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Interviewed by The Soul Explorer

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Last, April 2016, I received an interview request by Marco of The Soul Explorer for his "Travel Blogger of the Month" feature to be published on his blog. And I gladly answer the interview questions which I found interesting and useful so that readers and travel-seekers would know more something about me. 

Now, I'm sharing the interview published here in my travel blog, so my readers may also have know more about me as the writer behind Going Places.

******

Hello guys! Today’s blog post is our next travel blogger of the month. He has been traveling since he was 7 years old.  Yes! You read it right! His mother brought him in her various trips abroad and many places. And since then, he became a travel addict.

I am glad to introduce our blogger of the month is, drum roll please… Ian, the author of Going Places.

Below are the travel tips and travel experiences from Ian.

Q and A with Pinoy Travel Freak
1. What is your purpose of travelling?

My purpose is mainly to live out my life motto of “travel is an experience of a lifetime”. Travel is an opportunity not just to go places but also a good way to experience the best of life can offer. Travelling is a better way for me to learn the realities of life, discover the cultures surrounding us and how beautiful our country is - which by the way; it is indeed more fun in the Philippines!

2. Do you travel solo? Couple? Or in a group?
I always travel in group because it is always fun with others and travel moments are best shared when you traveled with friends and loved ones. I haven’t experience travelling solo yet.

3. How often do you travel?

In a year, at least 5 to 8 times but the concentration of my travels is during Summer since the weather in the country is good for local travel. Summertime coincides not just the start of my travelling season but also my birthday trips as my birth month falls on the first month Summer which is March.

I fall in love with Camiguin on my Birthday Trip 2015.
4. What would be the best destinations for a solo traveler, for a couple, for a group or with family and friends?
I haven’t experience solo travelling but I can recommend 5 best destinations for a couple, for a group or with family and friends which I have been to.

a) Thailand – It is best for both first –timers and groups because Thailand is cheap and affordable yet a country very rich in places to see, food to taste and culture to experience.

b) Camiguin – You will fall in love with this island province because it’s gorgeous sceneries and quiet atmosphere are romantic and at the same time fun and exciting.

c) Vietnam – There so many things to see and to experience in Vietnam especially when you go out of its capital city. It is also very cheap to travel around Vietnam. No need to be a big spender because if you have enough money you can entirely travel and explore the whole country in 2 weeks!

d) Zambales – The beautiful coves of Zambales which mainly caters to campers is a great way to bond with family, friends and loved ones as bonfire by night let’s you share activities that don’t need so much gadgets to be entertain. Plus sceneries of mountain ranges and beaches are superb backdrops!

e) Albay – Adventurous at heart will surely love all the outdoor activities of the province. But if you prefer a relaxing and calming activity, simply admiring the beauty of Mayon Volcano will surely do satisfy you.

Best day-off ever until now... My day-off trip to Anilao, Mabini, Batangas.
5. Give at least 5 travel tips to our readers.
a) Research the place that you are going to visit by reading travel blogs and asking queries to the person who actually travelled on the place you want to visit. Research will help you a lot in budgeting, accommodation, itineraries, timetables and sites that are must-see in the place.

b) Take a time off from social media and connection to your urban life. You wouldn’t be able to savor to the fullest the new place and the new experience that is being expose to you if you keep on tweeting and posting a shout and check-in just to be keep everyone updated and be on the hashtag ATM mode.

c) Stay safe in anything you do in travel. Be aware of accident prone areas and activities that might cause injuries. And don’t touch any marine animal or corals when snorkeling. Be aware of poisonous marine animals that seemed harmless like jellyfish, sea urchin, lionfish and stone fish.

d) Be aware of the time! Always keep in mind that time is very essential in every aspect of travel. From flights, bus schedules, days of stay, frequency of transportations, weather changes up to distances of one place to another, time always play a vital role in travel.

e) Always check the weather to the place that you are visiting on your target date of travel because bad weather definitely spoils your once in a lifetime trip.

6. What are your 3 memorable travel destinations and why? (please do share your best photos)
a) Bohol – Aside from being my first time in Bohol and experiencing its haven of natural beauty, this destination was my first ever birthday trip in which I actually travelled on my birth date.  I have never been so happy than doing my one great passion in life on your special day!  It was an experience I will never forget! My birthday trip to Bohol also started my yearly tradition of having a yearly birthday trip on my birthday day.

b) Beijing, China
– It was a dream destination to me ever since it was announced as the host of 2008 Summer Olympics. It is not just a historical trip but it also let me appreciate China, the Chinese people and its rich culture. It is also a trip wherein I carefully planned a very hands-on and do-it-yourself style of travel which I successfully pull-off. I was able to do DIY trip to the Great Wall of China with only the help of printed guides and travel blogs sans language barrier. But what also makes it memorable is that my trip to China was one of my travels that I really work hard for it to happen. Imagine, I spend two years saving money to fund my trip to China!

c) Anilao, Mabini, Batangas – This is one of the destinations that I truly enjoyed group travel with friends. When my friends at work happened to have a schedule of same day-off, we didn’t let pass the chance to have a great bonding time by having a “best day-off ever” in Anilao! It was fun and memorable because on this trip we get a chance to know things about each other and about ourselves as well. What makes this destination memorable the most is we get a chance to establish a long lasting friendship in our circle. This is one of my trips that I truly experienced, the travel thought – “As with any journey, who you travel with can be more important than your destination”

On my Birthday Trip 2012, I climbed the Great Wall of China!
7. Who is your ideal traveler? Why?
My mom, Gloria C. Poral. Why? Because she is the true viajera at heart in our family. Since, I was 7 years-old, she already brought me on her various trips abroad and she has been to many places before I get into travel world. She introduce to me to the travel world at a young age! I think this was the reason why I grew up as a travel addict! But I admire her most for having always a thirst for adventure and for discovering the world around her.

I also looked up to Chyng Reyes of No spam, no virus, no kiddin!. Her travel photos are superb and travel tips are helpful. But I also love the way she tells her travel stories which were fun, adventurous and entertaining.

To the owner of Going Places, it is my privilege to feature a travel blogger like you. And, for that, I'd like to thank you for giving me a chance to let me share your tips and experiences through this site.

******

Marco, its a pleasure to be feature on your travel blog. I also enjoyed reading the interview again and again. Guys, do follow him too! Marco has nice a nice travel blog too... Click - The Soul Explorer.


b) Beijing, China – It was a dream destination to me ever since it was announced as the host of 2008 Summer Olympics. It is not just a historical trip but it also let me appreciate China, the Chinese people and its rich culture. It is also a trip wherein I carefully planned a very hands-on and do-it-yourself style of travel which I successfully pull-off. I was able to do DIY trip to the Great Wall of China with only the help of printed guides and travel blogs sans language barrier. But what also makes it memorable is that my trip to China was one of my travels that I really work hard for it to happen. Imagine, I spend two years saving money to fund my trip to China!
c) Anilao, Mabini, Batangas – This is one of the destinations that I truly enjoyed group travel with friends. When my friends at work happened to have a schedule of same day-off, we didn’t let pass the chance to have a great bonding time by having a “best day-off ever” in Anilao! It was fun and memorable because on this trip we get a chance to know things about each other and about ourselves as well. What makes this destination memorable the most is we get a chance to establish a long lasting friendship in our circle. This is one of my trips that I truly experienced, the travel thought – “As with any journey, who you travel with can be more important than your destination”
7. Who is your ideal traveler? Why?
My mom, Gloria C. Poral. Why? Because she is the true viajera at heart in our family. Since, I was 7 years-old, she already brought me on her various trips abroad and she has been to many places before I get into travel world. She introduce to me to the travel world at a young age! I think this was the reason why I grow up as a travel addict! But I admire her most for having always a thirst for adventure and for discovering the world around her.
I also looked up to Chyng Reyes of No spam, no virus, no kiddin!. Her travel photos are superb and travel tips are helpful. But I also love the way she tells her travel stories which were fun, adventurous and entertaining. 

To the owner of Going Places, it is my privilege to feature a travel blogger like you. And, for that, I'd like to thank you for giving me a chance to let me share your tips and experiences through this site.
- See more at: http://www.marcosoulexplorer.com/#sthash.2NBibCT6.dpuf
b) Beijing, China – It was a dream destination to me ever since it was announced as the host of 2008 Summer Olympics. It is not just a historical trip but it also let me appreciate China, the Chinese people and its rich culture. It is also a trip wherein I carefully planned a very hands-on and do-it-yourself style of travel which I successfully pull-off. I was able to do DIY trip to the Great Wall of China with only the help of printed guides and travel blogs sans language barrier. But what also makes it memorable is that my trip to China was one of my travels that I really work hard for it to happen. Imagine, I spend two years saving money to fund my trip to China!
c) Anilao, Mabini, Batangas – This is one of the destinations that I truly enjoyed group travel with friends. When my friends at work happened to have a schedule of same day-off, we didn’t let pass the chance to have a great bonding time by having a “best day-off ever” in Anilao! It was fun and memorable because on this trip we get a chance to know things about each other and about ourselves as well. What makes this destination memorable the most is we get a chance to establish a long lasting friendship in our circle. This is one of my trips that I truly experienced, the travel thought – “As with any journey, who you travel with can be more important than your destination”
7. Who is your ideal traveler? Why?
My mom, Gloria C. Poral. Why? Because she is the true viajera at heart in our family. Since, I was 7 years-old, she already brought me on her various trips abroad and she has been to many places before I get into travel world. She introduce to me to the travel world at a young age! I think this was the reason why I grow up as a travel addict! But I admire her most for having always a thirst for adventure and for discovering the world around her.
I also looked up to Chyng Reyes of No spam, no virus, no kiddin!. Her travel photos are superb and travel tips are helpful. But I also love the way she tells her travel stories which were fun, adventurous and entertaining. 

To the owner of Going Places, it is my privilege to feature a travel blogger like you. And, for that, I'd like to thank you for giving me a chance to let me share your tips and experiences through this site.
- See more at: http://www.marcosoulexplorer.com/#sthash.2NBibCT6.dpuf
b) Beijing, China – It was a dream destination to me ever since it was announced as the host of 2008 Summer Olympics. It is not just a historical trip but it also let me appreciate China, the Chinese people and its rich culture. It is also a trip wherein I carefully planned a very hands-on and do-it-yourself style of travel which I successfully pull-off. I was able to do DIY trip to the Great Wall of China with only the help of printed guides and travel blogs sans language barrier. But what also makes it memorable is that my trip to China was one of my travels that I really work hard for it to happen. Imagine, I spend two years saving money to fund my trip to China!
c) Anilao, Mabini, Batangas – This is one of the destinations that I truly enjoyed group travel with friends. When my friends at work happened to have a schedule of same day-off, we didn’t let pass the chance to have a great bonding time by having a “best day-off ever” in Anilao! It was fun and memorable because on this trip we get a chance to know things about each other and about ourselves as well. What makes this destination memorable the most is we get a chance to establish a long lasting friendship in our circle. This is one of my trips that I truly experienced, the travel thought – “As with any journey, who you travel with can be more important than your destination”
7. Who is your ideal traveler? Why?
My mom, Gloria C. Poral. Why? Because she is the true viajera at heart in our family. Since, I was 7 years-old, she already brought me on her various trips abroad and she has been to many places before I get into travel world. She introduce to me to the travel world at a young age! I think this was the reason why I grow up as a travel addict! But I admire her most for having always a thirst for adventure and for discovering the world around her.
I also looked up to Chyng Reyes of No spam, no virus, no kiddin!. Her travel photos are superb and travel tips are helpful. But I also love the way she tells her travel stories which were fun, adventurous and entertaining. 

To the owner of Going Places, it is my privilege to feature a travel blogger like you. And, for that, I'd like to thank you for giving me a chance to let me share your tips and experiences through this site.
- See more at: http://www.marcosoulexplorer.com/#sthash.2NBibCT6.dpuf
c) Vietnam – There so many things to see and to experience in Vietnam especially when you go out of its capital city. It is also very cheap to travel around Vietnam. No need to be a big spender because if you have enough money you can entirely travel and explore the whole country in 2 weeks!
d) Zambales – The beautiful coves of Zambales which mainly caters to campers is a great way to bond with family, friends and loved ones as bonfire by night let’s you share activities that don’t need so much gadgets to be entertain. Plus sceneries of mountain ranges and beaches are superb backdrops!
e) Albay – Adventurous at heart will surely love all the outdoor activities of the province. But if you prefer a relaxing and calming activity, simply admiring the beauty of Mayon Volcano will surely do satisfy you. 
5. Give at least 5 travel tips to our readers. 
a) Research the place that you are going to visit by reading travel blogs and asking queries to the person who actually travelled on the place you want to visit. Research will help you a lot in budgeting, accommodation, itineraries, timetables and sites that are must-see in the place.
b) Take a time off from social media and connection to your urban life. You wouldn’t be able to savor to the fullest the new place and the new experience that is being expose to you if you keep on tweeting and posting a shout and check-in just to be keep everyone updated and be on the hashtag ATM mode.
c) Stay safe in anything you do in travel. Be aware of accident prone areas and activities that might cause injuries. And don’t touch any marine animal or corals when snorkeling. Be aware of poisonous marine animals that seemed harmless like jellyfish, sea urchin, lionfish and stone fish.
d) Be aware of the time! Always keep in mind that time is very essential in every aspect of travel. From flights, bus schedules, days of stay, frequency of transportations, weather changes up to distances of one place to another, time always play a vital role in travel.
e) Always check the weather to the place that you are visiting on your target date of travel because bad weather definitely spoils your once in a lifetime trip.
6. What are your 3 memorable travel destinations and why? (please do share your best photos)
a) Bohol – Aside from being my first time in Bohol and experiencing its haven of natural beauty, this destination was my first ever birthday trip in which I actually travelled on my birth date.  I have never been so happy than doing my one great passion in life on your special day!  It was an experience I will never forget! My birthday trip to Bohol also started my yearly tradition of having a yearly birthday trip on my birthday day.
- See more at: http://www.marcosoulexplorer.com/#sthash.2NBibCT6.dpuf


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Fall in Love with Camiguin

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Who wouldn’t fall in love with the island born of fire? Pristine white sand beaches with majestic mountain backdrop… Marvelous beauty of nature from waterfalls to hot springs… Quiet, simple and laidback atmosphere of the island…  Camiguin’s fiery beauty will surely capture your heart!

Camiguin is one of the best kept paradise of Northern Mindanao. It is an island province of volcanic origin hence it is called “Island Born of Fire” and is situated off-coast of Balingoan Port of Misamis Oriental province. The port is the jump point to the province via an hour RORO vessel sea travel from the port. If you’re coming from capitol Manila, you must fly 1 hour and 30 minutes via plane to Cagayan de Oro then ride a shuttle to the city proper then travel to Agora Bus Terminal where buses with Butuan signboard will have a mandatory stop to Balingoan (pronounced as “Balingwan”) Bus Terminal. Bus travel is 2 hours to the bus terminal. The port is just a 5 minute walk on the street across the terminal which can also be reached via motorela (tricycle) if you are tired of walking and has baggage with you. 

Camiguin's gorgeous postcard-perfect view at Sunken Cemetery. 
I choose Camiguin not just as my next Summer 2015 destination but also as my birthday trip destination of 2015. And I’m glad to spend my birthday trip here since I heard so much good things about Camiguin as a travel destination! This trip wouldn’t be possible if not for Mr. Teddy Pabualan’s (www.pabualancottages-camiguin.blogspot.com/) tour services to the island. He offers complete tour and accommodation packages in Camiguin. His staff was early when we arrive in Benoni Port of Camiguin and right after fetching us, we started our island tour of Camiguin.

Approaching the "Island Born of Fire"
Welcome to Camiguin at Benoni Port.
My infatuation with Camiguin started in our destination in the island, the stunning Katibawasan Falls of Mambajao municipality. The falls is 250 feet tall cascading on a refreshing pool and cold water surrounded by ferns and shrubs. The waterfall is also surrounded by tall trees and green forests which makes it a stunning sight from various viewpoints of the place. Be careful on those mini ravines facing the viewpoints. What were distinctly charming to Katibawasan Falls are its thin cascades of water from the water source which seems to be nearing to be drought but on a closer look, the water has a very strong falling current enough to crash weak stones on its way. The falls is surrounded by picnic tables and benches maintained by the local government. It also has a clean toilet and bathroom in case you swam in the waterfalls’ pool.

We headed next to Catarman to see Walkway to the Old Volcano and Stations of the Cross. The sight is basically an old hill top mountain where in each slope there is a Station of the Cross scene depicted by statues. Hiking will be a challenge for couch potatoes if you want to finish the whole station of the cross but reaching the top is being on the top of a dormant volcano, hence it called Old Volcano. The site is very popular during Lenten Week. Almost right across this site is Guiob Church Ruins which is a 16th century church in Catarman destroyed when the Mt. Vulcan (the Old Volcano) erupted in 1871. All that is left in the church is the ruins which serves as a reminder how catastrophic was a volcanic eruption.

Fall in love with Katibawasan Falls.
The hot summer afternoon makes us long for a refreshing dip. So when we arrived in Sto. Nino Cold Springs, we weren’t able to resist its spring waters and swam into it to cool down our senses. The cold spring has really cold waters from natural spring that refreshes your weary body especially coming from a long hour of travel. I told my travel mates not to spend to long in Sto. Nino Cold Springs as there still other springs that we will visit in island tour of Camiguin. Unfortunately, Bura Soda Water Spring Pool which was famous for its distinct soda taste-like water is closed for maintenance that day. 

I personally asked to skip Sunken Cemetery as the next itinerary because it is better viewed by sunset.
The 2nd stop of around the island tour of Camiguin.
The ruins of Guiob Church with my best travel buddies!
Take a dip at Sto.Nino Cold Springs.
So we proceed to our next destination which is probably the famous landmark of Camiguin island. Catarman’s Sunken Cemetery is the iconic landmark of Camiguin due to its prominent huge cross that sits above a sunken cemetery that sink below sea level during the birth of a volcano. During this volcanic birth of Mt. Vulcan in 1871, some parts of Bonbon town subsided to the sea in which one of it was the now sunken cemetery of the town. The huge cross was placed in 1982 to commemorate the event and site of the sunken cemetery. Visitors can rent a boat to reach the huge cross to take a closer look at it. Today, Sunken Cemetery is not just an iconic landmark of the island but also a great snorkeling site in which a rich coral reef and marine life has grown to through the years.

The site faces the vast ocean view which was a perfect place during our visit as it was timely for sunset. It was my first time in that place to witness Camiguin Sunset! The shadowed huge cross of the Sunken Cemetery adds drama to the beauty of the sunset that was truly an astonishing moment to witness. I was totally in awe with Camiguin Sunset! And I think that was the point where I fall in love with Camiguin!

Camiguin Sunset at the Sunken Cemetery.  This is famous landmark of the "Island Born of Fire", called because of its volcanic origin.
The beauty of Camiguin will stay with me forever.
With our weary bodies and aching joints from a whole day of travel, we need a refreshing dip again. And it was timely for our next destination, the Ardent Hibok-Hibok Spring Resort located at the foot of Hibok-Hibok Volcano in Mambajao municipality. The spring resort is a hot spring of fresh sulfuric flowing water with pools of various degrees of heat to enjoy.  The 33 degree pool is enjoyable enough but the 40 degree pool is a challenge. The resort has complete facilities of rooms, cottages, restrooms and showers for visitor’s amenities to stay. But the best thing in experiencing Ardent Hibok-Hibok Spring Resort was the sulfuric water’s therapeutic effect. A dip there has definitely soothed and relieved my body pain from a whole day of travel!

A whole day of travel deserves a whole evening of hot spring dipping!
The trio takes a dip at Ardent Hibok-Hibok Spring Resort.
Sumpteous meal and big servings at Rocky's Resto, Mambajao, Camiguin.
Camiguin Sunrise.
 The following morning, we started as early as 5 am to experience sunrise viewing at the famed island destination of Camiguin; the beautiful White Island. It is a 5 minute banca (boat) ride from the shores of Mambajao. We arrived in the island just in time for the marvelous Camiguin Sunrise. But as the sunrise unfolds, comes also one of the most stunning views from White Island – the imposing view of Mount Hibok-hibok and Mount Vulcan in the backdrop of main island Camiguin. I was stunned by this marvelous scenery that I only experience in Camiguin!

In Panorama: Fall in Love with Camiguin from White Island.
Unforgettable Camiguin scenery from White Island.
Play in White Island.
Fall in love with Camiguin!
White Island is definitely the place to be every Summer!
The trio takes Camiguin.
Let your Summer have a story in Camiguin...
White Island is actually an uninhabited sandbar offshore of Mambajao. This 1.4 kilometer sandbar is said to be horseshoe shaped but the tides constantly resizes and reshapes its exact form. I wandered around with my travel buddies to explore the rest of the sandbar. We found a good spot to photo opt and a good spot for snorkeling. I saw a lionfish, colorful fishes and a sea slug! While some opted to do sun bathing in its kilometer wide white sand space, I opted to swim again and again in its cyan-colored waters! There are no trees or shades in the island as it is composed solely of white sands so it is best to visit it in the morning. I bet you’ll get fried and toasted if you visit it at noon!

Breakfast at Pabualan Cottages. Danggit na pusit completed the breakfast!
Teddy Pabualan's mini-jeep is our service throughout the island.
Last day in Camiguin!
Goodbye Camiguin...
But the imposing scenery of Camiguin island with the back-drop of Mount Hibok-hibok and Mount Vulcan from White Island is arresting and enthralling sight. I fall in love in Camiguin again. Awe in the beautiful sight of volcanoes, we have to return to the shore to eat breakfast and blow my blow my birthday cake to celebrate my birthday in Camiguin. I bought danggit na pusit (sun-dried squids) for pasalubong because it made my satisfying breakfast that day. And don’t forget to bring home the famous Vjandep’s pastel (buns with filling that originated from Camiguin) and lazones (fruit that is widely grown in the island) – the best and original pasalubong from Camiguin! With a heavy heart from infatuation with the island, we then leave Benoni Port and bid goodbye to the volcanic island. The “Island Born of Fire” surely captured my fiery heart. Its alluring beauty will stay with me forever.


---------------------------------------------------------------
*How reach Camiguin
From Laguindingan Airport arrival exit, look for LAX Shuttle booth. Fare to Cagayan de Oro proper is 150PHP per head. Head right away to shuttle booth as LAX Shuttle easily gets filled up and waiting for the next shuttle will have to be filled by the next flight and will consume your travel time to Camiguin. Shuttle has designated drop-off and to be drop-off at Agora Bus Terminal. Travel time is 1 hour. 
At Agora Bus Terminal ride a bus or van that passes or stops at Balingoan Bus Terminal. Balingoan is pronounced as Balingwan. Avoid the non-aircon bus which has many stops. Fare is 150PHP per person and travel time is 2.5 to 3 hours. At Balingoan Bus Terminal, cross the street and walk towards the port. If have many luggages, motorela is availabe to ride to the port. At Balingoan Port, ride a RORO vessel to Camiguin's Benoni Port. Travel time is 1 hour and fare is 180PHP per person and does not include the terminal fee.
Upon returning to Cagayan de Oro, follow the same process. If you have a stop at Cagayan de Oro, LAX Shuttle Terminal is in Centrio Mall's Capt.V. Roa Entrance. Fare is 199PHP per person and travel time is almost 2 hours. 
LAX Shuttle Contact No: 0917-7101529 and 0925-8100529
Facebook Page: LAX Shuttle FB Page

*Teddy Pabualan's Camiguin Tour Services
Contact no: 0917-5219391(Globe)/0939-2440521 (Smart)
Email: teddypabualan@gmail.com
Website: www.pabualancottages-camiguin.blogspot.com/

*Fees in Camiguin (as of March 2015)
Around the island tour of Camiguin exclude entrance fees to its destination, here are the following entrance fees to the stops: 
Katibawasan Falls – 20PHP
Old Volcano and Stations of the Cross – 5PHP
Guiob Church Ruins – no fee
Sto. Nino Cold Springs – 25PHP
Sunken Cemetery – no fee but boating to get to the huge cross has a fee.
Ardent Hibok-Hibok Spring Resort – 35PHP

Fall in Love with Camiguin is 3rd of my Summer 2015 travel trip and 1st of my Birthday Trip 2015 that happened last March 16-18, 2015. I would like to thank Ca of Adventurous Feet and Chyng Reyes of No Spam, no virus, no kiddin! for serving as my travel guide blog in traveling to Camiguin.  


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Epic Summer in Boracay

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When its travel season in the Philippines, it is definitely during Summer! And if you’re looking for an epic summer vacation, no place can give it to you than Boracay! So when I have a chance to visit this party island of Aklan on my summer travels, I gave it a go.

This is my second return to Boracay Island since 2008 – a return after 6 years! And much has been change to the island since my first visit six years ago. But first, let me share how I got to travel on this popular travel destination again for the second time. It was actually not part of travels for the summer of 2014, as I look for other destinations in the country that I haven’t into yet. But some of the good friends at work suddenly made a planned vacation there by summertime. I wasn’t able to resist to say no to it even I have planned destinations (and funds matter for it) already because the travel mates I will be having on this summer trip were some of the best travel buddies I had. So I say a green light to it on April even knowing that in between March, I have two trips and May, two trips again, Whew! Goodluck to my wallet!

The most beautiful moment of the day in Boracay.

I believe in every trip to be memorable, you have to try something new. My travel to Boracay, this time is uniquely memorable because this was one of the trips I had where I had to use all modes of major transportation – bus, ship and airplane! Going to Boracay Island for the second time, I tried RORO (roll-on roll-off ship) from Batangas Port to Caticlan Port of Aklan province. But before going to Batangas, I have to ride a 3 hour bus trip from Pasay to Batangas then RORO vessel for 9 hours to Caticlan Port. Then transfer to a small boat going to the island for 7-10 minutes. On my return to Manila, I fly via airplane from Kalibo Airport. Now, that’s what you call travel on all transportation!

It’s my first time to travel via RORO vessel on long sea trip! And I found it exciting and great travel experience. I always travel via planes on my travels and this experience on RORO was a welcome one. I recommend you to try this once in a while as travel via RORO lets you savor the time that fly fast when you are in the metro. 2GO Travel is one of the most prominent ship companies in the country and they have frequent scheduled trips to Caticlan from Batangas. I scored a good one-way ticket online of 2GO Travel with free meals so I became more eager to try it. But if you’re coming from the metro, say Pasay, you have to rode a 3 hour bus trip to Batangas with a signboard Batangas Port which stops exactly inside the port area. I recommend JAC Liner bus company and their terminal is beside Buendia LRT Station, Pasay City. But if you are after saving a lot of time in visiting Boracay, then I recommend you not try this itinerary of mine since airplane is the fastest way to go there while, RORO travels for 9 hours going to Aklan.

Lobby area of the ship with cushioned seats and benches for passengers to stay lounging with their free WIFI.
Travel Class bunks on 2GO Travel.
First time on 2GO Travel!
My first RORO experience was a pleasant one. Maybe, because I’m not a seasick person. There was no delay and it departed on-time. The sea vessel is clean, well-maintained and staffs are friendly. It was different to what I presumed a ship travel would be. The vessel also has a wide lobby area with wide cushioned seats for passengers to lounge around while using the free wi-fi onboard. Yes, free wi-fi onboard for you to shout status of travel and post travel selfies. They have an information desk at the center of the lobby with approachable staffs that is willing to help you for any assistance you may need. My ticket is Touris Class which leads me to the economy class of bunk beds with aircon cabin of 2GO Travel. In this cabin, we are joined together with other Tourist Class passengers. There’s a private cabin called Cabin for 4 which is suitable for family and friends as it has private restroom, electrical socket and television. And there’s Super Value Class fit for budget travelers. The most fun and memorable part of boarding RORO is when it undocks from the port, Island Fiesta Grill’s performers (2GO onboard bar) starts to sing live club songs that entices you to rock party with them while welcoming every passengers to the ship and inviting everyone to jam to the party!  Now that’s party, party onboard! 2GO Travel’s schedule to Caticlan is very convenient as it departs in the evening and arrives dawn at Caticlan, Aklan.

Stunning lights of Batangas Port upon dock pushback.
Party-party onboard at Island Fieta Grill Bar!
My friends already arranged our accommodation prior coming to the island at Carmela de Boracay Resort Hotel – one of the premier accommodations in Boracay. As they said, it was the the Boracay resort of the celebrities, nah, we didn’t get their pricey accommodation rates but we availed their Summer Barkada promo at that time with free breakfast so we didn’t spend a lot for an “alta” resort! The resort boasts that “celebrity resort” status because most of local Filipino celebrities choose to stay in the resort for their island vacation in Aklan. And Carmela de Boracay has a habit of taking photos of those celebrities who stayed at their resort and post it in their public bulletin wall. You can see it near their reception area.

Aklan at dawn...
The busy Caticlan Jetty Port at 5:30 in the morning.
Not so pleasant view of our room at Carmela de Boracay.
Carmela de Boracay provides shuttle services with free from – Port to the resort and vice-versa. The resort was suitably located at the center of Station 2 of White Beach of the island which is the “life” center of Boracay. Our “Barkada Room” is good for group of six people but you can actually sneak-in at least two more persons because of the spacious room and beds of the room. There’s a veranda but unfortunately it doesn’t have a great view as the room faces the construction site property of the resort – not a good view to have morning meditation or evening relaxation. Good thing we had a free buffet breakfast with our room package so we won’t have a problem taking breakfast but their food selection is so-so. Few walks from left or right side of the resort facing the White Beach (the world reknown beach of Boracay) are restaurants, bars, cafes and souvenir shops that caters all foods and things that every tourist will enjoy in Boracay. I certainly felt the ”celebrity status” while staying at Carmela de Boracay Resort Hotel but if budget constraints matters for a Boracay travel, I would choose to other nearby affordable rates resort hotel as I’m not much into grand resorts in travel.

My first glimpse of one of the world's famous beach - White Beach.
Memories of Summer 2014!
 White Beach, probably one of the world’s popular beaches because of the island fame of Boracay has a long kilometer stretch of pure powdered white sand that it comprises Station 1, 2 and 3. Station 2 where all the island activities are centered from day to night. The sands of Boracay remains the same since my last visit in 2009 but I only get to appreciate it wholly on my last day in the island as immediately me and my travelmates, did our first and the most traditional activity in Boracay – Island hopping! For only 1,500, Kuya Jhun (0920-2129592), provided us a 10 seating capacity banca for round-the-island tour of Boracay. Our first stop is Magic Island, where picturesque landscapes and rock formations dotting its shores makes it an ideal summer photoshoot. But at the back of the island is a cliff jumping activity which will surely satisfy visitors’ craving for adventure and adrenaline fun. The cliff jump platform has two levels – one is a 3 floor jump and the higher one is a 5 floor jump. My friends tried it but me I’m not into that kind of adventure. We only pass by the next island which is the Crocodile Island. It is named after its shape – a crocodile that looks like floating in the sea.

In Panorama: The world famous White Beach of Boracay.
We had rough ride of the waves as we circle the tip of the island. Waves were quite big and violent that it lead to pray silently at the back of my mind. I was relief that after 20 minutes the waves stopped as we approach our last destination for island hopping. It was another famed beach of the island – Puka Beach but it is more untouched, pristine, quiet and serene. Puka Beach is said to be what is White Beach twenty years ago. So imagine, how truly paradise it was!

Island hopping at Boracay!
Summer 2014 in Aklan!
The waters are so inviting that I had a nice swim and water play with my friends. From afar, the silhouette of Carabao Island (part of Romblon province) can be seen in which I read that it has the beach comparable and can rival Boracay but is still undeveloped. Then like kids, we also played in the sands of Puka until I witness Boracay Sunset. It was one of the most beautiful sunsets that I’ve seen on my travels! It was the second time I’ve seen Boracay Sunset and it still doesn’t change the perception I had on it – a perfect photo with a caption of “The beauty of the Philippines”. Boracay Sunset is stunning and gorgeous beauty still doesn’t change. It still never fails to amaze me that I even tried to hold it in my hands!

I enjoyed Puka Beach mainly because it is not crowded, cleaner and atmosphere here is more in touch with the nature. You can also visit this beach from White Beach by hailing a tricycle and haggle for a price that tricycle will agree to wait for you to go back to White Beach. It was already past 6 in the evening when we returned to Station 3 where our island hopping started.

Choose where to jump at Magic Island.
Are you ready for the jump of your life?
Carabao Island of Rombon from Puka Beach!
Must-see, must-swim and must-play - Puka Beach.
The night is young and when the night falls in Boracay, that means party has just started in party island! Nightlife is very famous in Boracay not only because of surge bars like mushrooms on the beach strip of the island but also because most visitors foreign and local are urban dwellers bringing with them the culture of nightlife from urban cities. Bars are also modernized to rival bars from the metro that visitors are looking for yet still has a family-friendly atmosphere and toned down wildness compare to bars in the city. I and my friends spend a nightlife party in one of the posh bars in the island, Epic Bar. It is one of the hottest place to go for night life in Boracay. You have to reserve early as Epic Bar easily gets packed and crowded from island partygoers. Epic Bar’s ambiance is set towards in a classier lounge style with sofas and couches rather than crazy party zone standing bar but still expect a dancing fever all night in its dancefloor where hottest club music is played by its DJs.

Playing in the sands of Puka.
Holding the sun.
Boracay Sunset at Puka Beach.
I enjoyed my stay in Epic Bar! It was my first taste of the so-called “nightlife” in Boracay. I never experience nightlife in the during my 2009 visit since I was with my family. But with partygoer friends now on this trip, I enjoyed the dancing all night in Boracay with cheers of Rhum Cola and Gin Tonic!

Party, party all night!
Nightlife in Boracay should be... EPIC!
The following morning we availed a package to Happy Dreamland Theme Park which included rountrip transportation to the theme park (it is 20 minutes away from Station 2), ATV Ride, Trick Art Museum, Bird Farm Interaction and Sky Cycle Ride. It was my first time to do an ATV Ride! I suddenly became nervous when my friends challenged me to drive it solo since most of them will drive a solo ride though you can have a duo. I don’t have a formal driving lesson so I silently panic in my mind. The ushers of the ATV Ride quickly taught how to do it – the acceleration, break, etc. I find it easy and I’m up for the challenge so I did a solo drive. I was so slow at first but once you get used to it, you will find how easily fun to drive it. We were guided in one-line lane drive and I was very careful as the 1 hour drive course is on a public road area that leads to a drive up to a hill top view with ravine drop road sides. After finishing the course ride, I wasn’t just relieved but felt accomplished with my drive of an ATV!

We then went to Trick Art Museum which I enjoyed some of the best and funny art painting galleries that gave comic fantasies and illusions to the visitors like as if you are part of the art. There’s also Bird Farm where you can have closer interaction to birds pet by the theme park like Brahminy Kite eagle and owl. Then my travel mates tried the Sky Cycle ride, a theme park ride which lets you do a bicycle ride on the 40 feet tall guided cable wires. I didn’t try it but my friends told me that it was nauseating up there. We returned to Station 2 of the island just in time for sunset. It was my second and last time to view Boracay Sunset as this was my last night in the island. It is still perfectly stunning. This time, I get to enjoy the famous and pure powdery white sands of White Beach while enjoying the beautiful Boracay Sunset. The parked paraw (double outrigger sailboat native to Visayas region) by the shores made a dramatic look at the seascape of Boracay. A lot of visitors too, savored the most beautiful moment of the day in Boracay by staying on the beach. We’re happy to meet Russian ladies by the beach as they are also enjoying their last day in Boracay. Like us, they are just few of the thousands visitors who appreciates the beauty of Boracay.     

First time to drive ATV.
Getting a K.O. from Pacman at Trick Art Museum.
Smoking by the beach is strictly prohibited in the island. One of my friends is who is about to lit a cigarette, was reprimanded by environmental tanod or security. The reason was ashes pollute the beach. Law is not just implemented but it is also monitored if being followed. It is a praised to the local government of the island for enforcing an environmental-related law. It only shows your commitment in preserving the beauty of the place and the environment. Kudos! Maybe next is prohibition of littering the sands and the beach.

Waiting for sunset at White Beach, Station 2.
Boracay Sunset, the second time around.
For the last night life in Boracay, we went bar hopping at Guilly’s Island and Club Paraw at Station 1. Guilly’s Island is packed by local and foreigners hanging out for a Bora nightlife. They have cool songs played by their resident DJs for party-goers to enjoy. The middle bar tables makes it an ideal place to attract, meet and drink, of course! Outside Guilly’s Island are hang out area of trans so be careful to what they offer. Then, we hopped next to Club Paraw. It is also one of the best nightlife spots on the island! Their in-house DJ supplies load of updated music club remixes that keep the party going. There a lot of foreigner here than locals during my visit. Their wide dance floor in the middle is enough for me to join the rave dances, gyrating hips and beat of the sounds. And I think my glass of Blue Moon added enough alcohol to my mind to keep the party mood going!

Last day in Boracay feels like the most relaxing day to enjoy White Beach to the fullest. My friends had an earlier flight so they left the island already, and I was left with one of my travel mate. We still have a lot time before our afternoon flight so we savor our last hours of stay in Boracay by strolling at White Beach. And while strolling to one of the world’s famous beach, I found a new food to crave in Boracay – Big J’s Sausages, a shore side food stall at Station 2 that serves giant sausage sandwiches. It will surely fill your hungry stomach with their big sausage serving! I explore the long stretch of White Beach. The palm trees strongly gives a tropical and summer vibe while I saw again sand castles of Boracay where having a souvenir photo with cost a fee. The there are the various activities by the shore like paraw sailing, parasailing and banana boat ride. I failed to see again on this visit the famous landmark of Willy’s Rock (a tidal island or islet with a Virgin Mary grotto at the top of the rock) at Station 1. But my most favorite last day musing at White Beach is just sit by the shore, relax and enjoy the view.

Paraw by the seashore.
Meet my new Russian friends... Spasiba!
 When it’s time to go home, we tried the commute and backpacker style going out of the island. We hire a tricycle from Station 2’s main roadside to Cagban Port. Travel time is 15 minutes. Then we rode a ferry to Caticlan Jetty Port for 7 minutes. By the exit of the port, you’ll see the public vans that will transport you directly to Kalibo Airport.

Be careful in buying advance combine ferry ticket and van transportation at Cagban Port which happened to us. The van that you are going to ride is the not public van that is near the exit of Caticlan Jetty Port. Instead, those vans are separate terminal (maybe owned by different operator) but located just across the street of Caticlan Jetty Port and it will wait for passengers that will do the same combine ticket in Cagban Port. In our case, almost an hour has passed and no one approach the van after us who availed the same combine ticket. The van will wait until passengers are full for it to run. We have a flight to catch and time is running. Plus Kalibo Airport is 2-3 hours land travel from Caticlan. So we decided to let us transfer to other van that will leave immediately because we don’t want to be leave by the plane. We were able to transfer but the van’s travel time was just enough for check-in counter close when we arrived at Kalibo Airport.  And we’re just lucky for their extension of closing time since the flight is delay! Whew! I will never to that again. I felt relieved when our boarding passes was issued and proceed to the gate to wait for our flight.

Last day in Boracay.
The famous sand castle.
My newest food cravings in Bora - Big J's Sausages.
First time on Air Asia - not so pleasant flight experience.
It’s my first time flying with Air Asia. Seats are heavily cramped on legroom. I can’t move my knees due to its cramped legroom; add to that I am a tall person. And it is so hot inside the cabin! My gosh! I perspired so much that I feel like I’m still at the shores of Boracay because there was no air-conditioned! The crew apologized for the hot atmosphere as they will turn the aircon on when it’s already cabin door close. Every traveler should know that flying with low-cost carriers has disadvantages when it comes to amenities and getting low fares. It was an unpleasant experience to me. But the flight was smooth and safe from departure until we arrive to Manila. What an epic adventure of my return to Boracay! It was an epic summer story to share to those who don’t just misses Boracay but also to those longing for an epic summer travel.


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*How to reach Boracay via 2GO Travel (RORO vessel)
Purchase advance ticket online via 2GO Travel website. Route is Batangas Port - Caticlan/Boracay. Ride a southbound bus JAC Liner or any Bantangas-bound bus with signboard Batangas Pier which last bus stop is directly at Batangas Port. Travel time is 2-3 hours from Pasay-Buendia Bus Terminal.  Look for 2GO Travel Terminal and check-in. Travel time to Caticlan is 9-10 hours. Upon arrival in Caticlan Jetty Port, exit and proceed to the front to pay for the Cagban Port-bound ferry. Fee is includes environmental fee, terminal fee and fare itself. Caticlan Jetty Port to Cagban Port of Malay, Aklan is 7-10 minutes travel. From Cagban Port, you can either fetch by your accommodation arranged transportation or ride a tricycle to your selected accomodation in the island.

*How to reach Kalibo Airport from Caticlan Jetty Port.
From Cagban Port, ride a ferry boat to Caticlan Jetty Port. Travel time is 7-10 minutes. At the exit, left side is the van terminal to Kalibo Airport. Caution on purchasing a tag-along one-ticket Cagban Port and Van to Kalibo ticket as time constraint may affect your flight to Manila. Van travel time is 3 hours. 

Epic Summer in Boracay is 3rd of my Summer 2014 travel trip that happened last April 20-23, 2014. This is my 2nd visit to the province of Aklan and to Boracay after 6 years. To read my first adventure to Boracay, read I love Boracay.


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