Your trip to Batanes will not be complete without visiting Sabtang. Sabtang is an island municipality located in the southern part of Batanes. From Basco, I had to ride a boat at the San Vicente Port and brave the open seas of the Luzon Strait to get to Sabtang Island.
Click here to see where I stayed in Basco, Batanes.
Some visitors opt for just a day tour of Sabtang. According to locals, however, it is best to stay overnight so I could maximize my visit. That boat trip to the island, after all, was no joke. Hence, I booked an overnight stay at Neyala’s Homestay located at 071 P. Abarquez Street, Sinakan, Sabtang, Batanes.
Upon check-in, I met Tita Neyala, the matriarch of the Neyala Family. She then escorted me to the room on the second floor.
My room has a double deck and a queen size bed, good for a group of two or three. It has its own toilet and bath and air-conditioning.
Room rates are as follows:
Php 1500 per night for three
Php 1200 per night for two
Php 800 per night for one
For bookings, contact Safetravel Philippines here.
There is a common area where I met fellow backpackers staying in Neyala’s Homestay who flew all the way from Visayas and Mindanao just to visit breathtaking Batanes.
Tita also served us Tubho Tea, a traditional tea of the Ivatans popularized in Sabtang. Tubho Tea is made of dried leaves of a fern that grows in moist rocky areas of Batanes forests and mountainsides.
To prepare, add 3 to 5 stalks of the dried tubho to a liter of water and bring to a boil. Continue boiling for about five minutes or until the water turns dark. Best served with lemon or calamansi.
A pack of Tubho Tea is Php 50. For orders, call or text +63-949-1372813 and look for Tita Neyala or her son Francis Neyala.
I enjoyed my stay in Sabtang. Thanks to the warm hospitality of the Neyala Family! I will be back and hope to see you again. Dios Mamajes. Signing out for now. Peace!
Batanes is an island group province located at the northernmost tip of the Philippines. Undeniably, Batanes is one of the most sought after places to visit in the Philippines because of its mystifying beauty. In fact, Batanes is the only province in the country that is protected in its entirety, both landscapes and seascapes and was listed in the Tentative List of the Philippines for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site.
Batanes is the country’s smallest province in terms of population and land area and is composed of only ten islands. The three largest of which are the only ones inhabited. These are Batan, Itbayat and Sabtang. I was able to visit two, Batan and Sabtang.
What made my stay in Batanes memorable, more than the picturesque sights, was really the warm welcome that I got from the Ivatans or locals whom I met. Not unknown to many of my friends and followers, I lost my drone on day one to the mighty winds of Batanes during the first and the last time I visited. Because I lost my main video equipment, I was not able to produce a travel video which was the primary reason of my trip. Watch the vlog here.
The entry point of Batanes by air is Basco, the capital of Batanes. Basco is located in the island of Batan.
Upon arrival, I met Tita Elda, her son Mitchel Lechuga and family of Safetravel Philippines at the airport and brought me to a quaint bed and breakfast inn in Basco, the Katuvang B&B.
Owned and managed by couple Mike and Edna Acebes, Katuvang B&B offers exquisite accommodation with casual elegance. The couple are pretty much hands on in making sure everything is in place and each guest is taken good care of.
I woke up in the morning of my first night with Tito Mike tending the front yard and Tita Edna asking me if she should prepare my breakfast already.
Katuvang B&B is also located near the town center or Basco’s Historic Plaza. On my first morning in Batanes, I went jogging. It felt as if I was in a small town abroad where the only and most convenient means of getting from point A to point B was by walking.
Room with breakfast for 2 persons- Php 2,500 per night
Room with breakfast for 3 persons- Php 3,250 per night
Katuvang B&B rooms are comfortably spacious and properly air-conditioned with the option to use the ceiling fan. I loved their linens. The bed also felt luxurious. The room came with complimentary toiletries, extra beddings and breakfast for two. They have rooms ideal for friends and families.
I enjoyed my stay overall in Batanes. Batanes will always occupy a special place in my heart. To all my friends in Batanes who treated me like family… Dios Mamajes and see you again very soon.
For bookings and inquiries, visit Katuvang B&B’s Facebook Page here or contact Safetravel Philippines here.
If you just can’t wait to have that elusive vacation but do not have the time and budget to go out of town whether alone or with family and friends, then the Selah Garden Hotel in Pasay City could be your best option.
My brother was here two weeks ago on a short nine-day vacation. He is a flight attendant based in the United Arab Emirates. We wanted to maximize his short stay with fun and excitement without having to leave Metro Manila. So the day he arrived, I packed my bags of clothes and shooting equipment and we booked a Grab Car and headed to the Selah Garden Hotel.
The Selah Garden Hotel is a boutique hotel near the Makati Business District and various historical landmarks such as Intramuros and Luneta Park. Likewise, the Selah Garden Hotel is accessible to the airport and the Mall of Asia (one of the biggest shopping malls in Asia).
Upon arrival, we were warmly welcomed at the lobby by the receptionists with refreshing welcome drinks. Check in time is 2 PM and check out is 12 noon. We stayed in a Flagship Double Room.
The Selah Garden Hotel has 83 rooms of varying types that can fit different guest preferences. Below are Selah Garden Hotel’s type of accommodations and corresponding published rates:
Flagship Room at Php 3,200 per night for two with breakfast and Php 3,800 per night for three with breakfast
Cozy Room at Php 3,800 per night for two with breakfast
Fantastic Loft at Php 5,100 per night for four to five occupants with breakfast
Fantabulous Loft at Php 6,700 per night for seven occupants with breakfast
Fabulous Suite at Php 5,900 per night for five to six occupants
Stellar Suite at Php 13,000 per night for ten occupants
Bunk Room at Php 800 per occupant per night, good for four, six or eight occupants
Clique Room at Php 800 per occupant per night, good for ten occupants
Complimentary wi-fi access
Safety deposit box
24-hour room service
TV with cable channels
Daily complimentary bottled water per person
Hot and cold shower with toiletries set
24-hour elevator service
Laundry service upon request
Hotel features include:
Spa by Selah
Scuba diving course
Team-building facilities with high rope activities
It was a tiring but fruitful day one at the Selah Garden Hotel. My brother and I tried out Selah Garden Hotel’s high-rope activities such as wall climbing, zip line, control descent, Burma Bridge, multivines, Jacob’s Ladder and broken bridge with the other bloggers. We also joined the team building activity arranged by the hotel staff.
It was a hot and humid day and the infinity pool was just too tempting. I, however, conserved all the energy I had left and postponed swimming the next day. It was, anyway, going to be a long and fun Karaoke night with the gang as we celebrated our fellow blogger and friend’s birthday at the TLC Room of the Selah Garden Hotel.
After eating a sumptuous dinner, chugging on some drinks, singing our hearts out and basically had one of the most fun get-together’s we have ever had, we called it a night.
The next day, my brother woke up early and decided to have an early swim. I, on the other hand, slept in and woke up much later.
I had breakfast with some of the not so early birds. After breakfast, I went for a quick swim and met new friends. I also took some aerial shots. I did not fly my drone too high because I am not so at ease flying my drone in the city.
Overall, my brother and I had a grand time in The Selah Garden Hotel, a quick getaway found right smack in the middle of the city.
For more information, visit The Selah Garden Hotel’s website here.
Last September 28, 2018, Palu, Indonesia was struck by a disastrous earthquake and tsunami.
To support the victims of the said tragedy, AirAsia, the world’s best low cost carrier, launched the #ToIDwithLove Relief Fund on October 12, 2018.
Donations may be done online via the AirAsia Foundation, the airline’s philanthropic arm. Click here to donate. The #ToIDwithLove fund will be collecting donations until October 31, 2018 channeled to Yayasan Arkom Indonesia to help rebuild homes and improve disaster resilience in affected areas.
Further, AirAsia will also carry out phased onboard cash collections, beginning with AirAsia Malaysia (carried code AK), AirAsia Thailand (FD), AirAsia Indonesia (QZ), AirAsia X Malaysia (D7), AirAsia X Thailand (XJ) and AirAsia X Indonesia (XT) flights until the end of October 2018, with more airlines in AirAsia Group to follow.
AirAsia will match the total public collection, which will be announced in January 2019.
AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said, “It’s been an incredibly tough year for Indonesia, which has been beset by one deadly disaster after another. Our hearts go out to all those who have suffered unimaginable losses as a result.”
“As an ASEAN airline, we share a close bond with the communities we serve, and we want to do our part to help those in need. Through this donation drive, we hope to raise enough money to make a positive contribution to rebuilding efforts, so please give freely. Every dollar counts”, Fernandes added.
The award seeks to recognize local talents in the entertainment industry, build stronger ties with relevant and like-minded partners, and utilize this as a venue to express LionHearTV.net’s gratitude to everyone who supported the site since its first time to go online ten years ago.
There are 25 awards at stake in this year’s RAWR Awards. Supported by 250 bloggers, Public Relations and fan bases groups across the country, RAWR Awards is dubbed as a spectacle of the local entertainment’s personalities and celebrities.
There are three major award categories—Lion, Cub and Pride. Below is the list of categories and the corresponding nominees:
The award clearly indicates being active or maybe the brightest child star the public has come to endear with. The recipient of the award has this innocence that can be described as ‘breath of fresh air’; he or she has shown dedication at work despite his or her young age.
Bida means the lead—it can refer to either the star on a television show or in a film. The Favorite Bida of is someone who gave a remarkable performance. Though being a protagonist back then are the victims and who allow the antagonist to just abuse him or her; today, the Bida knows how to fight and still earn the sympathy of the audience.
Any Bida will not be as effective and convincing if his or her kontrabida fails to deliver. The said award is given to the antagonist who made the audience hate them because of the guts and he or she can steal the spotlight from the lead if given the chance. With many bankable artists turn into the villains they are now, one can only be hailed as the Ultimate Kontrabida.
Beshie ng Taon
In any story, he or she is the sidekick, the supporter who cheers for the Bida. Oftentimes, he or she is overlooked and taken for granted, but because of his or her contribution to tell and complete a story—he or she gives the lead a special support system and because of that—he or she deserves that recognition, too.
The Great Comeback
Stars are born, but not all are able to have that longevity in the industry. Seldom for those who shunned away from the limelight are given another chance to shine; there are a few or one who is able to reclaim his or her status as a celebrity. The said star may have been missed truly by his or her fans or the public as a whole and still able to score a smashing comeback.
Movie ng Taon
From September 2017 to September this year, movies have created abuzz not just because of its topnotch performance, its storytelling but it has somehow caught the attention both the moviegoers and the critics. Every year, the local and international film industry offer materials that created such a stir and even break box-office records as well.
Bet na Bet na Teleserye
Each year, the quality of our TV shows or series have become more competitive, innovative and impressive. Plots get deeper or crazier and the artists become better. Truly, these shows are testaments of how great Filipino artistry is.
Hugot Song of the Year
Songs reflect the heart and the soul of an artist and it affect the listeners. This is a song that made the public define a particular emotion—it can be joy, sorrow or pain. That song is something that most people have that LSS or last song syndrome or can be an anthem for the whole year round.
Pak na Pak na Comedian
Most people say that doing drama or action or engaging in a sexy act is difficult to attain, however, making people laugh is even a hard task. Laughter is one of the best medicines there is and someone has to have that timing and the knack of throwing the right jokes and still enjoy the humor.
Spotlighting the freshest face[s] or maybe those who just ventured into the entertainment circuit is one of the most exciting parts in this award-body. He or she has impressed the public or the eyes of scrutinizing critics. Though new, the star has made a good mark and was given that stamp of approval and predicted to have a promising future in the industry.
Love Team of the Year
This is presented to the tandem that is most-loved by our dear LionhearTV Cubs. It is a pair that has captivated the hearts of many. Not only do they make their fans believe in love, but they also set a good example for their followers and to the younger generation as well. They are two individuals that people can look up to on-and-off cam.
Actor of the Year
The recognition is given to an outstanding male star. He stood out from the rest of nominees for the said category. He has shown versatility and impressive performance for his craft; set a standard. He effectively portrayed the role or the character assigned to him and has affected a great audience, as well.
Actress of the Year
This is to salute the exceptional performance of an actress. She broke all the norms. She is a woman of both substance and talent, her character has empowered the female populace. The award spotlights how the female artist has debunked the double standards of Filipino on women and has proven that women can take big roles, too.
The award is for the artist who nailed both singing and dancing as well. He or she is a true ‘performer’ all-through-and-through and has owned the stage; outdone the strong competition he or she had to face. The award signifies versatility.
Favorite TV host
The Favorite TV Host is the face of the any show that any audience get to enjoy watching whether on a weekday or on a weekend basis. Some might say that this is the easiest job in the industry, but one cannot make the viewers crave for more without the gab for words and the confidence to carry a show. With his or her charm and commendable skills, this host is truly a topnotch.
Favorite Radio DJ
He is the person and the favorite voice on the radio waves. Despite the fact that they can only be heard, but some radio stations have already managed to combine audio-visual altogether like broadcasting on TV or on the Net—his or her intended audience can now see how he or she does his or her job. But that voice does not remain a voice but it has a great responsibility to create an impact as well.
News Personality of the Year (Female and Male)
The chosen news personality female and male has done a great job in the field of journalism. He or she has weathered through all the issues thrown at him or her. Apart from that, he or she has showcased the passion and that brand of dedication and determination to deliver newsworthy and noteworthy stories to the public.
Digital Influencer of the Year
He or she mirrors the image of being the most sought-after online influencer as of today. With the rise of digital content creators, the competition immediately became tighter; but there’s only one who emerged and gained the trust of the Netizens. He or she plays a big role in advancing and being a responsible online user via social media platforms.
Breakthrough Artist of the Year
Not necessarily a newcomer, but he or she is an artist, a personality that rocked the entertainment scene with such a sterling performance and perhaps an achievement that impressed many. It is a matter of leaving a great impact for the Filipino audience to see what he or she can still offer, positively.
Aside from individual awards, this category recognizes the best group in the entertainment circuit has. There may be people who shine individually, but surely there is joy to watch a group that does such feat equally.
The award recognizes the celebrity whose advocacy has made a difference in the community. That the efforts he or she has put in are not just mere publicity, but all for the good of humanity and leave and impart the people with that sense of humility and unity to support a particular cause.
Fan Club of the Year
Fans are the most precious people, celebrities could have. They are the real reason why a star is born and continue to make it big because of their support. They devote time and effort for their idols, but only the responsible ones last.
TV Station of the Year
The way to success is steep, even the roads going there is rough and bumpy at times. Competitions between stations will forever be fierce; each one trying to outwit, outdone any efforts or initiatives for the ratings’ sake. But at the end of the day, only the one who succeeded in impressing the public with an outstanding branding, quality of output, good public relations and even better service do matter the most.
Radio Station of the Year
Even if the digital platform may have somehow overtaken the radio, still the industry refuses to bend but continue to innovate and strive to put up a good fight and be updated or still stay significant over the years. Nothing beats the spontaneity of listening to the radio. Whether inside the office or at the comfort of your own room or even driving or even walking, radio is still and will always stay as a good companion.
Needless to say, online shopping is here to stay. With the ever worsening gridlock of cars clogging the busy streets of Metro Manila, online shops such as Lazada and Shopee provide urban dwellers the chance to do shopping without ever leaving the comforts of their homes.
Online shopping is not only convenient. It is also more cost effective for both online shoppers and sellers. Online shoppers do not have to contend with spending extra for parking fees and gas money and the inconvenience of waiting in long queues. On the other hand, online sellers get the chance to minimize any overhead costs related to having a brick store such as office rental and utilities.
There is a new kid in town! And, whether you are a shopper or a seller, HATAW.PH has got you covered when it comes to online shopping.
HATAW.PH offers the following shopping categories:
Toys, Kids and Baby
Home and Living such as dining, kitchen, living rooms and decorations
Home Improvement such as hardware, lighting, faucet parts and door knobs
HATAW.PH, according to its Chief Executive Officer Mr. Adolfo Sy, targets the B, C and D classes with emphasis on Quality Products at Affordable Prices. That is why HATAW.PH is the answer to people on a tight budget.
HATAW.PH provides online sellers with an alternative e-commerce platform. Online sellers only need to sign up, agree to the terms and agreement, upload products for sale, start promotions or discounts and sell. Online sellers may sign up here.
As an introductory special offer, HATAW.PH is giving away 200 points to each of the first 100 people who will sign up. These points can be used to shop online. Here is how to redeem your voucher worth 200 points:
Payments accepted are cash on delivery, credit/debit card, bank transfers and through M Lhuillier branches.
HATAW.PH is available in both desktop and mobile versions. The HATAW.PH mobile app may be downloaded from the App Store and from the Play Store. So what are you waiting for? Download the app now and start shopping and/or selling!
Watch my solo do-it-yourself travel to South Cebu featuring Oslob including Sumilon Island, Allegria and Moalboal. Watch as I swim with the whalesharks in Oslob, cliffjump in Allegria, swim with sea turtles and sardines in Moalboal and so much more.
The first thing that comes to mind whenever I hear the word “Guimaras” is mangoes. Guimaras Mangoes are dubbed as the world’s sweetest fruit. I have not really tasted Guimaras Mangoes until I have set foot on the island and stayed in Nature’s Eye Beach Resort last month. And I must tell you that Guimaras Mangoes are the best mangoes I have ever tasted… taste bud delight, if I may add. You see, I am from Pangasinan and we have mango trees in our yard. Hence, mangoes, when in season, are a mainstay around the family table. Suffice to say that I know my mangoes. LOL.
Other than knowing about Guimaras as the Mango Capital of the Philippines, I have always been curious about this island down south especially after news broke out on August 11, 2006 about an oil tanker that sank off the coast of Guimaras causing what is considered today as the worst oil spill the country has ever had.
Twelve years later, who would have thought that I would have the privilege of exploring Guimaras? On August 12, 2018, I took the first boat trip out of Carabao Island to Caticlan to board a Ceres Bus to Iloilo.
Click here to read about my visit to Carabao Island, Romblon.
The bus ride from Caticlan to Iloilo took about 6 hours because of slow traffic. I did not really mind the long ride because it was such a scenic route. Also, I needed to catch a few winks to regenerate for Guimaras. Hence, I slept most of the time throughout the trip and woke up only at bus stops- Kalibo and Passi.
I traveled with fellow travel blogger Cai Dominguez of Travelosyo who is also the Resort Manager of Nature’s Eye Beach Resort in Guimaras. He quit his corporate job in the bustling Metropolitan Manila to live a more meaningful life on the island.
Upon arrival at the Ceres Bus Terminal in Iloilo City, we took a couple of rides more, a jeepney and a tricycle, to get to the Guimaras-Iloilo Ferry Terminal.
How To Get To Guimaras Island
The Guimaras-Iloilo Ferry Terminal is the gateway to Guimaras Island. So if you are coming from Metro Manila, you need to book a flight to Iloilo. In our case, we traveled by land from Caticlan to Iloilo. Other do-it-yourself travelers whom I met in Guimaras traveled by sea to Iloilo from Bacolod for 2 hours. A boat trip from Cebu takes about 14 hours and a boat trip from Manila takes about 27 hours.
The Guimaras-Iloilo Ferry Terminal is near the newly opened CityMall Parola where we got some snacks to go before boarding the boat. Boat fares are as follows:
Day Time (6 AM to 5:57 PM), 43 passengers per trip: Php 15 per passenger
Night Time (6 PM onwards), 31 passengers per trip: Php 22 per passenger
Senior Citizens and Persons With Disabilities may avail of discounted rates upon presentation of proper identification.
I must say that I was quite impressed with the Guimaras-Iloilo Ferry Terminal. It was spacious and orderly. It had good air-conditioning and efficient lighting. Boat trips to and fro Guimaras are frequent. Usually, a boat leaves every 15 minutes. The last trip to Guimaras is at 8 PM while the last boat leaves Guimaras at 7 PM.
Our boat trip from Iloilo to Guimaras was on schedule and took only 20 minutes. The boat docked at the Jordan Guimaras Jetty Port upon arrival in Guimaras.
We have been traveling close to 8 hours in total since we left Carabao Island. I was close to exhaustion (yeah, coming from someone who slept throughout the whole trip). I tried convincing myself that this long trip had better be worth it. I mean… a destination this hard to get to must really be awesome, don’t you think?
We rented a tricycle for Php 500 to take us to Nature’s Eye Beach Resort instead of riding a regular public utility jeepney. I had too many pieces of luggage with me anyway and told Cai that I did not want to inconvenience the other passengers (or me, LOL).
How To Get To Nature’s Eye Beach Resort
Below are the number of ways you can get to the number one beach resort on Guimaras Island from the Jordan Guimaras Jetty Port:
Take a public utility jeepney from Jordan Guimaras Jetty Port to Dolores Crossing for Php 38 per person. Then, hire a motorcycle from Dolores Crossing to Tando. Fare is Php 50 per head
Hire a multicab from Jordan Guimaras Jetty Port to Nature’s Eye Resort. Fare is Php 500 per way
Hire a multicab from Jordan Guimaras Jetty Port to Guisi. Then, hire a private boat from Guisi Beach to Nature’s Eye Beach Resort Beach Front. Fare is Php 300 for 2 persons (additional Php 100 per person)
On the way, we passed by The Pitstop Restaurant to get the famous Mango Pizza. The 9-inch Mango Pizza cost P240.
I rode at the back of the tricycle with my drone and luggage. Guimaras has paved highways and not too many people by the roadside. Not too many vehicles plying the road either. I guess most of them were already in their houses as it was already beginning to get dark.
Twenty minutes before reaching Tando, it was already pitch dark and all I could hear was the revving of the tricycle. I could also already smell the beach. When we reached Tando, a Nature’s Eye Beach Resort staff was waiting for us and helped me with my luggage. With our cellphones serving as flashlights, we hiked for a good ten minutes to reach the gates of Nature’s Eye Beach Resort traversing what seemed to be a forest.
We trekked through mud. I could feel the undergrowth brushing against my ankles, too. I could hear crickets and the ebb and flow of the waves of a nearby beach. I willed my eyes to adjust to the dark surroundings so I could see what I was hearing but to no avail. I just let my vivid imagination to take over.
We went straight to the main reception and dining cottage where the owner, Ms. Rowena Amancio, was waiting. She warmly welcomed me to her resort. Over dinner, she shared to me how she started the resort. I learned that she used to live and work in Switzerland for the longest time. During one of her vacations in the Philippines some years ago, she came to visit Guimaras and went island hopping. That was when she discovered this serene area by the cliffs overlooking the sea. In 2014, she decided to build her retirement nest and later on with only two cottages she opened the resort to the public.
Fast forward to 2018, Nature’s Eye Beach Resort already has five cottages and is the number 1 resort on Guimaras Island per Tripadvisor. It is the perfect place for that once in a while getaway with your significant other. Privacy is high. Hospitality is warm. Service is customized.
Rainy Season Sale
Nature’s Eye Beach Resort has an ongoing Rainy Season Sale from July 1 to September 30, 2018:
Sunset Cottage for two, 3 days and 2 nights, Php 3980 per head, rate includes:
1 Queen Size Bed
Native bathroom with sunset and ocean view
3 hours of island adventure
Sunset Cottage for two, 2 days and 1 night, Php 2115 per head, rate includes:
Queen size bed
Native bathroom with sunset and ocean view
3 hours of island adventure
Ocean View Lower Deck for two, 3 days and 2 nights, Php 4700 per head, rate includes:
King Size Bed
Balcony with sunset and ocean view
3 hours of island adventure
Ocean View Lower Deck for two, 2 days and 1 night, Php 2475 per head, rate includes:
King Size Bed
Balcony with sunset and ocean view
3 hours of island adventure
Please keep noise to a minimum.
Avoid staining our bed sheets and towels.
Take good care of our home and things.
We do not have wi-fi, talk to each other pretend it is 1995.
No smoking, eating and drinking inside the room.
Check-out time is 12 noon.
How To Book
For bookings, visit Nature’s Eye Beach Resort’s Facebook Page here or call +63-907-7579055.
Cliff Top Cottage
After dinner, it was time to call it a day. I was billeted at the Cliff Top Cottage. From the reception cottage, I had to go down some 200 or so steps and climb up another 50 or so steps to get to my room. It was windy when I got to the veranda of my cottage but I could not really see any of the surroundings apart from the cottage itself. I reckoned that the beach must be nearby. I fell as asleep listening to the waves hitting some rocks and the rustling of the leaves in the trees as they danced with the wind. It was that time of the year when habagat or south wind was at its mightiest. I had a good night’s sleep just the same.
When I woke up in the morning, only then did I realize that I have certainly hit the bull’s-eye with Nature’s Eye Beach Resort! I was so sleepy last night that I did not appreciate how sizable my room was. It was big enough for a family of four. The mattress and pillows were comfortable. The bed also came with a pull-out.
To keep that back to nature mood, the room’s interior was made of indigenous materials fused with modern and sturdy structure. There was a big closet with extra beddings and a safe deposit box to boot. There was also a number of electrical sockets strategically spread around the room… just perfect for charging my gadgets. How many did I have to charge every time anyway? Well…
Two drone batteries
Drone remote control
Three mobile phones
Two DSLR batteries
When I stepped out of the room, lo and behold, the view was to die for with the veranda overlooking the ocean. Between me and the cliff were two branches of trees made into terrace railings.
It was such a beautiful sight to greet my first morning in the resort! The view was so inspiring that I thought if I were a novelist I could actually write a whole novel here. Just peace and quiet.
Instantly, I fell in love with the place. The next logical thing to do was for me to get my camera and take lots of photos and selfies. The veranda was my second most favorite part of the Cliff Top Cottage. It served as my me-time spot in the resort where I regrouped myself and planned for the next move in my life. You see… I have been contemplating for the longest time if I should go on with travel blogging or go back to doing a routinary 9 AM to 5 PM (most of the time 11 PM) work schedule. I guess this time, it is still passion over money.
Adjacent to the veranda was the toilet and bath or native bathroom… my most favorite part of the Cliff Top Cottage. They do not call it native bathroom for nothing. It did not have walls. You can do numbers 1, 2, 3 and what have you while staring at the big blue sea.
I guess the only downside was the low water pressure in the shower. Having a cottage perched on top of a cliff would certainly weaken the flow of water without an electric pump to boost it . I guess the resort management knew about this already because the native bathroom came with a pail and a dipper. Oh, let me not forget to mention that I loved their organic shampoo and shower gel. Being true to the resorts eco-tourism advocacy, they only use organic toiletries.
After doing my morning rituals, I got a text message from Cai to proceed to the dining area for breakfast.
The five-minute walk from my room to the main cottage was not so tiring at all. The pebble-covered path through the thick foliage seemed more of a treat to me than torture.
The main cottage was breezy and had a perfect view of the Guimaras Marine Sanctuary. I must say that my coffee never tasted so good. That view and my cup… just the perfect blend.
I also checked the resort’s Sunset Cottage. For obvious reasons, this cottage was facing the west and had the perfect view of the sunset. No one was billeted in the cottage so I stayed at the balcony and waited for the sunset.
While waiting for sunset, I attempted to fly my drone but habagat was too strong. Ten minutes into challenging nature, I landed my drone and told myself, “Next time, Jaws… next time.”
I also went on an island hopping activity to visit the nearby islets of the Guimaras Marine Sanctuary. The resort can arrange this for you. In fact, it is already included in their Rainy Season Sale.
The boat’s pick-up point was a good ten minute walk from Nature’s Eye Beach Resort. On regular days, the boat can pick up the guests from the resort’s beach front. On the way, we passed by two small villages.
The tide was stronger than usual. I was told though that the waves were manageable. I was glad we pushed through because I wanted to see for myself if the Taklong Island National Marine Reserve has already recovered from the damage brought about by the oil spill.
Taklong Island National Marine Reserve
After braving the strong waves of the open sea, we sailed through mangroves where the clear water was still.
From what I saw, the Taklong Island National Marine Reserve may be on its way to full recovery from the damage brought about by the oil spill twelve years ago. Unfortunately, it is not spared from humanity’s complete disregard of nature. Sadly, from the boat, I could see plastic bottles floating by. When we checked, most of the discarded mineral water bottles came from neighboring countries Malaysia and Indonesia. The current apparently has brought them here to stay. I hope that all (and not just tourists) be more responsible in disposing their wastes. We only have one planet.
Our first stop was the Taklong Island National Marine Reserve Eco-Park Office. The eco-park, composed of 46 islands and islets, is home to various species of birds, marine creatures and other animals. The mangrove is 53 hectares.
I was not allowed to fly my drone in the eco-park. Besides, the wind was too strong anyway. So, after paying the environmental fee of Php 30, we headed immediately to the nearby tower to get a good 360-degree vantage point of the eco-park.
On our way back, we stopped by the Floating Cottage Sandbar . These two large nipa huts were built on a submerged sandbar in December 2015 through the help of Gina Lopez whose family hails from Guimaras. We paid an entrance fee of Php 50 per head. Tables and chairs were available for the guests to lounge and relax. Some guests brought packed lunch and were eating when we arrived. Smoking and drinking of alcoholic beverages were not allowed.
The swimming area was enclosed by a net for safety. When I went in, the water level was about 5 feet deep. I was told that during summer, the water level is lower (about waist deep) and safe for children to swim.
We did not bring any food. So after an hour of swimming, we decided to head back to the resort.
Tan-Luc Snorkeling Site
Back on the mainland of Guimaras, we visited the Tan-Luc Snorkeling Site near the boat’s drop off point. Well, it was not the best time to go snorkeling because of habagat but I had a good dip nonetheless.
I enjoyed my stay in Nature’s Eye Beach Resort. It was a good three days and two nights of communing with nature, disconnecting from the stressful urban life and reconnecting to my core. I would love to be back though in summer to visit other places of interest in Guimaras such as:
Ava Maria Islet
Tatlong Pulo Beach
Villa Igang Beach
Buho Ramirez Cave
Thanks to Ms. Rowena Amancio, Cai Dominguez and the whole staff of Nature’s Eye Beach Resort for welcoming me like family. See you soon and keep in touch.
We have got only one life. Never stop exploring the world one island at a time. Signing out for now. Peace!
Carabao Island (or Hambil), officially known as the Municipality of San Jose, is the southernmost island of the province of Romblon. It sits right smack in between the islands of Tablas, Romblon and Boracay, Aklan.
Carabao Island has a lot of potential in becoming one of the best islands in the country. Its sheer beauty, i.e. clear waters and amazing landscape, is enough to capture one’s fancy. Carabao Island is a mere 20-minute boat ride from one of the most sought after resort islands in the world, Boracay, which happens to be closed for tourism as it undergoes rehabilitation. Hence, to those who have already booked their flights prior to the government’s announcement of Boracay’s closure last April 26, 2018, Carabao Island might just be a good alternative. While Boracay is closed, Carabao has got your back!
I had the opportunity to explore Carabao Island when I tagged along with fellow travel blogger Cai Dominguez of Travelosyo.com. From Manila, I arrived at 1335H via Air Asia in Caticlan Airport. Outside Caticlan Airport, I met Cai who traveled all the way by bus from Iloilo to Caticlan and Kuya (big brother) Yolly Loquinto of Lanas Beach Resort by Oceans 11.
From Caticlan Airport, we rode a tricycle to Sambiray Port in Malay, Aklan. After paying the environmental fee of Php 50, we boarded a small boat to bring us to a bigger boat that would take us to Carabao Island. Total boat fare was Php 100 per head. There are two daily boat trips from Caticlan to Carabao Island. The first one is at 9 AM. We took the 3 PM trip. Return trip to Caticlan is at 6 AM. Quite honestly, I did not know much about Carabao Island. I would hear about it though from boatmen in Boracay as part of their island hopping tours.
The 45-minute boat ride to Carabao Island was smooth despite the gloomy weather. I must say though that I was a bit disappointed because I won’t be able to fly my drone as much as I initially planned because of the strong habagat or south wind.
Upon arrival at Said Port, I could not help but be amazed by how alive the waters of this island was. It was crystal clear. From the wharf, I could readily see a number of starfishes darting the shore.
Lanas Beach Resort by Oceans 11 is situated on the western side of the island. Hence, from Said Port, we had to ride a habal-habal or motorcycle that took us through the poblacion or town of San Jose. It was a twenty-minute-or-so ride on a narrow and winding path. The habal-habal fare ranges from Php 150 to 200 with luggage. The locals discourage tourists from renting habal-habal without drivers to avoid any untoward incidents because the roads are not as paved. Even Kuya Yolly, admittedly, still finds them challenging.
On the way to Lanas Beach Resort by Oceans 11, Carabao Island reminded me so much of the virginal Boracay of the late 90’s before commercialization set in. The green lush, pristine waters, fresh sea breeze and the “innocence” of the island took me to a trip down memory lane.
To date, Lanas Beach Resort by Oceans 11 tops the list of resorts in Carabao Island. They offer warm accommodations and the best of home-made organically grown meals. They can also arrange a land tour for in-house guests to visit the amazing spots on the island.
Lanas Beach Resort by Oceans 11 has 5 suites and 2 apartments (rates below are inclusive of VAT):
Villa Sol Suite, top floor, for 2, Php 2800 per night or Php 3584 per night with breakfast
Villa Sol Suite, ground floor, for 4, Php 2800 per night or Php 4368 per night with breakfast
Light House Suite (ground or upper), for 2, Php 3360 per night or Php 4144 per night with breakfast
Villa Bo Apartment, top floor, for 2, Php 3920 per night or Php 4704 per night with breakfast
Villa Bo Apartment, ground floor, for 6, Php 3360 per night or Php 5712 per night with breakfast
Below are some of the photos that I took of the Villa Sol Suite and Villa Bo Apartment.
Villa Sol Suite (Ground Floor)
Villa Bo Apartment (Top Floor)
We stayed in the the Light House Ground Floor Suite. It has a veranda that opens up to the sea. It is the best place to have a drink or two while watching the sunset.
Light House Suites
With windows all over, the Light House Suite on the upper floor to me is the best suite in the resort. Imagine waking up to the beautiful sight of the ocean while cuddling up with your significant other.
Complimentary water and toiletries are provided upon check-in.
All accommodations have air-conditioning. Cooking is discouraged in the rooms but may be discussed with the resort management if necessary. Pets are allowed as long as the guests abide by the House Rules.
Be ready to embrace the island life when in Lanas Beach Resort by Oceans 11:
No electricity from 6 AM to 2 PM
No WIFI but there is a strong mobile internet signal by Globe to upload your photos on Instagram
Lanas Beach Resort by Oceans 11 also offers the following resort services to make your stay as fun, convenient and relaxing as ever:
Small Boat for 6 persons: Php 3500
Medium Boat for 16 persons: Php 7500
Big Boat for 20 persons: Php 8000
Speed Boat for 3 hours: Php 8500
Land Tours: Php 1000 for the whole day, includes visits to
Bat Cave (Mireton)
Cathedral (cliff diving)
Kuding-kuding (sea cave and cliff diving)
Poblacion (San Jose)
Boracay View Point
Massage Service: starts at Php 500
Laundry: Php 60 per kilo
What I liked best about my stay in Lanas Beach Resort by Oceans 11 was their affordable gourmet food. The Resort Manager happens to be the Executive Chef, too. Chef James Altas made sure that our dining experience was memorable.
They have a fixed menu but they also serve “Catch of the Day” meals like the one that we had during our first dinner in the resort: Seafood Laksa and Sea Urchin Omelette. Being a sweet-tooth myself, I celebrated eating their Turon a la Mode for dessert. Mind you, the ice cream topping was home-made.
Chef James also generously showed us how to cook Chicken Binakol. Chicken Binakol is chicken stew (similar to Tinola) cooked in coconut water instead of water. I got this on video and will publish a vlog soon. Stay tuned!
Both in-house and walk-in guests may enjoy the gourmet offerings of Lanas Beach Resort Restaurant, located just steps away from the white sand beach of Lanas. It has a seating capacity of up to 30 people.
For more information, visit their website here or follow their Facebook page here.
For bookings, call +63-32-4164021 or +63908-1363319 or email email@example.com.
I believe that Carabao Island is not just a good Boracay-alternative but will be one popular island destination soon. I cannot wait to be back in Lanas Beach Resort by Oceans 11 and explore the island. I only got to visit a few of the tourist spots last time and was not able to do cliff diving because of the inclement weather.