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.

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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! 🙂

 

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.

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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. 🙂

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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.

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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.

 

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

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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.

Mountain Adventures with Nikhsplorer!

Hi everyone! I’m back with another post!

Today, we’ll hear from Nikhail. Recently,  she is going to many places and I am glad that she agreed to share her traveling adventures with us. So if you haven’t been to the Philippines yet, here’s some itinerary you might want to add in your plan.

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Q: What’s your name?
A: Nikhail Grace Z. Gonzales aka nikhsplorer hehe 😅

Q: Where are you from?
A: I am from Batangas but been working and living in Makati since 2012.

Q: What is your dream?
A: LOTS 😂 i have lots of dreams on different aspects but since this is about travel so my dream is to travel and explore different places in the philippines and even other parts of the world with a purpose. So Travel and explore with a purpose. A purpose that is more of others and less for self. You’ll know more about it in my succeeding trips. Hehe

Q: When have you decided that you want to travel? Is it something that you have always wanted?
A: Since I started working. Since I started earning on my own. Yes, always! 😃

Q: Where did you travel recently?
A: We had a day tour at Minalungao in Nueva Ecija last Feb. 26. And a trilogy hike in Nasugbu (Batulao, Talamitam and Apayang) last Jan. 14. And last dec 2016, had a 3 day trip in Agusan del Norte. Went to tinuy-an falls, enchanted river and island hopping at Britania group of islands.

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                                                                   Minalugao, Nueve Ecija                                                                       Photo source: Nikhail Gonzales

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                                                                                Batulao                                                                   Photo Source: Nikhail Gonzales

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Talamitam

 

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                                               Apayang                                                      Photo source: Nikhail Gonzales

Q: Is that your favorite place so far? If not, please tell me your favorite, and why?
A: So far, my favorite was the trilogy experience because I must say it is really an achievement to have climbed 3 mountains in one day with a side trip pa to caleruega church.

That’s indeed an achievement Nikhail! I think it’s amazing to climb 3 mountains in one day. I can imagine the thrill and satisfaction in every climb. 🙂

 

Q: Was it difficult to go there? How long did it take you to get there?
A: No it’s not. Since we left manila so early, we only had 1.5 hours of travel to nasugbu.

As you know, it’s always traffic in Manila so leaving early can give you a big headstart! Beat the traffic by leaving early. 🙂

Q: How much did you have to spend so you can experience the adventures at its best?
A: 3 mountains for only Php746.00 😁

Wow! That’s an awesome deal Nikhail! Guys, Php 746.00 is only 14.82 USD. You should include this in your next travel plan. 

Q: How often do you travel?
A: I aim and look forward to have a monthly get away on a budget.

Q: What motivates you to travel despite your busy schedule?
A: Hunger for learning and experience. It is when i travel i get recharged. It is when i travel i learn. It is when i travel i met new people. It is when i travel i get to know about different places. It is when I travel i get to know myself more.

Q: Which do you prefer: Day Tours/ Backpacking (for weeks or months)/ A few overnight stays?
A: So far, we go for DIY day tours.

Q: What are your preparations before going on a trip?
A: Read blogs and itineraries.

How about you guys? Do you do this to? ’cause I do! And it helps a lot. 🙂

Q: If you can travel for the next 3 months, where would you like to go? Why?
A: Batanes. Because of its breathtaking views like New Zealand in PH.

Q: What is your message to our friends who would like to travel but can’t find time out of their day jobs?
A: Make time! That’s the only thing. Or else they won’t be able to travel for the rest of their lives if they always have an excuse.

So there you have it!
Thank you Nikhail for sharing such an exciting experience. Hopefully we helped you get motivated. Life is short. Some things aren’t easy but we have to make time for it just like Nikhail.

 

If you have adventures like this, feel free to send me a message. Let’s talk! 🙂

Story of the Week: Mel’s Oohhlala Sagada Experience

Hello everyone! Here’s our first Story of the Week this March. We are very fortunate to have Mel as our contributor this week since there are so many awesome sights you can see in the North. If you haven’t been to Sagada, then read up! 🙂

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Q: What’s your name?
A: Hi I’m Mel

Q: Where are you from?
A: Batangas, Philippines

Q: What is your dream?
A: I wana go to Neverland! Joke! ( I want to explore my country and other places in the world as well.)

Q: When have you decided that you want to travel? Is it something that you have always wanted?
A: When I entered the corporate world and became more aware of what life has to offer. I might say, YES! I always wanted to travel.

You’re right Mel! Sometimes, all we need is a wider view. So for those of you who haven’t traveled yet, then start now! It’s not too late. Experience is more valuable than the amount of money you’ll spend. 🙂

Q: Where did you travel recently?
A: La Union, Philippines

Q: Is that your favorite place so far? If not, please tell me your favorite, and why?
A: Not my favorite, but I love this place 🙂 My favorite is Sagada in Mt. Province, Philippines, the place where broken heart goes and move on as what the movie “That thing called Tadhana” has implied. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not broken hearted when I went there. Hahaha. Sagada is my favourite because of its simplicity, it’s peaceful there and the cold won’t bother you because of the warm welcome of its locals. The place is also surrounded by nature.

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                                                   Marlboro Mountain of Sagada                                         Source: Mel

Q: Was it difficult to go there? How long did it take you to get there?
A: It’s not that difficult to go there, from Manila to Baguio its six hours then from Baguio to Sagada approximately 4 hours a total of 10 hours.

Q: How much did you have to spend so you can experience the adventures at its best?
A: For me, you don’t have to spend much just to experience the best adventure. You just need to learn the art of appreciation and always be ready for life surprises, like where is the thrill when everything is just planned, right?

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town proper

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source: Mel

My trip in Sagada just cost me around Php 5,000. Php 2,900 for the whole package 3D2N tour inclusive of transfer, entrance & environmental fees and accommodation. For the food Php 100 – 150 per meal (I did make sure that I got to taste & eat the most famous grab at the places that I visited) the rest is for small souvenir and pasalubong.

Q: How often do you travel?
A: When my time & budget permits.

 

So there you have it!

PART I of Mel’s adventures. 🙂

Watch out for PART II. 🙂