HERE’S WHY I MISS MISAMIS OCCIDENTAL

Just a heads up. This is a long post. LOL. If you do not have enough time to read, then scroll down for the two-minute-or-so video that I did for Misamis Occidental or click here.

Otherwise, read on…

Mindanao, the second biggest land mass of the Philippine archipelago of more than 7,100 islands, has always fascinated me. Personally, I think that Mindanao has not been given all these years the amount of attention it rightfully deserves. To many, Mindanao still remains a big mystery. Most of the news we got about Mindanao were about insurgency and war-torn places. But those are all in the past I believe.

It is high time that Mindanao be showcased as a tourist destination. With the current administration’s commitment to drive Mindanao’s tourism to new heights, there is no doubt that more people will begin to understand, appreciate and love this gifted land in the South.

Below is a short video that I prepared featuring the beautiful province of Misamis Occidental. Believe me when I say that this video does not give justice to what Misamis Occidental can offer. There is more to explore and discover in Misamis Occidental.

For high definition, watch this youtube post:

Misamis Occidental

The first time I joined the Department of Tourism’s media-familiarization trip was in January when we visited emerging tourist destinations in Malabon, Las Pinas and Paranaque.

Last February, I joined yet again the Department of Tourism and we flew all the way to Mindanao to discover and explore emerging tourist destinations in Misamis Occidental. With me were fellow travel bloggers, Josh Tanador of www.mgalaagnijosh.com and Sonya Sison and Carmela Nery of www.seekertravels.com.

Misamis Occidental is a province in Northern Mindanao. Oroquieta is the capital city. The two other component cities are Ozamiz and Tangub. In this three-day trip, I was able to quickly visit all cities and only four out of the fourteen municipalities, Clarin, Jimenez, Plaridel and Sapang Dalaga. I must say that it was such a short visit. There were so many places to see with so little time.

How to get there:

  • By Air: Daily flights to and from Cebu and Manila Ozamiz are available via Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific.
  • By Land: Air conditioned buses to and from Dipolog, Pagadian and Cagayan De Oro
  • By Sea: Regular trips to and from Cebu, Manila, Dipolog, Dumaguete and Tagbiliran

Ozamiz City

Ozamis City is nestled at the entrance of Pangil Bay. Behind Ozamiz City stands the 7,956 feet Mount Malindang and Mt. Malindang Range National Park, declared as an ASEAN National Park.

On February 27, 2018, we landed in Ozamiz City Airport at six thirty in the morning via Philippine Airlines. We were welcomed by the indefatigable Marketing and Promotions Manager of the Department of Tourism Region 10 Mr. Carlston Barcenella Maglangit.

February 27, 2018 Arrival in Ozamiz City
Ohzahmeez — with Joyce Rocamora, Josh Tanador,Carmela Nery and Josh Aguilo at Ozamiz City National Airport.

What made this trip extra special was meeting a good old friend, Bro. Arianwen Lopez. We were on board the same flight to Ozamiz. Bro. Arwee came from Manila to visit his family. He is with the De La Salle Brothers.

Me and Bro Arwee on board the same flight to Ozamiz City
Me and Bro Arwee on board the same flight to Ozamiz City
La Salle University in Ozamiz City
La Salle University in Ozamiz City

After retrieving our checked-in luggage, the group proceeded to the Royal Garden Hotel to check-in and freshen up.

Royal Garden Hotel in Ozamiz City
Royal Garden Hotel in Ozamiz City

Royal Garden Hotel is located on Burgos Street corner Zamora Street, Ozamiz City. Call +63-88-521-2888 or 2889 for booking and inquiries.

The Department of Tourism Regional Director Ms. May Salvana- Unchuan met us at the hotel. In no time, we were on our way and ready for a fun-filled day of touring Ozamiz City.

The Department of Tourism Regional Director Ms. May Salvana- Unchuan at the Fuerte De La Concepcion Y Del Triunfo or Cotta Fort
The Department of Tourism Regional Director Ms. May Salvana- Unchuan at the Fuerte De La Concepcion Y Del Triunfo or Cotta Fort

 

We also met the Ozamiz City Tourism Officer, Jaime Tomada. The tourist spots we visited in Ozamiz City were:

Cotta Fort & Shrine

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Also known as Fuerte de la Concepcion y del Triunfo, the Cotta Fort and Shrine was built by the Spaniards in 1755 to serve as a fortress to protect the region from pirates. It is one of the oldest historical structures in the province.

Fuerte De La Concepcion Y Del Triunfo of Cotta Fort
Fuerte De La Concepcion Y Del Triunfo of Cotta Fort in Ozamiz City
The Lighthouse of the Fuerte De La Concepcion Y Del Triunfo of Cotta Fort in Ozamiz City
The Lighthouse of the Fuerte De La Concepcion Y Del Triunfo of Cotta Fort in Ozamiz City
The Lighthouse of the Fuerte De La Concepcion Y Del Triunfo of Cotta Fort in Ozamiz City
The Lighthouse of the Fuerte De La Concepcion Y Del Triunfo of Cotta Fort in Ozamiz City
Me in my all-out effort to take a photo of the The Lighthouse of the Fuerte De La Concepcion Y Del Triunfo of Cotta Fort in Ozamiz City
Me in my all-out effort to take a photo of the Lighthouse of the Fuerte De La Concepcion Y Del Triunfo of Cotta Fort in Ozamiz City
The Fuerte de la Concepcion y del Triunfo or the Cotta Fort was built by the Spaniards in 1755 to serve as a fortress to protect the region from pirates.
The Fuerte de la Concepcion y del Triunfo or the Cotta Fort was built by the Spaniards in 1755 to serve as a fortress to protect the region from pirates.

The Cotta Fort houses the engraved image of the Our Lady of Triumph of the Cross which is visited by devotees from all over the country specially on its feast day, July 16.

The engraved image of the Our Lady of Triumph of the Cross at the Cotta Shrine is visited by devotees from all over the country specially on its feast day, July 16.
The engraved image of the Our Lady of Triumph of the Cross at the Cotta Shrine is visited by devotees from all over the country specially on its feast day, July 16.

Get a glimpse of the city’s rich history at the Ozamiz City Museum situated inside the Cotta Fort.

The Ozamiz City Museum is located inside Cotta Fort.
The Ozamiz City Museum is located inside Cotta Fort.
Michael Fuentes, Tourism Staff of Ozamiz City, giving us the city's brief history in the Ozamiz Museum.
Michael Fuentes, Tourism Staff of Ozamiz City, giving us the city’s brief history in the Ozamiz Museum.

Michael Fuentes, Tourism Staff of Ozamiz City, gave us a brief history of the city. He also showed the future plans for Cotta Shrine’s renovation.

Rodriguez Ancestral House

One of the ancestral houses located in Ozamiz City is the Rodriguez Residence, believed to have been visited by Dr. Jose Rizal, the National Hero of the Philippines, during his exile in Dapitan. We were welcomed by the house’s caretaker, Ms. Darsila Hoyohoy.

The Rodriguez Ancestral House is located in Barangay Aguada, Ozamiz City.
The Rodriguez Ancestral House is located in Barangay Aguada, Ozamiz City.
Me with Darsila Hoyohoy, caretaker of the Rodriguez Ancestral House
Me with Ms. Darsila Hoyohoy, caretaker of the Rodriguez Ancestral House
The Rodriguez Ancestral House is located in Barangay Aguada, Ozamiz City.
Ms. Darsila Hoyohoy, caretaker of the Rodriguez Ancestral House posing for a photo-opportunity.

Pipe Organ and the Immaculate Conception Cathedral

After visiting the Rodriguez Ancestral Residence, we proceeded to The Immaculate Conception Cathedral where the second biggest pipe organ in the Philippines and the biggest in Mindanao is found.

The Immaculate Conception Cathedral, completed in 1960, was originally designed by Filipino architect Leandro Locsin and renovated in 1997. It houses the Philippine's second biggest pipe organ and the biggest in Mindanao.
The Immaculate Conception Cathedral, completed in 1960, was originally designed by Filipino architect Leandro Locsin and renovated in 1997. It houses the Philippine’s second biggest pipe organ and the biggest in Mindanao.
Philippine's second biggest pipe organ and the biggest in Mindanao can be seen at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Ozamiz City
Philippine’s second biggest pipe organ and the biggest in Mindanao can be seen at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Ozamiz City

Mon’s Grill

We then had a quick refreshing stop at Mon’s Grill to taste their version of Halo-Halo (Mix-mix) dubbed as the World’s Best Halo-Halo. Halo-halo is a popular Filipino dessert made of shaved ice, evaporated milk and a variety of ingredients such as sweet beans, coconut, jelly, banana, sago pearls, sweet camote sometimes best topped with a scoop of ice cream and a spoonful of leche flan.

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Halo-halo (Mix-mix) is a popular Filipino dessert made of shaved ice, evaporated milk and a variety of ingredients such as sweet beans, coconut, jelly, banana, sago pearls, sweet camote sometimes best topped with a scoop of ice cream and a spoonful of leche flan. When I visited Misamis Occidental, I got to taste @monsgrillozamiz 's version of halo-halo dubbed as the World's Best Halo-Halo. Drooling yet? In this scorching heat, chill! Get yourself a halo-halo! #travelfood #traveltip #travelph #travelphotography #misamisoccidental #mindanao #itsmorefuninthephilippines #choosephilippines #wowphilippines #diginomads #wanderer #wanderlust #followforfollow #follow4follow #pinasmuna #pinoy #pilipinas #philippines

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Other places of interest in Ozamiz City that we missed to visit are:

  • Naomi’s Botanical Garden- a 9-hectare fruit and ornamental garden
  • Malindang Country Golf Course- located at the foot of Malindang Mountain
  • Bukagan Hill- located in Barangay Malaubang, 92 meters above sea level, where one can view the city of Ozamiz, Panguil Bay and Lanao del Norte Province
  • Regina Swimming Pool- a natural cold spring located 3 kilometers away from the city

I hope to visit Ozamiz City again when they celebrate the following festivals:

  • Subayan Keg Subanen Festival- July 15
  • Pilgrimage to the Cotta Shrine- July 16
  • Feast of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception- December 8
  • Sr. Sto. Nino Fluvial Parade- 4th of Sunday of January

Where to stay:

  • Royal Garden Hotel- Burgos corner Zamora Street, +63-88-521-2888/2889
  • Executive Hotel- Cebedo corner Gallardo Street- +63-88-521-0360
  • Asia Novotel- Rizal Avenue corner Valconcha Street, +63-88-564-2496
  • The Mu Manor- Circumferential Road, Aguada, +63-88-521-2552
  • Bethany Gardens- Bitoon, Bangkal, +63-88-521-0472
  • Naomis Tourist Inn- Banadero, +63-88-521-2441
  • Palace Hotel- Valconcha Street, +63-88-521-3239
  • GV Hotel- Port Road, +63-88-521-1353
  • Plaza Beatriz Hotel- Rizal Avenue, +63-88-521-1394
  • Goldern Horizon Pension House- Bernad Subdivision, +63-88-564-0331
  • Adriana’s Pensionne House- Juan Luna corner Parojinog Street, +63-88-545-0924
  • 67th Boulevard Pension House- Cebedo Street, +63-88-521-5893

Tangub City

Tangub City, formerly known us Regidor, is the Christmas Symbols Capital of the Philippines. Last February 28, the city celebrated its 50th charter anniversary. Indeed, it was the perfect time for us to visit.

Tangub City is an hour-drive from Ozamiz City. Upon arrival, we were welcomed by the Tourism Officer Ms. Baby Paller with a welcome lei and a passport to the Christmas Symbols Festival.

Belvedere

Before visiting the Christmas Symbols Festival, we went to the Belvedere (French for view deck) in Fertig Hills of Mt. Malindang. Situated at an altitude of 1100 meters above sea level, we got a 360-degree view of the virgin forests of Mt. Malindang and the whole Panguil Bay.

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When things do not go my way, I stop and think… okay, maybe complain a little… and ask myself "Will this even matter 5 years from now?" More often than not, my answer would be "No, it won't matter at all!" And then, I get up, chin up, move on and move forward and say NEXT! Me enjoying the scenic view of The Belvedere, Fertig Hills, Tangub City, Misamis Occidental #itsmorefuninthephilippines #choosephilippines #wowphilippines #asian #pinoy #pinoywanderer #travelblog #travelblogger #bloggerlife #wanderer #wanderlust #globetrotter #pilipinas #pinasmuna #misamisoccidental #mindanao #tangubcity #tangub #belvedere #nature #travelphotography #travelph #baliktangub #hills #mountain #joelandrada #joeljawsandrada #theskincareaddict

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The picturesque view of the Panguil Bay which can be seen on the way up the Fertig Hills.
The picturesque view of the Panguil Bay which can be seen on the way up the Fertig Hills.
Candid shot of Josh Aguilo of the Department of Tourism while enjoying the cool breeze and wonderful scenery of the Fertig Hills.
Candid shot of Josh Aguilo of the Department of Tourism while enjoying the cool breeze and wonderful scenery of the Fertig Hills.

 

From left to right: May Salvana- Unchuan, Department of Tourism Region 10 Regional Director; Hon. Henry Oaminal, District Representative Misamis Occidental 2nd District; Hon. Harry Roque, Jr., Appointed Presidential Spokesperson; Dr. Jenifer Tan and Mayor Philip Tan, Tangub City.
From left to right: May Salvana- Unchuan, Department of Tourism Region 10 Regional Director; Hon. Henry Oaminal, District Representative Misamis Occidental 2nd District; Hon. Harry Roque, Jr., Appointed Presidential Spokesperson; Dr. Jenifer Tan and Mayor Philip Tan, Tangub City.

The Presidential Spokesperson, the Honorable Secretary Harry Roque, was also at the Belvedere when we visited. Roque was invited to be Tangub’s Honored Golden Anniversary Guest Speaker during the Stadium Lights Show happening that night.

Christmas Symbols Festival

After spending a chill afternoon at the Belvedere, we headed back to the city proper for a quick visit to the Christmas Symbols Festival. Annually, Tangubanons take pride in showing off their creativity through the various Christmas Symbols that light up the plaza starting in the first week of December until the last week of January the following year. Although it was already February, most of the Christmas Symbols were still lit up.

Tangub City's Christmas Symbols Festival
Tangub City’s Christmas Symbols Festival
Tangub City's Christmas Symbols Festival
Tangub City’s Christmas Symbols Festival
Tangub City's Christmas Symbols Festival
Tangub City’s Christmas Symbols Festival

Stadium Lights Parade Festival

After dinner, we headed to the Tangub City Stadium to witness The Stadium Lights Parade Festival. This festival is a show that is participated in by schools and local and national government agencies all over Tangub City in celebration of the city’s charter anniversary celebration. When we arrived, the stadium was jam-packed. I was told that there must be about 50,000 people crowding the stadium. I also felt the excitement and high energy in the air. Of course, I came prepared. I brought my drone and got a go-signal from the organizers and the Department of Tourism to take some aerial footage.

I will update this blog as soon as I finish some quick edits on the aerial footage of some of the performances.

Tangub City's Stadium Lights Parade Festival
Tangub City’s Stadium Lights Parade Festival

The Lights Festival and Parade was a total feast for the eyes. The people’s effort and passion to participate in this annual event is truly admirable. Kudos to Tangub City and Happy 50th Anniversary!

We got back to the hotel close to midnight. What a fun-filled day for Day One. Oh, haven’t I told you? This was only Day One! LOL.

Other Festivals in Tangub City:

  • SobreMesa Summer Fair Festival- from 2nd week of April until end of May
  • Dalit Festival aka mother of festivals in Mindanao- September 29

I hope to be back in Tangub City when these places of interest open:

  • Panguil Bay Bridge- longest bridge in the Philippines after its completion
  • Migcanaway River Esplanade- longest river walk (5 km) in the country after its completion
  • Gardens of the World- only world-class garden in the Philippines within Mt. Malindang Range National Park, declared as an ASEAN National Park, will be opened by 2019.

For accommodation and reservations, contact the Tangub City Tourism Office at +63-88-545-0141.

Clarin

We started Day Two by having breakfast in Clarin. Clarin is a municipality just above Ozamiz City.

Clarin House of Suman

Ms. Novie Grace Reponte, the Tourism Officer of Clarin, brought us to Clarin House of Suman for breakfast and to know more about Clarin’s specialty, i.e., Suman.

Clarin House of Suman
Clarin House of Suman is a popular stop over for pasalubong (souvenir of gift) located along the highway.

Suman, a popular Filipino delicacy, is rice cake wrapped in banana leaves.

Suman, a popular Filipino delicacy, is rice cake wrapped in banana leaves.
Suman, a popular Filipino delicacy, is rice cake wrapped in banana leaves.

The Clarin House of Suman produces and sells thirteen (13) varieties:

  1. Suman Latik
  2. Suman Moron
  3. Suman Balintawak
  4. Suman Plain
  5. Suman Pinya
  6. Suman Nangka
  7. Suman Cheese
  8. Suman Choco
  9. Suman Ube
  10. Suman Ibus
  11. Suman Buko
  12. Suman Peanut
  13. Suman Mango
The Clarin House of Suman produces and sells thirteen (13) varieties of suman
The Clarin House of Suman produces and sells thirteen (13) varieties of suman

The Clarin House of Suman is a popular stop-over for pasalubong (gift or souvenir). It is located along the highway, hard to miss with its green exterior and a giant suman as a front pillar.

Clarin House of Suman
Clarin House of Suman

The Suman Production House is located just across the street. According to Ms. Rita Cajeta, Local Government Unit (LGU) Coordinator, they produce and sell an average of 2500 pieces of suman per day.

Now that was a lot of suman for me!

Me with my suman. Opo... mahangin sa labas. LOL.
Me with my suman. Opo… mahangin sa labas. LOL.

For orders, you may contact +63-946-9658222 or +63-917-440-7615.

Jimenez

After breakfast, we were back on the road for a thirty-minute drive to the municipality of Jimenez to visit the Church of St. John the Baptist, a National Cultural Treasure.

St. John The Baptist Church

The St. John The Baptist Church was declared a Natural Cultural Treasure of the Philippines in 2001. It is located at the Brgy. Poblacion, Jimenez, Misamis Occidental.

The St. John The Baptist Church in Jimenez, Misamis Occidental is a Natural Cultural Treasure of the Philippines.
The St. John The Baptist Church in Jimenez, Misamis Occidental is a Natural Cultural Treasure of the Philippines.

The church was completed in the late 1880s. It has a Baroque architecture, and built mostly from coral stone.

The St. John The Baptist Church in Jimenez, Misamis Occidental
The St. John The Baptist Church in Jimenez, Misamis Occidental
St; John the Baptist Church in Jimenez, Misamis Occidental
St; John the Baptist Church in Jimenez, Misamis Occidental also has a pipe organ.

St. John the Baptist Church in Jimenez, Misamis Occidental also has a pipe organ.

The Pipe Organ of the St. John the Baptist Church in Jimenez, Misamis Occidental
The Pipe Organ of the St. John the Baptist Church in Jimenez, Misamis Occidental

The church also houses a pipe organ.

The St. John the Baptist Church has a clock and bell tower. I am glad I went up the tower to see the bells up close and personal. The bells have inscriptions in Spanish! I was standing before objects of historical significance!

We then went to the Jimenez Municipal Hall, adjacent to the church, to have snacks.

Jimenez Municipal Hall
Jimenez Municipal Hall

We were served Jimenez’s version of Suman Luya or Suman flavored with ginger (see photos below from Cindy LaRosa). Yummy!

Quick stop for a snack at the Jimenez Municipal Hall
From left to right: Carlston Maglangit, Joyce Rocamora, Cindy LaRosa and May Salvana-Unchuan enjoying Suman flavored with ginger at the Jimenez Municipal Hall

 

RD May Salavana-Unchuan with her surprise birthday cake
RD May Salavana-Unchuan with her surprise birthday cake

The Mayor’s office and Tourism Officer Mr. Bong Abelidas, also had a surprise birthday cake for RD (Regional Director) May Salvana-Unchuan who celebrated her birthday on February 26, 2018.

Ancestral Houses

The heritage Municipality of Jimenez is also one of the best preserved colonial towns in the entire Philippines. That is why the local government is pushing it to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List just like the historic city of Vigan.

Aldren Tac-An Nacion Residence
Aldren Tac-An Nacion Residence

We were able to visit one of the ancestral houses, the Aldren Tac-An Nacion Residence, built in 1914. The ground floor used to be the Bacarro Printing Press where the emergency money or Mickey Mouse money was printed during the Japanese Occupation.

Aldren Tac-An Nacion Residence
Aldren Tac-An Nacion Residence, built in 1914
Me with Ruth Sapalleda Garingo, cousin of the owner and caretaker of the Aldren Tac-An Nacion Ancestral House
Me with Ruth Sapalleda Garingo, cousin of the owner and caretaker of the Aldren Tac-An Nacion Ancestral House
Mickey Mouse Money on display inside the Aldren Tac-An Nacion Family Residence
Mickey Mouse Money on display inside the Aldren Tac-An Nacion Family Residence
The third floor of the Aldren Tac-An Nacion Residence
The third floor of the Aldren Tac-An Nacion Residence

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The municipality of Jimenez holds a rich and long history of the Philippines. This is the 3rd floor of Aldren Tac-An Nacion family residence built in 1914, just one of the many heritage houses in Jimenez. Notice the detail on top of each window? The sunrise symbolizes the house's warm welcome to the Japanese regime. On the ground floor was The Old Bacarro Printing Press where emergency money or Mickey Mouse money was printed during the Japanese occupation. Some of this money are still available for viewing at the second floor. More on my blog in my bio soon #itsmorefuninthephilippines #history #culture #heritage #jimenez #misamisoccidental #travelblog #travelph #choosephilippines #wowphilippines …. ….. ……. ……… ………. #travelblogger #joelandrada #joeljawsandrada #theskincareaddict #pinasmuna #wanderer #pinoy #wanderlust #natgeo #followforfollow

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Bong Abelidas, Tourism Officer for Jimenez, posing for a photo-opportunity.
Bong Abelidas, Tourism Officer for Jimenez, posing for a photo-opportunity at the Aldren

Camel Tree

Standing on the bank of the Jimenez River is what the town folks call the Enchanted Camel Tree. The people of Jimenez say that this tree bears different fruits depending on the season. There is a lot more going around town about this superstitious tree such as people hearing voices emanating from it. It is also believed that beautiful fair-skinned people live inside it.

Beside it is an instagrammable hanging bridge.

Jimenez Catholic Cemetery

Not far from the Camel Tree is the ancestral Jimenez Catholic Cemetery. This cemetery gave me the creeps when we visited. It has a stonewall partially covered with moss and other wild plants. Moreover, towering in the middle of this graveyard is a huge Balete Tree.

Jimenez Catholic Cemetery
Jimenez Catholic Cemetery

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The huge Balete Tree in the middle of the Jimenez Catholic Cemetery
The huge Balete Tree in the middle of the Jimenez Catholic Cemetery

Plaridel

From Jimenez, we drove for an hour and a half to the Municipality of Plaridel to visit Bawbawon (The Hidden Island).

Bawbawon Beach

To get to the island, we rode a boat for about ten (10) minutes from a dock that was near the legislative building of Plaridel… I think… I can’t remember… I was sleepwalking. I fell asleep during the road trip. LOL. I just found myself in the boat. LOL.

Bawbawon, Plaridel, Misamis Occidental

Anyway, it was a scenic route getting to Bawbawon Beach. So I took out my camera and started clicking away. It was the first time for me to see mangrove growing on white sand! Well, I am saying on white sand because how can mangrove grow in sand? I guess it must be growing in regular soil underneath all that white sand, right? Anyway, I hope you got my point. LOL. Just the same… How cool is that? I was totally mesmerized by the island’s raw and pure beauty. I got a lot of footage so I might just post a vlog soon about Bawbawon Beach– one of my favorite places in the Philippines.

Bawbawon, Plaridel, Misamis Occidental
Mangrove growing on (or in?) white sand

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Thanks to the Dept of Tourism @tourism_phl for tagging me along to visit emerging tourist destinations in the #Philippines so that I may share these to my family, friends and blog readers. This is me enjoying the sun, sand and sea of the Hidden Island of Plaridel, Misamis Occidental -the Bawbawon Island. It is still closed to the public as it undergoes preparations and "renovations" for its "grand opening" soon. Part of its preparation is community-education so it does not follow the tragedy that happened to Boracay. It also has mangroves growing on white sand. How cool is that? More on my blog soon #itsmorefuninthephilippines #travelblogger #travelphotography #travelph #pinasmuna #wanderer #wanderlust #pinoywanderer #joelandrada #theskincareaddict #nature #beach #sun #sand #sea #beachcomber #destinations #vacation #summer #tourist #tourism #pilipinas #ofw

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Bawbawon Beach is a protected area and is currently closed as they prepare the island for its grand opening soon. I hope I get to visit the island again when it opens.

After a sumptuous lunch in Bawbawon Beach, we headed back to the mainland to catch the sunset and have dinner in Sapang Dalaga. Thanks to Mercy Rentuza, the Tourism Officer of Plaridel for making sure we had a grand time on the island.

Sapang Dalaga

After thirty minutes, we arrived at the foot of the Caluya Shrine. We were welcomed by the Tourism Officer of Sapang Dalaga, Ms Melchoniza “Chin” Calago.

We rushed to catch the sunset. We climbed 198 steps more or less. Let me know when you visit how many steps it really is. LOL. When I got to the top, I was almost out of breath. Whew… me with my mini-production house on my back. But all the climbing was worth it. The view was breathtaking and the 45-foot-tall statue on a 10-foot-high pedestal with its open arms seemed to welcome me. The Caluya Shrine is a replica of Rio De Janeiro’s Christ The Redeemer. It stunningly stands on top of a hill at an elevation of 120 meters above sea level overlooking the Murcielagos Bay, Naputhas Island, Mount Malindang and Dioyo River.

Christ the Redeemer, Caluya Shrine, Sapang Dalaga, Misamis Occidental
Christ the Redeemer, Caluya Shrine, Sapang Dalaga, Misamis Occidental

Every second mattered. I prepared my drone for take-off while there was still daylight. The colors in this place was simply majestic!

Me in awe of the scenic view at the Caluya Shrine in Sapang Dalaga with Cindy LaRosa and RD May Salvana-Unchuan
Me in awe of the scenic view at the Caluya Shrine in Sapang Dalaga with Cindy LaRosa and RD May Salvana-Unchuan
Bloggers at the Caluya Shrine in Sapang Dalaga
Me with fellow bloggers Carmela Nery, Sonya Sison, Josh Tanador and Jay Valmonte
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Murcielagos Bay, Sapang Dalaga
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Murcielagos Bay, Sapang Dalaga

We had dinner in one of the floating cottages in the middle of Murcielagos Bay. No electricity and all but we had rechargeable lamps, cellphone flashlights, great food and company.

For bookings and reservations, contact the Sapang Dalaga Municipal Tourism Office at +63-938-295-8093 or their Facebook Page here.

Cottage Rates:

  • Php 500.00 – good for 15-20 persons
  • Php 1,000.00 – good for 50 persons
  • Php 2,000.00 – good for 75 persons

Other Charges:

  • Pump boat fare (back and forth) with life vests- Php 30.00 per person
  • Lifeguard fee- Php 100.00
  • Garbage bag- Php 20.00 with a deposit fee of Php 180.00

Notes:

  • You may bring your own trash bags. Be responsible of your food wastes and trash.
  • Cooking in the cottage is not allowed.

I hope to be back soon to see the 60-ft high Sapang Dalaga Falls. I also want to experience the Dioyo River Cruise.

Oroquieta

We spent our last night in Misamis Occidental in Costa Del Sol in Oroquieta City.

Costa Del Sol, Oroguieta City
Costa Del Sol, Oroguieta City

We did not have time to go around Oroquieta anymore. We were set to depart early morning the next day for Iligan City, Lanao Del Norte to visit Ma. Cristina Falls and have lunch the Pagana Maranao way before catching our flight back to Manila via Laguindingan International Airport in Cagayan De Oro, Misamis Oriental. I will be publishing another article soon about our quick but memorable trip to Iligan City, Lanao Del Norte.

And that is why I miss Misamis Occidental. We all cannot wait to be back. For more information about Misamis Occidental, click here for their website. They are also on Facebook and Instagram.

Back to Manila with our big bags of Clarin's Fish Crackers and lots of happy memories about Misamis Occidental.
Back to Manila with our big bags of Clarin’s Fish Crackers and lots of happy memories about Misamis Occidental.

Signing out for now. Peace!

MY BORACAY TIMELINE BEGINS. WHY NOT?

And so in an hour this 2Go ship will arrive in Caticlan Port. In about an hour, I will finally get to anchor myself yet again to a new place. Well… not really a new place that I am not familiar with rather a place I have fallen in love with the first time I saw it years ago. Boracay.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2466965099988915&id=100000263479267

Way back, mid 2000s, I saved enough money and got the opportunity to visit Boracay and see what was all the rave about. I told myself then that I will one day stay there, work and live the rest of my life as an islander.

Years passed, I have become so busy to even remember and that Boracay dream remained to be just a dream… a seemingly distant reality. The regular news about its degradation and alarming pollution made it less attractive for me to even reconsider reliving the dream. Its closure on April 26, 2018 was the ultimate sign for me to kill the dream.

Then came October 2018. While backpacking in Southern Leyte, my long time friend of 10 years, Jen, asked me to join her in Boracay on October 26, 2018, exactly 6 months after its closure for rehabilitation. She said that it would be a great subject for my vlog. I could not agree more. Featuring Boracay on my blog and vlog after six months of closure would certainly be a hit. I said I needed to be there. Jen told me that I just needed to pay for my airline tickets and she will shoulder the accommodations. How could I say no to that? Who would? So, without batting an eyelash and without checking my cash flow, I booked the cheapest flight to Caticlan. You see, keeping track of my expenses became vital since I left the corporate world in 2016 when I got a redundancy package. Working as a freelance digital nomad now requires a higher level of financial acumen and emotional quotient so to speak.

After seven years, alas, I was back on the island. Boracay is back… back to how it was… back to how it should be. I fell in love again and that dream of living on the island got resuscitated. But the odds were against me and chances were slim. How can I even do it when I have financial responsibilities in the city? There were a lot of questions that needed to be answered before I could even begin to entertain the idea of Boracay.

But as they say, be careful what you wish for because you might just get it… sooner than later.

After my 12-day stay on the island, I was back in Metro Manila in November to do my usual grind. Before leaving the island, Jen and I agreed to be back in February 2019 with meaner beach bodies. Funny. So I booked the cheapest ticket I could find and remained religious to my intermittent fasting cycle.

On February 21, 2019, with meaner bodies, Jen and I met at the Clark International Airport to board a flight to Caticlan. We were supposed to meet at Trinoma to catch the P2P bus to Clark together at 5 AM. But as expected, Jen did not make it on time.

I stayed on the island for 11 days. My stay surprisingly did not push through as planned. You see, I intended to stay on the beach more often which did not happen. I think I only got to swim twice. I planned to stay up late bar hopping which did not happen. I was mostly in the hotel room either doing a teleconference or editing videos. I planned to spend more alone time but instead I was busy arranging island activities for a group of 126. I planned to visit my friends on Carabao Island but I was busy meeting new friends on the island instead. And that was when things started to happen.

To be continued…

SINGAPORE AIRLINES BEST FARE DEALS LAST DAY TODAY!

Now on its sixth year, Singapore Airlines (SIA), together with its regional wing, SilkAir, and in partnership with BPI, Changi Airport Group, Globe Platinum, and Singapore Tourism Board, rings in 2019 with its biggest annual travel fair yet featuring the best fare deals and exclusive offers of as much as USD 90 in value.

“Singapore Airlines wants to make every journey more personal for our customers, as we keep them in mind when designing products,” said Singapore Airlines General Manager Lee Yong Tat.

“At the Travel Fair, our customers will have the opportunity to enjoy attractive deals and the best of what SIA has to offer, especially with the recent introduction of our new regional Business Class on the Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner, A350-900 medium-haul routes starting with Adelaide, and non-stop flights to the US with our A350-900ULR (Ultra Long Range) aircraft, including our newest destination, Seattle.”

Catch the best fare deals from Singapore Airlines and SilkAir in the following travel fairs:

January 11-13, 2019

  • Glorietta 2 Activity Center, Palm Drive, Makati City
  • TriNoma Activity Center, Quezon City

 

January 12-13, 2019

  • Ayala Center Cebu – The Gallery
  • Mezzanine Area (T’nalak Function Rooms 1, 2 and 3) of Seda Abreeza, Davao

January 18, 2019

  • Seda Capitol Central, Bacolod

Choose from over 80 destinations and avail of:

All-inclusive round-trip Economy Class fares to:

  • Singapore starting from USD 188
  • Other Asian destinations starting from USD 194
  • Australia starting from USD 563
  • New Zealand starting from USD 658
  • Europe starting from USD 717
  • South Africa starting from USD 737
  • USA starting from USD 876

All-inclusive round-trip Premium Economy Class fares to:

  • Australia starting from USD 1,133
  • India starting starting from USD 1,279
  • New Zealand starting from USD 1,327
  • USA starting from USD 1,356
  • Europe starting from USD 1,423
  • South Africa starting from USD 1,637

All-inclusive round-trip Business Class fares to:

  • Singapore starting from USD755
  • Southeast Asia starting from USD 808
  • Australia starting from USD 1,979
  • South Africa starting from USD 1,957
  • Europe starting from USD 2,349
  • New Zealand starting from USD 2,468
  • USA starting from USD 2516

Visit singaporeair.com or Singapore Airlines’ Facebook page for the complete terms and conditions, and for other exciting announcements.

KrisFlyer Members, BPI Cardholders, and Globe Platinum Subscribers from Manila, Cebu, Davao, and Bacolod will be offered exciting deals!

But wait! More exclusive travel offers:

  • Real 0% Special Installment Plan for up to 6 months for BPI Credit Cardholders
  • SGD 60 Changi Gift Card for every two round-trip tickets booked to select destinations beyond Singapore
  • SGD 20 Singapore Shopping Voucher for every two round-trip tickets booked to Singapore, with outbound travel in January, March, and June.
  • Complimentary SGD 20 Changi Transit Rewards valid for all itineraries beyond Singapore
  • SGD 50 KrisShop Voucher for every two round-trip tickets booked to Penang, for travel until July 31, 2019
  • Bonus 5,000 KrisFlyer Miles for every round-trip ticket booked to any destinations to the US

Exclusive Travel Offers Singapore Airlines 2019 Travel Fair.JPG

Also, get to avail of special discounts from Stores Specialists, Inc. brands such as Samsonite, American Tourister, High Sierra, and other travel merchandise, including an option to pay in installment for up to 3 months for BPI Credit Cardholders.

So what are you waiting for? Head on now to the Travel Fair nearest you!

SIA flies from Manila to Singapore four times daily, which conveniently connects to onward flights to the rest of the world. Passengers travelling from Cebu and Davao can fly to Singapore via SilkAir, which flies 12 times weekly from Cebu and five times weekly from Davao.

For inquiries, visit Singapore Airlines and SilkAir ticket offices, or call SIA Manila Reservations at (632) 756-8888, SilkAir Cebu at (6332)505-7871, SilkAir Davao at (6382) 227-5301. For details, visit singaporeair.com/FLYSQ2019.

MY TRAVEL TO LEYTE TO EXPLORE CUATRO ISLAS, KALANGGAMAN ISLAND, SAN JUANICO BRIDGE & TACLOBAN

 

Five years after the devastating super typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda hit the Philippines, I finally got to visit Leyte where it made landfall. I went to Leyte on October 19 to 23, 2018 with fellow backpackers. And I must tell you that Leyte is a beautiful province with so much to offer.

Everyone I spoke to had a story to tell about his or her personal experience with Yoianda not too long ago. Despite that, people were always smiling and accommodating during my visit.

The places of interest that I got to visit and are featured in this vlog include:

  • San Juanico Bridge
  • Cuatro Islas (Himolikan Island, Mahaba Island, Apid Island & Digyo Island),Inopacan
  • Kalanggaman Island, Palompon
  • Sto. Nino Church, Tacloban
  • Leyte Provincial Capitol, Tacloban
  • Balyu-an Ampitheater, Tacloban
  • Maria Kanon Madonna of Peace Shrine, Tacloban
  • Sto. Nino Shrine and Heritage Museum, Tacloban
  • Tacloban City Convention Center, Tacloban
  • Yoland Memorial Monument, Tacloban
  • Anibong Shipwreck, Tacloban
  • Tacloban City Hall, Tacloban
  • MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park, Palo

Five days was not enough to explore the whole province of Leyte. I hope to be back soon!

Featured and sponsored song is entitled “No Man Is An Island” by Jeck Pilpil and Peacepipe. Mabuhay ang Original Pilipino Music!

If you like this video, give it a thumbs up and subscribe for more travel vlogs.

You may follow me on the following social media channel, too to stay updated. Let’s connect:

  • https://www.facebook.com/joeljawsandrada
  • https://www.facebook.com/andrada.joel
  • https://www.instagram.com/joeljawsandrada

I will be updating this blog with photos and information about how to get there soon so stay tuned! Signing out for now. Peace!

BORACAY CELEBRATES THE ATI-ATIHAN FESTIVAL & HERE’S WHAT TO EXPECT

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Boracay, the country’s number one island destination during the reopening on October 26, 2018 after six months of rehabilitation. Watch vlog here.

One of the best times to visit Boracay, the country’s number one island destination, is during the Ati-Atihan Festival when the weather is warm and the atmosphere is festive. Get a piece of paradise while witnessing the Aklanons celebrate this annual religious and cultural event in honor of the Santo Niño (Infant Jesus) this coming January 11 to 13, 2019. Click here for the updated list of accredited hotels by the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force.

Here is what to expect from Mr. Gian Kyle Talapian, Administrative Assistant and Youth Committee Chairman of the Malay-Aklan Local Government Unit – Boracay:

  • January 11, 2019, Friday
    • 6:30 PM- Barangay and Parishioner’s Night at the Balabag Plaza

 

  • January 12, 2019, Saturday
    • 11:00 AM- Hornada at the Holy Rosary Parish Church
    • 6:00 PM- Kabataan’s Night at the Balabag Plaza

 

  • January 14, 2019, Sunday
    • 4:00 AM- Motorcade and Fluvial Parade from Cagban Port to Boracay’s Rock
    • 6:30 AM-  First Morning Regular Mass at the Holy Rosary Parish Church
    • 7:30 AM- High Mass at the Balabag Plaza
    • 8:30 AM- Boracay Santo Niño Ati-Atihan “Sadsad” from Balabag Plaza to the beach area near Willy’s Beach Hotel then to the Tourist Center and back passing by the “Vegetation Area”
    • 4:00 PM- First Afternoon Regular  Mass at the Holy Rosary Parish Church
    • 5:30 PM- Procession of the Santo Niño Image from the Holy Rosary Parish Church to the beach area near Willy’s Beach Hotel all the way to Astoria Hotel and back via the main road
    • 5:30 PM- Second Afternoon Regular Mass at the Holy Rosary Parish Church
    • 6:30 PM- Group Showdown and Binayle at the Balabag Plaza

Boracay Ati-Atihan 2019 Schedule of Activities 1Boracay Ati-Atihan 2019 Schedule of Activities 2

Expect a number of participants to showcase their costumes in the following categories:

Boracay Ati-Atihan 2019 balik ati category

  • Balik-Ati Category- where costumes are made from indigenous materials, no paints allowed on the body and face and must only be covered with the traditional “uling” / “buling” (charcoal)

Boracay Ati-Atihan 2019 Tribal Category

  • Tribal Category- where costumes are made of recyclable materials or indigenous materials or a combination of both.

Boracay Ati-Atihan 2019 Commercial Category

  • Commercial Category- where participants may wear any commercial printed shirt or advocacy shirt and “buling” or body paints are allowed.

The procession of the Santo Niño image will start from the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Church at the Balabag Plaza Station 1 and will proceed to the beach area near Willy’s Beach Hotel. The procession will head back to the church through the beach access road near the Astoria Hotel and the main road.

Boracay Ati-Atihan 2019 Procession of the Santo Nino

On the other hand, the Street Dance will begin at the Balabag Plaza and will then proceed to the beach area near Willy’s Beach Hotel to go all the way down to the Tourist Center and then back to the Balabag Plaza.

Boracay Ati-Atihan 2019 Street Dance Sadsad

Below are the Do’s and Dont’s:

  • Bring own garbage bags for proper waste disposal
  • Only personal water containers are allowed.
  • Observe cleanliness at all times
  • Ensure crowd control
  • No bottles are allowd
  • No smoking
  • No pets allowed
  • No littering
  • No unnecessary and indecent costumes.

Boracay Ati-Atihan 2019 Do's and Dont'sBoracay Ati-Atihan 2019 Allowed Container Samples

Watch the coverage of the Boracay Ati-Atihan in 2017 courtesy of Paradise Cable Television Network, Inc.

Watch my vlog during my visit to Boracay when it reopened on October 26, 2018 after six months of rehabilitation. Click here for the do’s and dont’s when visiting Boracay.

For better definition, watch this vlog on my Youtube channel.

Special thanks to Mr. Gian Kyle Talapian, Administrative Assistant and Youth Committee Chairman of the Malay-Aklan Local Government Unit- Boracay.

I will be missing this event but will be visiting Boracay in February 2019. Let me know if you want to meet up. I can’t wait to be back!

UPDATED LIST OF ACCREDITED HOTELS IN BORACAY AS OF DECEMBER 2018

Are you planning to go to Boracay?

For better definition, watch the full vlog on my youtbe channel:

Here is the updated list of accredited hotels by the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force as of 14 December 2018. Only these hotels are allowed to accept bookings and reservations:

boracay accredited hotels dec 2018 compiled by joelandrada

To know the do’s and dont’s in Boracay and to read more about my trip during its reopening after six months of rehabilitation, click here.

I am by the way going to Boracay in February 2019. Let me know if you want to meet up. Signing out for now. Peace!

CEBU PACIFIC SEAT SALE UP FOR GRABS NOW

Here we go again. It is that time of the year! Buckle up and prepare your payment info. Make fun moments happen with Cebu Pacific’s Seat Sale. Happy travels!

Philippine Destinations:

  • Sale Period: Up to December 15, 2018 or until seats last
  • Travel Period: February 01, 2019 – April 30, 2019

Book HERE!

For as low as:

  • P 499 Base Fare: Manila to Iloilo, Kalibo or Tacloban

Click here where to stay in Guimaras.

For as low as:

  • P 599 Base Fare: Manila to Bacolod, Cebu or Puerto Princesa

Book HERE!

For as low as:

  • P 699 Base Fare: Manila to Cagayan de Oro, Cauayan (Isabela), Davao, Dumaguete, Legazpi, Masbate or Roxas
  • P 899 Base Fare: Manila to Tagbilaran
  • P 999 Base Fare: Manila to Naga, San Jose (Mindoro), Tuguegarao or Virac
  • P 1099 Base Fare: Manila to Boracay (Caticlan) or Dipolog

Book HERE!

Click here where to stay on Carabao Island.

For as low as:

  • P 1199 Base Fare: Manila to Ozamiz

Book HERE!

For as low as:

  • P 1299 Base Fare: Manila to Butuan, Coron (Busuanga), Cotabato, General Santos or Zamboanga
  • P 1399 Base Fare: Manila to Pagadian or Tablas
  • P 1999 Base Fare: Manila to Siargao

Book HERE!

For as low as:

  • P 2399 Base Fare: Manila to Basco (Batanes)

Book HERE!

Where to stay in Batanes: Katuvang Bed and Breakfast. Click here for more info.

International Destinations

  • Sale Period: Up to December 15, 2018 or until seats last
  • Travel Period: January 15, 2019 – April 30, 2019

Book HERE!

For as low as:

  • P 1199 Base Fare: Manila to Taipei
  • P 1499 Base Fare: Manila to Fukuoka
  • P 1999 Base Fare: Manila to Bali or Hanoi
  • P 3199 Base Fare: Manila to Nagoya
  • P 4199 Base Fare: Manila to Dubai (Travel Period: January 15, 2019 to May 31, 2019)
  • P 5399 All In: Manila to Melbourne (Travel Period: January 15, 2019 to May 31, 2019)
  • P 6599 All In: Manila to Sydney (Travel Period: January 15, 2019 to May 31, 2019)

Book HERE!

WAS THE COKE STUDIO HOMECOMING EVENT LAST NIGHT A DISASTER?

Was the Coke Studio homecoming event last night a disaster? I was not invited to the event but most of my lifestyle blogger friends were. My newsfeed last night till this morning was all about it. Some were ranting about how they were inconvenienced about the event cancellation while most were thankful and fully understood why the event had to be cancelled.

I am just glad that my blogger friends like Lhyzie Bongon and Mommy Lars got out of it safe and sound. I saw a clip on Facebook how rowdy the crowd was.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2212218978801815&id=100000412042550

Here is my piece… I think that the organizers were actually preventing a potential disaster similar to the tragic Wowowee event that happened years ago in Ultra, Pasig. And nobody… I mean nobody wants the same thing happening again.

Let me refresh your memories by watching the video I found on youtube below:

Thanks to John Paulo Caparros of Strategic Works, Inc. for sharing what the management of Coca Cola Philippines has to say about the whole incident.

Below is Coca Cola Philippines’ official statement:

On December 07, 2018, the Coke Studio Concert organizers, Philippine National Police, the City of Pasay, and SM Mall of Asia decided to reschedule the Coke Studio Christmas Concert to early next year to prioritize the public’s safety.

The safety of everyone is of utmost importance to us. The unsafe behavior of portions of an estimated 15,000 spectators such as pushing, jumping on the barricades and throwing bottles, threatened the safety of the rest of the concert-goers, despite numerous reminders from authorities present.

There were some who sustained minor injuries and were immediately given medical attention. After careful assessment, and repeated requests for the public’s cooperation, Coca-Cola together with all the artists, PNP, the City of Pasay, and SM MOA, deemed it necessary to reschedule the concert to a later date.

We thank the PNP, the local government of Pasay, and SM MOA for their full support in helping ensure everyone’s protection, the artists for their passion and fully supporting the decision to prioritize their fans’ welfare, and lastly, to the concert goers for their understanding and support. We recognize that a lot of them have traveled far to see their favorite artists. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. Rest assured that we will continue to coordinate with the relevant parties to further tighten control measures in our next events.

Again, we thank everyone for their understanding and their continued support.

Coca-Cola PH

I hope that we learn more about discipline as a people. We all can have fun and feast without having to act like wild animals. Better safe than sorry.

What do you think about the cancellation of the Coke Studio Homecoming last night? Let me know by putting your comments below.

Signing out for now. Peace.

BORACAY REOPENS AFTER SIX MONTHS & HERE ARE THE DO’s & DON’Ts

Boracay Station 1 during the reopening on October 26, 2018 after 6 months of rehabilitation.
Boracay Station 1 during the reopening on October 26, 2018 after 6 months of rehabilitation.

Boracay, the country’s prime jewel, has finally reopened on October 26, 2018 for tourism after six months of rehabilitation. Fortunately, I got the opportunity to visit Boracay on its reopening day.

Click here for my blog entry regarding Boracay closure.

Thanks to my good old friend Jen for tagging me along. We were billeted at the Red Coconut Hotel from October 26 to 31 before moving to Frendz Hostel & Resort Boracay to join other friends from October 31 to November 5, 2018.

Now that this masterpiece of an island paradise has finally reopened, let us do our part and be good stewards. Let us stay on guard in keeping the environment clean and green.

Boracay Do’s and Don’ts

Below are the do’s and don’ts when visiting Boracay:

Boracay do's and don't's

  • Do dispose your garbage properly
  • Do smoke on the designated smoking areas
  • Do avoid using single use plastic bags instead use an eco bag
  • Do use public rest room, toilet or lavatory
  • Do all establishment maintain the cleanliness on their respective areas
  • Don’t litter on the beach and in other public areas
  • Don’t smoke on the beach and in other public areas
  • Don’t extract or collect sand and pebbles in the beach areas
  • Don’t carry or clutch glass bottles or any beverages in the beach areas
  • Don’t urinate or defecate in any public place

The above are Municipal Ordinances. Anyone caught doing what is not allowed by law will be dealt with accordingly by the authorities with corresponding fines and penalties. There are roving police officers and marshals. Hence, it is in your best interest to just follow the law while enjoying Boracay.

Drone flying is also prohibited unless authorization has been sought by the drone operator.

From the airport, go DIY and proceed to the tricycle queue just across Caticlan Airport. I shared a tricycle ride with Riczi Dio whom I just met at the queue. Tricycle fare is Php 50 per person. You can also rent the whole tricycle by your lonesome. You just need to pay Php 100.

Tricycle ride with a new friend from Caticlan Airport to the Caticlan Jetty Port
Tricycle ride with new friend Riczi Dio from Caticlan Airport to the Caticlan Jetty Port. Fare is Php 50 per person.
Boracay Tourist Verification Center, Caticlan Jetty Port
Boracay Tourist Verification Center, Caticlan Jetty Port

The number of tourists allowed to enter the island is limited and monitored. Ensure that you have your hotel voucher with you upon registration at the Caticlan Jetty Port. If you are traveling with family or friends who will be staying with you in your hotel room, make sure that their names are listed on the hotel voucher as well.

Boracay Tourist Verification Counter, Caticlan Jetty Port
Boracay Tourist Verification Counter, Caticlan Jetty Port
Boracay Reopening October 26, 2018
Thanks to the Department of Tourism for welcoming me to Boracay with this necklace.

Once verified, proceed to the counter to pay the following:

  • Pump boat fare Php 25
  • Terminal fee Php 100
  • Environmental fee Php 75
Caticlan Jetty Port Pump Boat Fare, Terminal Fee and Environmental Fee
Once verified, proceed to the counter to pay the pump boat fare Php 25, terminal fee Php 100 and environmental fee Php 75.
Pump boat from Caticlan Jetty Port to Cagban Port
Pump boat from Caticlan Jetty Port to Cagban Port, Boracay.
Cagban Port
Cagban Port, Boracay

The boat ride from Caticlan Port to Cagban Port was smooth and only took twenty minutes. At the Cagban Port, Riczi and I shared another tricycle ride for Php 120 or Php 60 per person to bring us to Boracay D’Mall where we would go our separate ways. E-trikes are also available. Fare is Php 20 per head. The tricycle ride from Cagban Port to D’Mall took about thirty minutes versus the usual fifteen minutes because of slow traffic and ongoing road and drainage constructions.

The New Boracay

Borcay finally reopens for tourism on October 26, 2018 after six months of rehabilitation.
Boracay finally reopens for tourism on October 26, 2018 after six months of rehabilitation.

I stayed in Boracay for eleven days, probably the longest I have ever been on an island. Why? Well, simply because I fell in love with the place again. Despite the ongoing road construction and establishment repairs, it seemed that everything was in its proper place. It felt like the Boracay I first saw way back in the early days. But then again, this is me. Some like it wild and cluttered. I like it serene and clean.

I had a chance to talk to Tita Connie, owner of Red Coconut Hotel. She has been living on the island since 1982. She shared that after six months of closure, Boracay now looks like the Boracay of the 1990s. She feels sad though that the locals had to suffer the brunt of the closure. There was practically no business going on on the island for six months. But she believes that the closure was necessary to save Boracay from being a cesspool. I have spoken to a number of locals as well and they all feel the same thing. After six months of rest, they are now more than ready to welcome tourists on the island.

Yes! No more bed mats or umbrellas near the shore. No clutter. All beach front properties have to follow the 25+5-meter no-build zone. This means that there should be no private structures built within the 30-meter easement between the shore and the beachfront property.

Boracay finally reopens for tourism on October 26, 2018 after six months of rehabilitation.
Boracay finally reopens for tourism on October 26, 2018 after six months of rehabilitation.
Boracay finally reopens for tourism on October 26, 2018 after six months of rehabilitation.
Boracay finally reopens for tourism on October 26, 2018 after six months of rehabilitation.
Boracay finally reopens for tourism on October 26, 2018 after six months of rehabilitation.
Boracay finally reopens for tourism on October 26, 2018 after six months of rehabilitation.

View this post on Instagram

Missing Boracay. People close to me know that whenever I travel, it's "more footage and photos more fun for me" and these two were so patient and never left me while I set up, fly, swim and run around like there's no tomorrow just to capture moments and memories. See you soon! When they say that what happens in Boracay remains in Boracay, I somewhat disagree 'coz I am taking all my memories of my recent trip with you to Boracay with me. Keso na kung keso. lols. See you guys around soon! #Boracay #Aklan #islandlife #itsmorefuninthephilippines #travelbloggers #travelblogger #travelblog #travelph #travelphotography #travelphotos #pinoywanderer #wanderer #wanderlust #globetrotter #asianwanderlust #Philippines #whitebeach #digitalnomads #diginomads #pinasmuna #online #content #creator #island #diy #theworldexplorers #beach #sea #whitesand #friends

A post shared by JOEL JAWS ANDRADA | B/Vlogger (@joeljawsandrada) on

Boracay finally reopens for tourism on October 26, 2018 after six months of rehabilitation.

Boracay finally reopens for tourism on October 26, 2018 after six months of rehabilitation.

Boracay finally reopens for tourism on October 26, 2018 after six months of rehabilitation.

Boracay finally reopens for tourism on October 26, 2018 after six months of rehabilitation.

Boracay finally reopens for tourism on October 26, 2018 after six months of rehabilitation.

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Boracay finally reopens for tourism on October 26, 2018 after six months of rehabilitation.

One afternoon, I went jogging from Station Two to Station One. It was only a day after typhoon #Rosita and I noticed that the strong waves brought by habagat (south wind) have pushed ashore a number of garbage.

On the beach of Station One, I found a big ziploc plastic bag. I picked it up. After a few steps, I saw candy and Rebisco wrappers. I picked them up and put them in the ziploc bag. Then, I saw one and yet another trash. Picked them up and placed them in the bag. Not soon enough, the big ziploc bag was already full of plastic trash I picked up from the shores of Station One.

Near Station Two, I saw an empty sack. I placed the already full ziploc bag inside and continued my way picking trash. By the time I reached the front of our hotel, my sack was already heavy and full of plastic garbage. I gave the sack of garbage to the hotel staff for disposal.

Boracay finally reopens for tourism after six months of rehabilitation
By the time I reached the front of our hotel, my sack was already heavy and full of plastic garbage.
Boracay Plastic Garbage
A cement sack full of plastic garbage which I collected from the shores of Boracay Stations 1 and 2.

I felt proud of myself because I was able to contribute in my own little way in cleaning the newly reopened Boracay. So when you do get to visit Boracay or any of our beautiful islands, please be responsible and leave no trash behind. I was guilty of it in the past.

I also hope that more trash bins are installed in Stations One and Two like the ones donated by The Juan Effect of Cebu Pacific Air in Stations Two and Three.

The Juan Effect Trash Bins from Cebu Pacific Air
The Juan Effect Trash Bins from Cebu Pacific Air

Kudos also to the staff / volunteers of Department of Environment and Natural Resources for regularly collecting trash on the beautiful beach of Boracay.

Kudos also to the staff / volunteers of Department of Environment and Natural Resources for regularly collecting trash on the beautiful beach of Boracay.
Kudos also to the staff / volunteers of Department of Environment and Natural Resources for regularly collecting trash on the beautiful beach of Boracay.

I will be back very soon. Booked my tickets already for February 2019. I might be back even before that though. And when I do, I hope to see the same, if not better, Boracay.

Remember to never stop exploring the world one story at a time. Signing out for now. Peace!

Click here for ongoing AirAsia #RedHotSeatSale:

VISIT THE NEWLY REOPENED BORACAY THRU AIRASIA’S FINAL RED HOT SEAT SALE

Have you been meaning to visit the world’s number one island paradise Boracay after its reopening last October 26, 2018? Then, here is your chance! Thanks to AirAsia, the World’s Best Low-Cost Airline.

Avail of promotional fares from as low as Php 16 (for BIG members) all-in and one way only now available at airsia.com with AirAsia’s final Red Hot Seat Sale for 2018.

  • Booking Period: November 12 to 18, 2018
  • Travel Period: May 6, 2019 to February 4, 2020
  • Travel Period for Clark to Taipei: May 4, 2019 to October 25, 2019

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AirAsia Final Red Hot Seat Sale

Promotional seats are available for flights from Manila, Cebu, Clark and Kalibo to various domestic destinations like

  • Caticlan (Boracay)
  • Cagayan De Oro
  • Iloilo
  • Palawan
  • Tacloban
  • Tagbilaran (Bohol)
  • Davao

Fly to Tacloban to visit the country’s longest bridge, the protected Cuatro Islas and the famous Kalanggaman Island.

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Digyo Island is one of the four islands of Cuatro Islas off the coast of Inopacan, Leyte that I was blessed enough to visit in this lifetime. The island is powered by solar energy during the day and a generator from sundown to 11pm. Charging is P40 per gadget. And guess what I have 10 or so gadgets to charge everytime. Blogging soon. #Leyte #inopacan #cuatroislas #inopacan #Leyte #backpackers #islandlife #dronephotography efuninthephilippines #Anilao #travelbloggers #travelblogger #travelblog #travelph #travelphotography #travelphotos #pinoywanderer #wanderer #wanderlust #globetrotter #asianwanderlust #Philippines #digitalnomads #diginomads #pinasmuna #online #content #creator #island #diy #theworldexplorers #roadto #kalanggamanisland #dronephotography

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Red Hot Seat Sale is also extended to the following international flights from as low as Php 551 only for BIG members:

  • Taipei
  • Kaohshiung
  • Shanghai
  • Shenzhen
  • Guangzhou
  • Macao
  • Hong Kong
  • Bali
  • Bangkok
  • Ho Chi Minh City
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Kota Kinabalu
  • Singapore
  • Korea

AirAsia Philippines CEO Captain Dexter Comendador said,

“Red Hot Seat Sale is our final promotional sale for the year and now is the best time to make your travel plans not only for domestic destinations but travel all over Asia and beyond with over 130 destinations across AirAsia Group’s extensive network.”

The AirAsia Group is the leading and largest low-cost carrier in Asia by passengers and services an extensive network of over 130 destinations. The airline is proud to be a truly Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) airline with operations based in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines as well as India and Japan, servicing a network stretching across Asia, Australia and New Zealand and the Middle East. AirAsia has been named the World’s Best Low-Cost Airline at the annual Skytrax World Airline Awards ten times in a row from 2009 to 2018.