Just a 2 hour drive from Sydney is this wonderful blue mountains. Driving there is easy, you can take A32 if you don’t have e-tags like us or M2 to get there by 1h 39 mins. Be careful driving as … Continue reading
Me and two of my friens flew from Manila to Dumaguete. From Dumaguete we hired a tricycle going to the port where we took a ferry to Siquijor. After checking in at the hotel, we went sight seeing straight away.
We stayed at the beautiful Villa Marmarine.
We only have half day for sight seeing that day. We started by going to this view point where you can see the beautiful Siquijor island.
Top view of Siquijor, excuse my selfie hehe:
We went to a tourism office where we hired guides for Cantabon Caves. The cave was pretty challenging too but not as much as Sagada’s. Here are some photos:
What’s really cool about this cave is there are pools inside.
There’s even a shower too!
As far as I remember we spent 3-4 hours inside the cave. I’ve torn my leggings but meh, I love this cave!
Next morning, we went to the beach just in front of the Villa Marmarine.
After having breakfast, we went to sight seeing again! First on our list is the century old house:
After that we went to a mangrove sanctuary called Guiwanon Spring park
We spent couple of minutes at mangove sanctuary and after, we went to Salagddoong beach
I really enjoyed Salagdoong specially the small fishes you can see just in the shore. You can also jump on top of the cliff – if you know how to swim. I have never seen a lifeguard there though.
After chilling at Salagdoong and playing with the fishes, we went to St. Isidore Labradore Parish Church and Convent.
And the highlight of the day is…Cambugahay Falls. I love the color of this waterfalls, it is so blue!
The last stop is this balete tree with free foot spa! I mean fish food spa :)
We checked in at another hotel called Coco Grove Hotel where we received a free room upgrade, yey! The whole resort is so big, you can get lost going to your room. Anyway, the only thing I hate here is that there is no wifi and not even a good mobile signal at the rooms. You have to walk and connect to their wifi in the reception, which is such a hassle.
The next morning, we headed back to Dumaguete. It was a lovely trip which includes caving, beach bumming, and sight seeing! Truly a wonderful experience and another must see in the Philippines!
Toploading from Bontoc to Sagada! Di pa uso ang selfie stick dati, kaya eto sa inyo!
Only one day in Sagada??? Yeah, me and my friend Ana decided to go to Batad with our new found friend Athena from Taiwan. So the two/three days that we are supposed to spend in Sagada became one day! So what to do in a day? Spelunking! Me and Ana arrived early afternoon in Sagada. After having lunch, we headed to the tourism office where we met couple of other tourists (including Athena who is traveling Philippines alone). They were hiring guide for the ‘cave connection’ tour (Sumaguing and Lumiang Cave) and we ended up going with them (because of course the more the merrier). Guides are 1 is to 2 tourists, there were 6 of us so we have 3 guides, hooray!
Welcoming us in the cave are these coffins. Don’t fret, they’re not the hikers! These are the remains of the locals living here. It is called the Burial Cave of Lumiang, the cave is supposed to shelter the remains from the elements.
This is not easy… without the guides, I think I’ll be dead inside. Kidding! I really enjoyed rapelling, crawling and swimming inside the caves.
The cave is so beautiful! Here are some photos that my guide took:
When inside the cave, trust your guide. Listen to them, they know what they are doing. Don’t be scared. Don’t stop believing and don’t give up! If I can do it, so can you!
I don’t know how long the whole journey took us…maybe 5 hours? I dunno, but I truly enjoyed it! Worth all the pain!
The next day, me and Ana walked around Sagada. We checked out the church and the hanging coffins (from afar):
By 10 am, we were back on the road again en route Batad.
My second time in Mindanao (after going to Davao last August 2012 alone). I was contemplating between going to Bucas Grande or Enchanted River. Cost wise, Bucas Grande is a bit expensive for a solo traveler like me, imagine renting a whole boat if there is no one to share with. It is just so happen to that when I posted in couch surfing group in fb that I am going to Butuan City, a guy named Harry Balais replied and he said he also organizes a trip there. His group is coming from Davao. I agreed to join their group.
We agreed to meet up in San Francisco in Surigao. Next morning, they picked me up from the terminal.
Our first stop was Tinuy-An falls – a waterfalls found in Bislig City. This 3-tiered water falls is considered the Niagara falls of the Philippines.
After having lunch in this cool place, we went to the Enchanted River in Talisay, Hinatuan.
No one knows where the water comes from as it is six hundred meters away from coastline of Hinatuan Bay. The water, as you can see from the photos are so blue it looks unreal. You can’t see the fishes in these photos but they are really BIG. No one is allowed to swim when they feed the fishes here (which is during 3pm as I remember) for few minutes. This place is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to in the Philippines and I recommend everyone to see this at least once in your life.
After staying here for few hours, we went back to the road again, this time going to a resort to spend the night.
The next morning, we went island hopping – Britannia group of islands. You can see more photos here from Harry’s website.
First stop is Naked island. Naked because there’s no trees, just white sand bar here.
And then other islands such as Buslon, Hiyor-hiyoran, etc.
Who knew these beautiful islands exist in this place? Honestly, I never imagined Surigao would be this beautiful… I was blown away.
We went back to the resort satisfied and happy.
The next day, we went back to the road. Me going to Butuan city and the rest heading back to Davao.
I met so many friends and seen lots of beautiful places in this trip. I was supposed to cancel this trip but glad I never did.
I will write more about Butuan City on the coming days. Thanks for reading!
Straight from Takayama, I reached Osaka around 8 pm. I stayed at Hostel Toyo (very cheap btw) which is walking distance from the bus station (of course it took me time getting to the area as I get lost ugh again!!!). After walking around nearby streets, I found a little nice restaurant where I tried plum wine and some deep fried sea food. This is the first time I felt scared walking around alone in Japan. There are few drunkards walking trying to talk to me. Oh well, I still made it to the hostel safe and sound.
Hotel Toyo may not be for you if you want a sound proof room. I literally can hear every footsteps on the corridor and every chit chats from other rooms. The toilet was just as bad. But hey, I’m a cowboy and I get what I paid for, not complaining here! What I love about the hotel though is that the staff are so good in English and would always be there to help you. A staff told me to bring an umbrella because it is going to rain, I ignored his advise so I ended up… soaking wet in the rain :( yeah I know. When a japanese guy tells you to bring umbrella, bring one!!!
The next day, I went shopping at Daiso which was great, I spent 2000 yen on useful stuff. After that, I catched a train ad went food trippin at Dotonburi – the Kitchen of Japan… Okonomiyaki, japanese hot cake (i forgot the japanese term), fried stuff and fruit shake and coffee jellya are some of the food I tried here.
After food trippin, I went to another shopping district called Tenjimbashi-suji Shopping Street – the longest one in Japan. Jeezzzzz the japanese shoes are so adorable!!! I wish I bought lots of them.
It rained so didn’t go out and see Himeji castle, I went back to the hostel and checked out. Headed to the airport back to Manila.
The japanese people are so helpful even if they can’t speak English, they will still help you! One time I had a chat with a beautiful Japanese woman who asked me where I am from and how old I am. So I told her and she said how brave of me to travel all alone in Japan.
As part of my trip to Shirakawa-go trip (read story here or here for more photos), I stayed one night in Takayama. The bus trip from Kyoto was part of the tour that I booked in J Hoppers– leaving morning and arriving afternoon in Takayama. The bus is a nice double decker with few stopover during the journey. It would take 5 hours to reach Takayama from Kyoto but as soon as you reach the mountain area, you won’t be bored of the things that you will see.
As soon as I reached the Takayama proper, adventure begins with finding the J Hoppers hostel. It was pretty hard that time as there was a Takayama food festival and there are heaps of people.
I asked little japanese students if they know where I should go, one of them speaks english but don’t know where my hostel is. Their english teacher came to help but she unfortunately doesn’t know the area too well. Luckily, when I was asking a japanese policeman (who also have limited english), a man approached me. He’s been to Philippines and was surprised a little girl like me was traveling there alone. To make the long story short, he was able to help me.
Home sweet home! My bed for the night, so lovely!
Upon checking in, I rest for few minutes (my feet was so sore from all the walking) and then came back to where the food festival is, this time hoping not to get lost again lol!
There are small temples in Takayama that I checked out as well.
Carps! Literally there are big carps in this river.
Some Japanese fashionista kawaii girls:
I tried the cherry blossom ice cream which I found really delicious:
I also tried some rice goodies in this really old store:
Some photos of girls dressed up in kimono:
I also checked out the Takayama village where you can find old tradional houses (which was really crowded by tourists and local students by the way).
Wait until 5 or 6 pm and the crowd will clear up… Also, don’t be scared to ask someone to take a photo of you.
Takayama is known for its beef – Hida beef and I tried it in one of the restaurants with matching japanese beer.
It has been a tiring day for me and guess what happened to me on my way to hostel? I got lost again! I was supposed to go to a spa but I literally could not walk and called it a day.
Thanks for reading this post! I will make a post about my trip to Osaka in the coming days!
May 23, 2014
My first day in Kyoto, Japan was spent for sight seeing. In this post I will be talking about my experience in Arashiyama and the most beautiful place I’ve seen in Japan – Bamboo Garden. I will write more about Kyoto in the coming days.
By 6:30am I am already by Kyoto Station. I had a quick breakfast at McDonald’s for 200 Yen. Most restaurants in the station aren’t open that time of the day so forgive me for eating at fast food chain. I also bought some food and drinks in a convenience store inside Kyoto Station (you can use your ICOCA card).
I rode the JR Sagano Line from Kyoto to Arashiyama, the fare is 210 yen (I use my Icoca card here). If you don’t have an ICOCA card, just simply purchase a ticket.
From Arashiyama, I walked around 20 minutes going to the Bamboo Garden. It was hard to find the right route as the signs there are not in English and people barely speak English. Since I do not have Japan simcard and I have no data in my phone, I simply relied on my instict and of course by asking strangers on which way to go. It was a bit of a challenge, I was in Arashiyama and no one seems to understand BAMBOO GARDEN!!! I showed them the photos and these kind Japanese men and women help me using sign language to finally find my way to the Bamboo Forest.
Even though I got lost, I enjoyed walking around the residential area. The smell of the place is really different, it smells like pine trees and flowers, it is so refreshing!
I passed over a nice temple (which I forgot the name, sorry!).
Since it is spring time, expect to see flowers everywhere! Also make sure to bring some anti histamine if you suffer from hay fever.
Nice little pond here.
Better be happy seeing this sign! It means you are so close to the garden!
After 20 minutes of walking around, I found this superb bamboo forest! It is so beautiful, isn’t it?
The one kilometer walk is not tiresome especially if you are surrounded by fresh smelling bamboo.
After few minutes of walking, I ended up in Tenryu-ji Temple. If you want to see the temple and its picturesque gardens, pay 500 yen.
Everything is green with envy. This how maple tree looks during spring time!
The most picturesque place I have ever seen in my life is this pond, I wonder how much pretty it would look like during autumn!
If you want to see how the temple looks like inside, pay 100 yen.
Here are some photos in the temple:
It was such a nice experience and at around 10:00 am, I went outside this beautiful temple and check out souvenir shops outside.
After 30 minutes, I decided to leave and ride randen train just in front of the temple. I headed to Ktano-Hakubaicho where I can take a bus to the Golden Temple. Note that you can pay 210 yen or you can use your Icoca card upon exit. I’ll write more about the Golden Temple and my adventures in Kyoto in the coming days
1. Walk around and enjoy beautiful architecture in Dunedin 2. Ride one of the world’s best train trip – Taieri Gorge Railway. For $89, me and my partner tried the 4 hour return trip from Dunedin to Pukerangi. Check out … Continue reading
From Sagada to Batad
We left SAGADA at 10am and headed to Bontoc. At Bontoc, we waited 2 hours until a group of Americans join us in the jeepney. There was no more room inside for 5 of them so I told them to sit in the roof! We arrived at Banaue at 2:45 pm catching the jeep to Batad Saddle point from where we did an hour trip to the village (which supposed to be a 30-min trek. Seeing the amazing BATAD RICE TERRACES took our breaths away. We originally plan to stay at Ramon homestay but found the place a bit overrated so we opted to stay at Batad Pension House where we had a company of French students.
Trekking the terraces and Tappiya Falls
Our journey started by trekking the rice terraces. Keeping ourselves balanced and not falling to very steep terraces was a CHALLENGE! I have never been so scared in my life but I must say I WOULD BE HAPPY TO DO IT AGAIN!
Our next destination was the Tappiya falls.The chilling water did not stop us to take a plunge! It was amazing that even you are too far from the falls, you can still feel the mist. After 2 hours we left the falls and head back to the village. We had our lunch at the first hostel in Batad called FOREGINER’S INN where we met a family of French and a co-couchsurfers from USA and China. We head back to the pension feeling amazed by the beauty of the terraces. Although tired, we had rice wine before dinner and shared it with our amigos from Spain!
Going back home
It was raining and we are supposed to leave the pension by 7:30 am. We hired 2 porters because we cant afford a 3 hour trek to Saddle point should we carry our own bags. We reached the Saddle point before the 9 am jeep leaves for Banaue.
It was awesome to experience how the people live in the mountains. It is hard to imagine how one can live in a place with no signal but still the people live their lives happily, satisfied with what they have.