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

Book here now.

Be an Air Asia BIG Member and enjoy these perks:

  • Redeem trips to over 130 AirAsia destinations
  • Save up to 90% on AirAsia flights
  • Receive exclusive offers and free gifts

Sign up here:

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.

ESCAPE TO THE BEST RESORT IN GUIMARAS | NATURE’S EYE BEACH RESORT

Taklong Island National Marine Reserve, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras
Taklong Island National Marine Reserve, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras

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.

Oil Spill 2 (Nueva Valencia, Guimaras).jpg
The Taklong Island National Marine Reserve was severely damaged after the the M/T Solar oil tanker sank off the Guimaras Strait, Philippines, on 11 August 2006. Photo By Shubert CienciaFlickr: Oil Spill (Nueva Valencia, Guimaras), CC BY 2.0, Link

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.

Ceres Bus Terminal near Caticlan Jetty Port in Aklan
Ceres Bus Terminal near Caticlan Jetty Port in Aklan

Click here to read about my visit to Carabao Island, Romblon.

On board a Ceres Bus from Caticlan, Aklan to Iloilo City
On board a Ceres Bus from Caticlan, Aklan to Iloilo City, Iloilo

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.

Ceres Bus Terminal in Kalibo, Aklan
Ceres Bus Terminal in Kalibo, Aklan

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

Guimaras-Iloilo Ferry Terminal
Guimaras-Iloilo Ferry Terminal

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.

Guimaras-Iloilo Ferry Terminal
Guimaras-Iloilo Ferry Terminal

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.

Boat docked at the Jordan Guimaras Jetty Port
Boat docked at the Jordan Guimaras Jetty Port

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.

Path to Nature's Eye Resort
The path to Nature’s Eye Beach Resort.

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.

Ficus Tree in Nature'se Eye Beach Resort
One of the Ficus Trees that abound in Nature’s Eye Beach Resort.

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.

Natures Eye Resort Reception.jpg

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
    • Fan
    • Native bathroom with sunset and ocean view
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    • 3 hours of island adventure
  • Sunset Cottage for two, 2 days and 1 night, Php 2115 per head, rate includes:
    • Queen size bed
    • Fan
    • Native bathroom with sunset and ocean view
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    • 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
    • Fan
    • Private bathroom
    • Balcony with sunset and ocean view
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    • 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
    • Fan
    • Private Bathroom
    • Balcony with sunset and ocean view
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    • 3 hours of island adventure

House Rules

  • 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.
Nature's Eye Beach Resort House Rules
Nature’s Eye Beach Resort House Rules

How To Book

For bookings, visit Nature’s Eye Beach Resort’s Facebook Page here or call +63-907-7579055.

PSX_20180818_162748.jpg

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.

Cliff Top Cottage, Nature's Eye Beach Resort, Guimaras
Cliff Top Cottage, Nature’s Eye Beach Resort, Guimaras

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…

  1. Two drone batteries
  2. Drone remote control
  3. Two laptops
  4. Three mobile phones
  5. Gimbal
  6. Action camera
  7. Two DSLR batteries
  8. Power bank

PSX_20180818_163219.jpg

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.

Cliff Top Cottage Veranda, Nature's Eye Beach Resort, Guimaras
Cliff Top Cottage Veranda, Nature’s Eye Beach Resort, Guimaras

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.

PSX_20180814_100912.jpg

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.

Native Bathroom

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.

Taking a shower in the Native Bathroom of Natures Eye Beach Resort Guimaras

After doing my morning rituals, I got a text message from Cai to proceed to the dining area for breakfast.

Nature's Eye Beach Resort Breakfast
Nature’s Eye Beach Resort 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.

Natures Eye Beach Resort Path
Natures Eye Beach Resort Path

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.

Natures Eye Resort View from the Dining Area
Natures Eye Resort View from the Dining Area

Sunset Cottage

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.

Sunset in Natures Eye Beach Resort
Sunset in Natures Eye Beach Resort

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.”

Sunset Cottage Natures Eye Beach Resort Guimaras 2
Me attempting to fly my drone in windy Guimaras
A hermit crab in Nature's Eye Beach Resort
Be ready to see lots of hermit crabs patrolling the grounds of Nature’s Eye Beach Resort.

Island Adventure

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.

PSX_20180906_171759.jpg

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.

Three hours of island adventure is included in the room rates of Nature's Eye Beach Resort
Three hours of island adventure is included in the room rates of Nature’s Eye Beach Resort

 

Taklong Island National Marine Reserve

After braving the strong waves of the open sea, we sailed through mangroves where the clear water was still.

PSX_20180906_195806.jpg

Taklong Island National Marine Reserve Nueva Valencia Guimaras
The Taklong Island National Marine Reserve in Nueva Valencia, Guimaras, composed of 46 islands and islets, is home to various species of birds, marine creatures and other animals. The mangrove is 53 hectares.

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.

Plastic bottles floating within the Taklong Island National Marine Reserve, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras
Plastic bottles floating within the Taklong Island National Marine Reserve, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras

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.

Taklong Island National Marine Reserve Office, Guimaras
Taklong Island National Marine Reserve Office, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras

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.

Taklong Island National Marine Reserve, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras
Taklong Island National Marine Reserve, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras
Taklong Island National Marine Reserve, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras
Taklong Island National Marine Reserve, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras

 

Floating Cottage

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.

Floating Cottage Sandbar, Taklong Island National Marine Reserve, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras
Floating Cottage Sandbar, Taklong Island National Marine Reserve, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras

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.

Floating Cottage, Taklong Island National Marine Reserve, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras
The swimming area was enclosed by a net for safety. 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.

Selfie with the women manning the Floating Cottage
Selfie with the women manning the Floating Cottage Sandbar, Taklong Island National Marine Reserve, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras

 

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.

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Guimaras #natureseyeresort #guimaras

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Below are their rates:

  • Entrance fee is only P20 (adults); P10 (18 & below)
  • Snorkeling Gears Rental P10 per hour for locals; P50 per hour for individuals from outside the barangay
  • Life Jackets P20 per hour
  • Paddle boat P100 per hour
  • Patrol Boat P450 for the first hour; P150 for every hour succeeding

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Well, it was not the best time to go snorkeling because of Habagat (Southwind). I had a good dip nonetheless. I'm coming back next summer when the water is less disturbed. They say it is crystal clear. But it's already nice as it is. When in Guimaras, visit Tan-Luc Snorkeling Site. It is just a 5-to-10-minute walk from Nature's Eye Resort. ➡️Entrance fee is only P20 (adults); P10 (18 & below) ➡️Snorkeling Gears Rental P10 per hour for locals; P50 per hour for individuals from outside the barangay ➡️Life Jackets P20 per hour ➡️Paddle boat P100 per hour ➡️Patrol Boat P450 for the first hour; P150 for every hour succeeding Will post some more photos on my Facebook Page and website. Don't be a stranger. Follow me. You might learn something new. #natureseyeresort #guimaras #itsmorefuninthephilippines #travelbloggers #travelblogger #travelblog #travelph #travelphotography #travelphotos #pinoywanderer #wanderer #wanderlust #globetrotter #asianwanderlust #Philippines #likesforlikes #followsforfollows #digitalnomads #diginomads #pinasmuna #online #content #creator #island #likeforlike #followforfollow

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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:

  • Guisi Lighthouse
  • Ava Maria Islet
  • Guisi Beach
  • Tatlong Pulo Beach
  • Balaan Bukid
  • Roca Encantada
  • Turtle Island
  • Villa Igang Beach
  • Buho Ramirez Cave
  • Sad-Sad Falls

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.

Selfie with Ms. Rowena Amancio, owner of Nature's Eye Beach Resort in Guimaras.
Selfie with Ms. Rowena Amancio, owner of Nature’s Eye Beach Resort in Guimaras.

We have got only one life. Never stop exploring the world one island at a time. Signing out for now. Peace!

 

ROAMING ROOMIES EXPLORE SIARGAO, SURFING CAPITAL OF THE PHILIPPINES

WATCH and let me take you to some of the amazing spots in #SIARGAO #RoamingRoomies #dronescapades.

It was a short last minute summer getaway. I intended it to be a #solotravel to Siargao. Coincidentally,  my best buddy Jeff, who I have known more than half of my life and is now based in Paris, also flew all the way to Siargao for a quick visit. The last time I met him was more than a decade ago. Without any travel itineraries and pre-booked tours, we rented our own bikes and explored the island.
The places of interests that we visited were Cloud 9 in General Luna, Taktak Falls in Santa Monica, Magpupungko Rock Pools in Pilar, Naked Island and Daco Island in just 3.5 days. Because it was just a short visit, I was not able to visit other places like Guyam Island, Corregidor Island, Sugba Lagoon and a lot more. I plan to go back soon, perhaps, after the rainy season.

This blog will be updated soon for the back story, some travel guides, photos and tips.

I hope you enjoy watching this short video and do subscribe for more travel videos. Signing out for now. Peace!

 

GARV’S BOUTIQUE HOTEL | AFFORDABLE DECENT NO-FRILLS ACCOMMODATION

Are you looking for a hotel for your short stay in Metro Manila? Are you looking for a decent, clean and affordable hotel that is near Makati or Ortigas Business District? You might want to check out GARV’S Boutique Hotel along Boni Avenue in Mandaluyong City.

GARV'S Boutique Hotel is located along Boni Avenue in Mandaluyong City
GARV’S Boutique Hotel is located along Boni Avenue in Mandaluyong City

GARV’S Boutique Hotel is located in front of the Mandaluyong Medical Center.

GARV'S Boutique Hotel is located in front of the Mandaluyong Medical Center.
GARV’S Boutique Hotel is located in front of the Mandaluyong Medical Center.

GARV’S Boutique Hotel offers no-frills accommodation that is perfect for your short business trips to Metro Manila. It is also great for backpackers who are looking for halfway stay during their stopover in Metro Manila before heading to their final destinations.

GARV’S Boutique Hotel has a modern industrial minimalist design. The combination of white and gray with a touch of green gives a tranquil and simple yet sophisticated atmosphere.

 

Garv's Boutique Hotel offers no frills accommodation at reasonable prices.
Garv’s Boutique Hotel offers no-frills accommodation at reasonable prices.

GARV’S Boutique Hotel has twelve (12) rooms. Below are their room rates:

GARV'S Boutique Hotel Room Rates
GARV’S Boutique Hotel Room Rates

A promo rate of Php 1,199 nett per night for a Deluxe Standard Room is ongoing until April 30, 2018. For bookings, call +632-637-8839 or email garvsboutiquehotel@gmail.com. They also have a Facebook Page and an Instagram account.

I stayed in a Deluxe Standard Room with a queen size bed. The room smelled clean. Air conditioning was great. The sheets and towels were fresh. The toilet was spotless and a Guest Kit was provided compliments of the hotel.

GARV'S Boutique Hotel Guest Kit
GARV’S Boutique Hotel Guest Kit contains a small bar of soap, a sachet of shampoo and conditioner, a tube of toothpaste and a toothbrush.

In case you need extra, you can purchase one for Php 50.00 or you can visit Watsons Health and Beauty Store which is right next to Chowking.

Me blogging while watching a Filipino movie airing on ABS CBN TV Plus
Me blogging while watching a Filipino movie airing on ABS CBN TV Plus

The room has free wifi, a landline and a flat TV with ABS CBN TV Plus. Also, I got to fly my drone on the roof deck which to me is perfect for small gatherings.

Garvs Roofdeck 6
Me flying my drone on GARV’S Boutique Hotel’s roof deck

Below is a short video clip that I prepared and posted on my Facebook Page featuring GARV’S Boutique Hotel.

To watch in high definition, view the Youtube post below:

The hotel does not have room service and a cafe. However, there are nearby restaurants to choose from.

  • Chowking- Chinese/ Filipino Fast Food, open 24 hours
  • Jollibee- Fast Food with Filipino Flavors, open from 6 AM to 11 PM
  • Greenwich- Pizza Restaurant, open from 7 AM to 10 PM
  • R&J Bulalohan- Filipino Restaurant, open 24 hours
  • Nerry’s Grill- Restaurant, open from 12 AM to 11:30 PM
  • Cusina Negrense- Filipino Restaurant, open from 11AM to 11PM
  • Jelly Belly’s Restaurant- open from 8 AM to 12 AM
Chowking, open 24 hours, is located across GARV's Boutique Hotel
Chowking, open 24 hours, is located across GARV’s Boutique Hotel

Or, you can ride a public utility jeepney to Forum Robinsons Mall located at No. 30 EDSA corner Pioneer St., Mandaluyong City, open daily from 10 AM to 9 PM. Fare is Php 8.00.

GARV'S Boutique Hotel has accommodating and attentive staff
GARV’S Boutique Hotel has accommodating and attentive staff

Moreover, GARV’S Boutique Hotel also offers dorm accommodation for long-staying guests at Php 2,500 per person per month.

 

By the way, there is a spa on the ground floor. I did not get to try it but will do on my next staycation at GARV’S Boutique Hotel.

Banahaw Heals Spa
Banahaw Heals Spa is located on the ground floor, next to the Reception Area, of the GARV’S Boutique Hotel (Photo taken from Banahaw Heals Spa- Boni Avenue Facebook Page)

So the next time you visit Metro Manila, try GARV’S Boutique Hotel. Signing out for now. Peace!

 

SERIOUSLY? 3-NIGHT STAY IN JAKARTA AT ZENROOMS SCBD FOR LESS THAN P2000!

After booking a budget ticket to Jakarta via Air Asia, I thought that the next best thing to do was to book a hotel that would be easy on the pocket as well. I was going to Jakarta to attend two meetings. The venue of the first meeting was located at the client’s office in South Jakarta. I opened Google maps and typed my client’s office address. After the location pin showed up, I typed “hotels nearby”. A number of hotels showed up in an instant with their corresponding room rates per night. I was easily intrigued by the room rates of ZEN Rooms SCBD at P 553.49 per night.

Wow! What a bargain! I clicked their icon and was directed to their website. At those budget-friendly rates, they offer the following amenities:

  • 20 Sq m Room
  • 24-hour Front Desk
  • Common Kitchen
  • Flat Screen TV
  • Non Smoking Room
  • Parking
  • Smoking Room
  • Study Desk

Their online customer service was also very helpful. I chatted with Dayne and she was accommodating with my inquiries. I did not book my stay immediately because I was a little bit wary quite frankly. How can a hotel charge so low and be able to provide the amenities that they claim? So, I gave it a thought for a week. Well, honestly, I did not really have time to think about it since I was too busy. A week before my date of departure, I finally decided to take the risk and booked my stay at ZEN Rooms SCBD anyway. I mean, what was there to lose? I am not picky. I just needed a place to sleep in.

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Can you believe this? I only paid P 1,660.46 for a three-night stay in Jakarta, Indonesia!

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Upon arrival at the CGK or Soekarno–Hatta International Airport in Jakarta, I grabbed my mobile, clicked the GRAB icon, inputted ZEN Rooms SCBD and requested for a GRAB driver. I paid IDR 128,000 or PHP 486 for GRAB and IDR 35,000 or PHP 133.00 for toll fees.

 

 

Here is ZEN Rooms SCBD on Google Maps:

Jasmine Residence

Arriving at the hotel, it almost felt like I was coming home to my former apartment in Project 8, Quezon City. It was homey and I was welcomed by Echo, the receptionist aka caretaker. I received a ZEN Rooms Toiletries Bag containing a bottle of shampoo, bath gel, soap and a dental kit.

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The room was tidy and smelled clean. Of course, it was not a five-star hotel accommodation but it was decent and just right for my budget. It had good air-conditioning, LCD TV with basic cable channels, personal refrigerator, safety deposit box, closet and two bottles of complimentary mineral water.

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The room had a wall clock but no battery. LOL.

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ZEN Rooms SCBD Jakarta offers budget accommodation with good air-conditioning, LCD TV with basic cable channels, personal refrigerator, safety deposit box, closet and two bottles of complimentary mineral water.

Unfortunately, there was no hot shower. But who needs one anyway when in tropical Jakarta? There was also no adapter available. Good thing I brought my Air Asia Travel Adapter.

air asia travel adapter

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ZEN Rooms SCBD Jakarta offers  20 sq meter rooms with a Queen size bed and toilet and bath.

So if you are a smart traveler, you might want to choose ZEN Rooms in Jakarta, Indonesia.

ZEN Rooms operates in Southeast Asia’s top destinations offering quality and affordable accommodation. They have 5,000 rooms across 50 cities in 7 countries.

With ZEN Rooms, I was able to spend less on accommodation and got extra money to go around Jakarta and spend on good food.

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DISCOUNT COUPON CODE

By the way, I have a discount coupon code  that you can use valid until June 27, 2018. Just click here. Avail of $20 discount* at ZEN Rooms Hotels when you travel to Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Hong Kong.

*$50 Minimum booking value. 

Signing out for now. Peace!

Me on board a kapal finisi or traditional inter-island cargo ship off the coast of Sunda Kelapa Harbour, Jakarta, Indonesia
Me on board a kapal finisi or traditional inter-island cargo ship off the coast of Sunda Kelapa Harbour, Jakarta, Indonesia

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!

TRAVEL | ZOOBIC “NIGHT” SAFARI 2018

It’s Zooper Zummer once again and of course, we are launching the only theme park activity at night which received a nice raved from the patrons.

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Stay awake, hear your heartbeat pounding, blood in your veins rushing as the rising excitement heightened in the night’s summer breeze. Zoobic Safari brings back the much awaited “Night Safari”, packed with more thrill and excitement. Discover your braver side and tour around this exotic sanctuary at night, the first of its kind in the Philippines.

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Gear up your nocturnal senses and prepare for a series of roaring nights of fun in visiting Zoobic Safari’sclassic attractions, Serpentarium; a wild encounter with snakes, lizards and iguanas, Zoobic Park, a walk-through petting zoo, Tiger Safari, an enclosed safari jeep ride that will take you to the tigers’ natural habitat, Croco Loco, a crocodile lair where you will have a chance to feed them. Take a walk together with the greyhounds and follow the night trail in Greyhound Walk.. Enjoy a different and bolder show specially prepared for the night’s entertainment; expect an explosive presentation that will surely growl your mind away.

Zoobic Donkeys

Anticipate a wilder quest as Zoobic Safari offers you its latest feral attraction, the Lion Safari on a day adventure. Witness these ferocious Kings of the Jungle up close and more intimidating.

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RATES

Package 1: Entrance with 8 activities
Php 695 – Adult
Php 595 – Kids 4 ft and below, FREE – Kids 3 ft and below
Inclusions:

  • Night Safari Tour (Zoobic Park, Serpentarium, Zoobic Cave, Forbidden Cave, Tiger Safari Ride, Greyhound Walk, Croco Loco) for approximately 2 hours.
  • Zooper Tram
  • Night Safari Jungle Show

 

Package 2: Zoolit Booklet
Php 399 / Booklet
FREE – Kids 3 ft and below
Inclusions:

  • 6- 50% off entrance tickets
  • 6- Buy 1 take 1 entrance tickets
  • 2- 50% off hotel accommodation (Azotea in Makati, Tiara Hotel in Subic, Residence Inn Tagaytay)
  • 1- Free Zing Zipline ride (Residence Inn/ Paradizoo/ Zoocobia)
  • 1- Free Photo (Worth Php295)
  • 1- Free Zooc Ride (Zoocobia)
  • 1- 30% off discount (Restaurant)
  • 1- 40% off Souvenir shop

 

Package 3: ZOOBIC NIGHT SAFARI AT 30% OFF!
NIGHT SAFARI TOUR INCLUSIONS:

  • Zoobic Park
  • Serpentarium
  • Tiger Safari Ride
  • Croco Loco
  • Greyhound Walk
  • Forbidden Cave
  • Zoobic Cave
  • Enchanted Forest
  • Butaan Museum
  • Tram Ride
  • Night Safari Show
  • Children below 3 ft. is FREE!; 3 ft.- 4 ft is child rate; 4 ft. above is adult rate

Acceptance of guests starts at 5PM up to 8PM only. Night Safari show starts at 8PM.

Regular rates apply for walk in guests. To avail the 30% discount, buy your tickets online at https://www.zoomanitypayment.com/ticketing/reservation/tickets/zoobic-safari/night-safari-

Book online at Zoobic Safari’s official payment portal: www.zoomanitypayment.com
All Saturdays from Mar 3, 2018 to May 26, 2018.
Payment options:

  1. Over-the-counter payment at BDO
  2. Credit card
  3. ATM / Debit card
  4. PayPal

Experience the wild nights and see the other side of time of the animal kingdom.

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For inquiries contact 09778978877 or visit www.zoomanity.com.ph. TAG Media and Public Relations handles Zoomanity Group for Marketing, Branding, Public Relations, Events and Promotions.

The opinions, representations and statements made within this guest article are those of the author and not of  http://www.joelandrada.com as a whole. Any copyright remains with the author and any liability with regard to infringement of intellectual property rights remain with them. This blog site accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. Featured images were provided by client.

PAL INTERNATIONAL SEAT SALE EXTENDED UNTIL MARCH 18, 2018

Philippine Airlines’ 77th Anniversary Seat Sale is extended! Avail of up to 70% OFF on international destinations when you book from March 5 to 18, 2018 with free baggage allowance, free inflight meals and drinks.

Booking Period: March 5 to 18, 2018
International Travel Period: April 16 to December 31, 2018
Book HERE.
Book your tour package HERE.

Book online using your PNB-PAL Mabuhay Miles Mastercard to avail of an additional 5% discount on International Flights.

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PAL INTERNATIONAL SEAT SALE EXTENDED UNTIL MARCH 18, 2018
PAL INTERNATIONAL SEAT SALE EXTENDED UNTIL MARCH 18, 2018
PAL INTERNATIONAL SEAT SALE EXTENDED UNTIL MARCH 18, 2018
PAL INTERNATIONAL SEAT SALE EXTENDED UNTIL MARCH 18, 2018

Subscribe to this site and follow my Facebook Pages to stay updated with the latest on Travel and Lifestyle. Signing out for now. Peace!

PAL, CEBU PAC & AIR ASIA ONGOING SEAT SALES

What is up with all the airlines lately? The seats are on sale! What are you waiting for? Go! Just Go!

Philippine Airlines

Booking Period: March 5 to 11, 201
Domestic Travel Period: May 1, 2018 to January 29, 2019
International Travel Period: April 16 to December 31, 2018
Book HERE.

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Air Asia

Booking Period: March 5 to 11, 2018
Travel Period: September 3, 2018 to May 28, 2019
Book HERE.

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Cebu Pacific

Booking Period: March 8 to 9, 2018
Travel Period: November 1, 2018 to March 30, 2019 (except Siargao: December 16, 2018 to March 30, 2019)
Book HERE.

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Subscribe to this site and follow my Facebook Pages to stay updated with the latest on Travel and Lifestyle. Signing out for now. Peace!

OLIVIA’S THE COFFEE ESTATE

Are you looking for a place for that much awaited family outing, couple getaway or team building? Well, Olivia’s The Coffee Estate might be a good choice for you.

The Coffee Estate is a family-owned-and-operated townhouse located in Amadeo, Cavite, Philippines.
The Coffee Estate is a family-owned-and-operated townhouse located in Amadeo, Cavite, Philippines.

The Coffee Estate is located in the Coffee Capital of the Philippines, Amadeo, Cavite. Five minutes away from Tagaytay.

Amadeo, Cavite is the Coffee Capital of the Philippines.
Amadeo, Cavite is the Coffee Capital of the Philippines.

Here is what I like about The Coffee Estate:

  • Free freshly ground coffee
  • Five minutes away from Tagaytay
  • Family-owned-and-operated
  • Hospitable room accommodations
  • Cottages
  • Sumptuous affordable gourmet food
  • Relaxing wellness spa
  • Outdoor jacuzzi and swimming pool
  • Spacious activity area (2nd and 3rd floors)
  • Basketball court
  • Pasalubong center
  • Videoke (until 10 PM per city ordinance)
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Me enjoying the aroma of freshly ground coffee of Olivia’s Coffee

Below is a short video showcasing why I love Olivia’s The Coffee Estate and why I can not wait to be back with my family.

RESORT PACKAGES

The Coffee Estate offers the following packages:

Family Room- P 12,500.00

  • Check-in is at 2 PM and check-out is 12 noon the next day
  • Already includes entrance fees for twenty (20) persons
  • Includes two (2) Family Rooms. Each room has two (2) Queen Size beds and two (2) extra mattresses
  • Includes complimentary use of the terrace
Me enjoying the cool Tagaytay breeze at the Terrace of The Coffee Estate
Me enjoying the cool Tagaytay breeze at the Terrace of The Coffee Estate

Day Swimming- P 2,000.00

  • From 8 AM to 8 PM
  • Already includes entrance fees for ten (10) persons
Outdoor swimming pool and jacuzzi of The Coffee Estate
Outdoor swimming pool and jacuzzi of The Coffee Estate

Garden Room- P 2,500.00

  • Already includes entrance fees for two (2) persons

Should you wish to extend, extension fee is P 300 per hour. There is also an additional fee of P 150 per extra person.

If you prefer to bring your own food, you may do so. They offer complimentary use of gas stove, griller and refrigerator.

Olivia's Coffee Shop in Bucal, Amadeo, Cavite
Olivia’s Coffee Shop in Bucal, Amadeo, Cavite

However, I would recommend that you try their affordable gourmet food prepared by the Celebrity Chef himself, AJ Senido, no less.

Celebrity Chef AJ Senido
Celebrity Chef AJ Senido

Visiting Olivia’s Coffee Shop in Bucal, a stone’s throw away from The Coffee Estate, completed my coffee experience. I learned so much about coffee, its origin and its varieties. Thanks to Nathaniel Tolentino for generously sharing his expertise.

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Nathaniel Tolentino here discussing the varieties of coffee.

WELLNESS SPA (Available only on weekdays)

What I enjoyed the most during my stay in this cozy nook was their Wellness Spa. I got to relax in the pampering aroma and goodness of a full-body coffee scrub.

They have the following spa services:

  • Shiatsu Massage for one (1) hour- P 350.00
  • Swedish Massage for one (1) hour- P 300.00
  • Combination Massage for one (1) hour- P 500.00

Add-on’s: Ventosa- P 50.00; Stone- P 100.00

  • Body Scrub- P 600.00
  • Face Mask- P350.00

Or, you may get the Special Package for only P 1,350.00 which includes Combination Massage, Face Mask and Body Scrub.

PASALUBONG CENTER

Within the compound of The Coffee Estate is a Pasalubong Center where you can buy Olivia’s Coffee and other Filipino delicacies and snacks.

VENUE FOR EVENTS

The Coffee Estate is also a perfect venue for events like weddings, debuts and birthday parties. They have the following available packages so you can create lasting and beautiful memories with your loved ones:

Event Venue- P 25,000

  • Includes the garden and pool side as venues
  • Complimentary use of parking
  • Overnight stay  for the bride and groom
  • Complimentary use of the swimming pool for ten (10) persons

Venue with Aisle On Pool- P 50,000.00

  • Includes a wedding aisle in the middle of the pool
  • Includes the garden and pool side as venues
  • Complimentary use of parking
  • Overnight stay  for the bride and groom
  • Complimentary use of the swimming pool for ten (10) persons

Venue with Buffet- P 1,000 per head

  • Minimum of 100 guests
  • Buffet menu selection
  • Includes the garden and pool side as venues
  • Complimentary use of parking
  • Overnight stay for the bride and groom
  • Complimentary use of the swimming pool for ten (10) persons

Special Package- P 1,300 per head

  • Minimum of 100 guests
  • Includes a wedding aisle in the middle of the pool
  • Buffet menu selection
  • Includes the garden and pool side as venues
  • Complimentary use of parking
  • Wedding gifts for the Bride and Groom
  • A bottle of sparkling wine
  • Three-tier wedding cake
  • Wedding venue set-up including decorative cage and a pair of doves

HOW TO GET THERE:

I stayed at The Coffee Estate last February 24, 2018. I went with my fellow Travel Bloggers Karla and Rona. We met up in SM Light Mall in EDSA-Boni.

Along EDSA-Boni, we took the bus going to Dasmarinas. Bus fare was P58.00. You may opt to take the bus heading towards Trece Martirez or Indang.

After two hours of bus ride, we got off at McDonald’s Pala-Pala and rode a jeepney to take us to Manggahan. The jeepney fare was P10.00 per head.  We met up with the rest, Jerny, Franco and Thea, at KFC Manggahan, General Trias, Cavite  and rode The Coffee Estate’s van going to The Coffee Estate.

In case no van is picking you up, just look for a jeepney heading to Amadeo and tell the driver to drop you off at Olivia’s Coffee Shop in Bucal, Amadeo, Cavite. Enter the coffee shop and tell the restaurant staff that you are checking in. A ride will come pick you up. The ride to the resort will take no more than five minutes.

For bookings, call +63-925-6866363 or email olivias_coffee@yahoo.com. They also have a Facebook Page.

Me, Rona and Jerny enjoying our cups of freshly ground Olivia's Coffee at The Coffee Estate one fine morning
Me, Rona and Jerny enjoying our cups of freshly ground Olivia’s Coffee at The Coffee Estate one fine morning

Special shout out to Jomar Lansang for taking amazing photos during our stay. Here’s one:

Photography by Jomar Lansang of The Coffee Estate
Photography by Jomar Lansang of The Coffee Estate

Signing out for now. Peace!