everything clearly. Every view and sound that she hears seem to just move past her senses.

Hopping onto the car, they have already put their bags in the trunk. They met Ric and they got along pretty well. Ric is a lovely host. He let Allie stay in his place in the last minute through couchsurfing. His hospitality gave her the sense of fulfillment when they stopped over for dinner and visited the Venice Piazza in Taguig.

venice piazza.jpg

Not knowing Allie, Rast’o and Michal, it was still a good experience. Ric had been very accommodating and fun.

In the afternoon, the three were left alone. They started going around Intramuros and Rizal Park. With the help of an offline Philippine map, they managed to go around the area and have a relaxing walk.

Rizal Park.jpg

Allie did not even feel nostalgic about it despite her first visit for more then a decade ago. To her, this is a new feeling. Rast’o made it so easy to communicate, while Michal was having fun haggling with Mango vendors. It was funny, to say the least. Allie suspects that it was Michal’s way of practicing his communication skills.

 

…to be continued