Saturday, March 30, 2013

Potipot Island - Candelaria, Zambales

Travelling with pets is hard for both the pet and the human most specially when taking public transportation. We wanted to celebrate our 5th year anniversary with Charlie and after 10 frustrating phone calls to all provincial bus companies along EDSA, we learned that they do not accept pets not unless they will placed in the bus' compartment area along with the luggage and packages. That includes pets in kennels and diapers. Are you kidding me? No way Jose!

So even if we knew that our trip will be long and uncomfortable, we settled to take an ordinary bus to Olongapo City and to Sta. Cruz. We were in the Victory Liner terminal in Caloocan around 10pm. We chose to travel during the night because the temperature is cooler. Good thing the bus conductor was kind enough to animals and even if I wanted to pay for Charlie's seat, he declined, smiled and said that he will just add him to the headcount and just tell incoming passengers that the seat is already paid (I love you kuya!). Charlie only slept through the night and we had the bus all to ourselves after we dropped the majority of them in Calumpit exit. The driver was even surprised that there was a dog on board because he said that he's so behaved (yeeee!). We arrived at Alta Niña Beach Resort before dawn and Charlie sprang to life when he saw the beach. This is his first beach trip and below are a lot of pictures.(sorry, I was in mommy mode the whole day and wanted to capture everything).

Alta Niña Beach Resort - Candelaria, Zambales

Candaleria is a town in Zambales which serves as a jump-off point to Potipot Island. One of the most known resorts here is Dawal Beach Resort and we stayed there way back 2009 and would love to again but they do not allow pets. My research led me to Alta Niña Resort which shares the same shore with Dawal. I sent an SMS to the number I found online and much to my delight, I got a fast and detailed reply from the owner Ms. Niña  Mabalay. She said that pets (small breeds) are allowed as long as they don't pee/poop in the bed which I'm glad to know because we trained Charlie just like that.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Glamour Crabs Buffet

On our last day in Davao City, we indulged ourselves by eating a lot. Thus the visit to Glamour Crabs Buffet located along Padre Gomez Street which is not far from the city center.  (Trivia: This is our first buffet together! We are not really buffet patrons as we feel that we don't get our money's worth hehe!) But a CRAB BUFFET? Who says no to that?!?


Saturday, March 16, 2013

My first quarter highlights!

Work and business has been taking a toll on me lately and I haven't got the chance to update you guys with a lot of what's been goin' on lately (as if you care haha!) and I know I have a lot of back logs but here's a teaser of some sort.

1. The Boss and I celebrated our 5th year anniversary last January in Potipot Island, Zambales! And we were able to bring Charlie with us! 

2. Our first climb of the year was in Mt. Kalisungan in Laguna and it was also Charlie's first summit!


3. We learned to admit that we are not getting any younger and we are trying to watch out for the food we eat hence the more home-cooked meals and this was our first time to make Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Peanut - Hoisin Sauce! It was so gooood.


4. I subscribed to BDJ Box and I cannot help but shriek whenever my box arrives at home! I' ve been very happy with the loot and I so believe that I getting my money's worth!


5. Charlie's all grown up and this is his happy smile after his first summer cut. He's almost 1 year old!


I took all the photos above with my mobile phone and I cannot believe how seldom I use my camera for things like these! Portables are so in I guess! I downloaded a few apps that I normally use on the computer and the mobility is just so convenient! Having a mobile version of your site is a plus since it will only load the necessary information that someone is looking for without the need to wait for an entire website to load! The Paypal app for example lets me see all my transactions in one go without the need to worry about security! It is so simple and easy to use too.  I guess more and more companies are realizing the demand for mobile apps hence the innovation as a lot of people nowadays already have more tablets and hand-held devices than before. In this day and age, one just doesn't rely on yellow pages anymore when they need something ASAP and more information are found online about a place, a company, a specific shoe brand in just a few taps and swipes.  I am lucky to be a part of this generation and I can't imagine how I survived high school life having spent a lot of hours looking for some unfamiliar word in a 5-inch dictionary!

So yeah, that's how my 2013 is so far! I promise more travel posts soon as I am also cringing with the workload that I need to finish!

Hasta luego!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Royale House Travel Inn and Suites - Davao City

My mom's smile lasted for more than a couple of minutes as soon as she knew that the Boss and I are going to Davao. It was her second home after having spent her latter part of college and internship there. Instantly, she told me about the city and made a list of places we need to see, where to buy Marang (a local fruit), look for her former landlady and her former professor at University of Mindanao. She used to live along C.M.Recto St which is also known as the oldest street in Davao. 

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to do anything. (I love you mama!)

During the itinerary planning, I chanced upon The Royale House which is along C.M Recto St. online and not to say the least but they have very cheap rates for air-conditioned rooms right in the heart of the city. We included it in the list of pension houses to check once we arrive back in the city from Kidapawan. We didn't make any reservations in advance as we weren't sure if we will need to stay long in the mountain so we just called the day itself and I thanked the gods of travel and cheap accommodations because a room was available just for the night we need!


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Isla Reta, Samal Island - Davao City

The day after our Mt. Apo climb, we went back to Davao City, bought supplies in Gaisano Mall and hopped  cab to Sta. Ana Wharf where we took a ferry to Isla Reta (woah, that's a mouthful!). We decided to make it a part of our itinerary while in Davao after our climb since we'll be there after all and we've been itching to go to the beach for a while now since our last was in Bohol way back March 2012.

Isla Reta is a peaceful, lush and simple resort in Talikud Island which is a part of Samal Island. There are boats that charter passengers from Sta Ana Wharf to Samal Island then to Talikud Island (P60/pax) but you can also opt to ride a ferry straight to Isla Reta but you got to make sure to catch it. Will post the schedules below.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lake Agko Mountain Resort - Kidapawan City

Lake Agko is the nearest jump-off point in climbing Mt. Apo via the Kidapawan Trail. Here, you can rest, prepare your food and take a dip in their hot spring pool with a beer in hand. Since we wanted to start our trek as early as possible, we decided to spend the night here since it is just a 10-minute walk down the Kidapawan Trail. 

Looking around online for this resort proved to be the most stressful part while I was making our Davao itinerary. There are not so much information about it or contact persons that you can call or talk to to inquire. I tried all the numbers I saw in the photos from only God-knows-when-it existed to no avail. Upon calling the Tourism Office in Kidapawan, they told me that we can just go there anytime since it was open daily. No need to book in advance but expect that the rooms are always full. We brought tents so no need for that.

resort entrance

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Itinerary for 2: Mt. Apo via Kidapawan - Kidapawan

This is not a suggested itinerary but merely a guide for you to have an idea of what to expect and how much money you need to prepare if you want to climb Mt. Apo and DIY it (do-it-yourself) instead of joining group/packaged tours.

Before the climb:
  • Secure a medical certificate.
  • Fill out the application form. You can download it here. It is best if you already have it upon reaching the Kidapawan Tourism Center.
  • Contact Ms. Gillian Rey at 0999-995-7891 (Tourism Center officer) and let her know your climb dates and other details.
  • Train. Jog. Hydrate. Prepare your gear accordingly.

Arrival at Davao City:
  • Take a taxi from the airport to Gaisano Mall (roughly 20-30 minutes away).
  • The vans bound to Kidapawan are just across the mall. Fare is P150/person. Travel time is around 2-3 hours. You can also take a bus from Ecoland Bus Station near SM City.
  • Tell the driver to drop you off at the Kidapawan Tourism Center. Submit your requirements, pay the climb permit P500/person.
  • The Tourism Center will assign a guide for you for P800/day and if you want to hire a porter, it is P300/day. 1 guide is to 6 persons exclusive of food.
  • Our guide made a list of the supplies that we needed to buy. They lent us their butane tanks and we just paid for a refill instead of buying new ones. The market is just across the Tourism Center and our guide went ahead to buy everything while we were undergoing the orientation.
  • We wanted to start early for our climb the next day so we went to Lake Agko and spent the night there. It is just a 10 - minute walk to the jump off. To go there, take a habal habal (45 minutes), good for 2 persons + bags for P250/one way. Of course, your guide and porter will come along with you at the same time so you need to pay for their transportation as well.
  • Entrance fee for overnighters is P35/person. Your guides are free of charge. We rented a cottage for P250/night and just pitched our tents instead of renting a room for P600/night. No need to worry about your guides as they are flexible enough to sleep anywhere.
  • Our guides prepared, pre-cooked and packed our food for the next morning.
  • If you have things that you won't need during the climb, you can leave them at the guard house and just tip the guard and tell him that you will check in again when you descend. Make sure your bags have padlocks.
Post climb: 
  • We only spent a night in Lake Venado and descended on the same day of our summit assault. We arrived before dusk at Lake Agko where we spent the night again. The next morning, we took a habal habal and asked the driver to drop us off at Overland Bus Terminal where we took a van back to Davao City. We weren't able to get our climb certificates and just gave money to our guide to have them shipped to Manila.
Personal notes:
  • If you plan to do a 2d/1night climb, arriving early at Davao City is a must since you need to allot some travel time to Kidapawan and to Lake Agko. In our case, we arrived in Davao City at 6 in the morning and were already in Kidapawan by 10AM  and arrived in Lake Agko at 4:30PM. It can be taxing but it is better if you can rest well before the day of the climb.
  • Food in Davao is dirt cheap. 3 viands, 2 cups of rice and 2 bananas for just P89. What say you?
  • Bring your own cook set and stove. I'm not sure if all of the guides have their own stoves but 2 is better than 1 to prepare the food faster and you at least have a back up in case one fails.
  • Lake Agko has sari-sari stores outside and a store inside where you can buy supplies as well but expect that it is double the price. They also have frozen meats you can buy and have them cook the way you want it. We had Tinolang Manok on our last night and paid P255 with 3 cups of rice enough to fill the 4 of us.
  • Restrooms in Lake Agko are not well maintained and water comes from a natural source so prepare to shiver when taking a shower. (it deserves a separate post)
  • Make sure to try the grilled banana-q in Lake Agko. Souvenirs like mugs, key chains, t-shirts etc are also available.
  • Since you are already in Davao, allot a few more days to go around the city or take a side trip to Samal Island.
Here is our summarized itinerary and expenses:

I hope this helps you plan your climb and if you have any other questions, feel free to comment below. :)

Hasta luego!
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