Bohol Travel Guide: Places to Visit in Bohol, Philippines (Countryside Tour)

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For my birthday trip this year, I finally decided to visit the beautiful Island of Bohol. I’ve been eyeing to visit this island for quite sometime and I am truly happy that I was able to catch a discounted ticket during Cebu Pacific’s promo fare. Bohol is the 10th largest island of the Philippines located in Central Visayas across the province of Cebu. For this trip, I spent a total of 4 days and 3 nights in Bohol and a 2 days and 1 night side trip to Cebu since it’s just a 2 hour boat ride from Tagbilaran. Let me show you the beauty of Bohol that will make you want to visit anytime soon.

Knowing Bohol

Since childhood, I would always see Bohol in our Sibika’t Kultura books, as its very own Chocolate Hills and Tarsiers are two of the most known attraction in the Philippines. Since it’s printed in our grade school books, I bet that almost every Filipino child knows about it. That’s when I started to wish of visiting it someday. Bohol is a dream island, you can see beautiful landscapes and heritage churches on its main island and at the same time, you can visit and dive in its pristine beaches in the nearby Panglao Island. Read this blog or see it yourself when you visit the island province, to know why it’s being dubbed as the “Jewel of the Philippines”. A place that will bring you bliss and happiness.

Countryside tour

Countryside tour is a tour that visits Bohol’s main attractions on its main island. From Tagbilaran up to Carmen, you’ll find yourself in awe visiting its known sites. This tour usually takes 6-8 hours depending on how you wish to complete your itinerary. For this trip, how much I wanted to make it a DIY/commute trip, we opted to book a tricycle/tuktuk tour for our country side trip for a less hassle trip. There are bus trips in the province but it will be hard for you to visit many attractions in 1 day. Don’t worry as many people offers affordable tour packages once you arrived in the island. You can choose from SUVs or tricycle, depends on what your group needs.

In our case, we book our tuktuk tour in Panglao Tricycle Online Booking. (Just click the link to visit their fb page) Here’s how much their countryside tour costs:

  • Tricycle/Tuktuk – Php 1,600
  • Car – Php 2,500
  • SUV – Php 2,800

Additional cost will be added if you wish to visit Mirror of the World in Sikatuna:

  • Tricycle – 300
  • Car – Php 500

They also offer Panglao tour and island-hopping tours.

*note that prices may change without prior notice

Just in case you were not able to book a tour in advance, don’t worry as there’s a lot of people offering tours once you arrived in the province. All tricycle drivers we talked and ride with, offers tour packages just look for the best deals and what fits for you.

Places to Visit in Bohol (Countryside Tour):

  • Chocolate Hills ATV Rental

First on my list are the ATV rentals around Chocolate Hills as this was one of my favorite activity during this trip. There are few ATV rental place in Carmen, Bohol that offers guided tour using ATV or Buggy car. On this experience, you’ll get a chance to ride an ATV or a Buggy up until the foot of a chocolate hill and even climb on one of its view deck. It’s such an experience to see the hill up close and ride through a bumpy road.

ATV costs us Php 1000/pax for an hour of ride. Buggy car on the other hand costs Php 2000/2 pax for 1 hour

  • Chocolate Hills

After riding an ATV going into the foot of the chocolate hills, of course you can’t miss the chance of seeing this iconic Bohol destination from its observation view deck. Chocolate Hills are geological formation in the province of Bohol composed of as many as 1,776 hills roll out on its vast area of 50 square kilometer. Hills are covered with green grass during the wet season and turns brown during dry season resembling chocolates as its name suggests.

Entrance fee is Php 100/pax

  • Bilar Man-made Forest

Bilar Man-made forest is a 2 kilometer stretch of Mahogany trees along the road between the towns of Bilar and Loboc. These trees were planted as part of a reforestation project in the province many years ago. It’s refreshing to the eyes to see these green trees standing side by side along the road and you’ll also feel the sudden change in temperature once entering this 2 kilometer stretch as the road is merely covered from the heat of the sun. it’s a popular stop over among tourists and requires caution in taking photos along its road as vehicles pass through from time to time.

No entrance fee

  • Tarsier Conservation Area

What’s a Bohol trip without seeing the tarsiers? Of course, you have to see them up close! It was my first time seeing this primate with my bare eyes that I only saw them when I used to browse my Sibika’t Kultura books way back grade school. The name “tarsier” was taken from its extremely long tarsus bone. They are considered as the world’s second smallest primate but feared to be endangered as their numbers are declining, that’s why it is being protected here in our country. Tarsier Conservation area is a woodland where few tarsiers are available for viewing. Please be reminded that tarsiers tend to be suicidal when they get stressed out so if you are inside the conservatory, please observe silence and take off the flash of your cameras when taking photos.

Entrance fee is Php 100/pax for regular adult, Php 90 for students, Php 80 for senior citizens and free of charge for 5 years old and below

  • Loboc River Cruise

Another personal favorite adventure on this trip is experiencing the Loboc River Cruise. Basically, you’ll be roving around the Loboc river while riding a huge floating restaurant while enjoying their buffet. You’ll definitely enjoy their good local food while being serenaded by their in-house singer as you float around the majestic jade green colored river and be mesmerized by its allure. Towards the end of the river, the vast boat will stop by a performance area where you’ll be welcomed and entertained by the local community with their sing and dance performance. It’s so engaging that they will allow guests to join them on their festivity of dance. Honestly, I really enjoyed their performance and you can see how talented the Boholanos are. It’s such a unique encounter that I’ll definitely recommend to everyone not to miss out.

Entrance fee is Php 850/pax (this already includes the buffet meal)

  • Xzootic Animal Park

Located in Agape, Loay, Bohol is this animal park that showcases a butterfly garden and python snakes. Probably the highlight of this place is their pythons that happens to be the biggest I seen my entire life. What surprised me the most is that these pythons were just all over the place without a cage! I even thought they were just a display structure then eventually realized they were real. You are free to touch them and you’ll literally just passed by the snakes. You’ll be accompanied by a guide which is already included in your entrance fee. As per him, the snakes in this park are all harmless as they took care of them ever since but I still didn’t dare to touch them or even came near them as I have fear of snakes.

Entrance fee is Php 100/pax

  • Baclayon Church

Baclayon Church is one of the oldest and known church in the country declared as National Cultural Treasure and National Historic Landmark. It was initially constructed year 1717 and completed in the year 1727 made of coral stones and egg white. It came to the limelight when it was hugely devasted by a strong earthquake that hit Central Visayas way back 2013 and was then restored and finally opened to the public again last 2018.

Entrance fee is free

  • Sikatuna Mirror of the World

Sikatuna Mirror of the World is one of the newest attraction that can be found in Bohol. Located in Sikatuna, Bohol you’ll get a chance to see the world’s famous landmarks in one place! No need for a passport, visa, plane tickets and immigration approval. You’ll see here scaled-down forms of world’s attractions such as Merlion of Singapore, Golden gate bridge of USA, Christ the Redeemer of Brazil, Eiffel Tower of France, Leaning tower of Pisa and many more! It’s an optional trip that requires additional fee during the tour. Since we are already in Bohol, we opt to avail this additional itinerary just for the experience of seeing it.

Entrance fee is Php 150/pax

  • Aproniana Gift Shop

A souvenir shop located in Baclayon, Bohol considered to be a one stop shop of Bohol’s known pasalubongs. From t-shirts, bags, keychains, ref magnets and Bohol’s famous delicacies such as peanut kisses and kalamay. Don’t forget to buy souvenirs for your friends, loved ones and even for yourself.

Other places you can visit during countryside tour are Blood Compact, Ship House and Loboc Zipline. You may customized your tour by skipping other attractions you’re not interested with or if your time won’t permit.

Overall, Bohol is such a paradise with its unusual attractions that one would truly admire. This countryside tour is definitely something that should be added on your travel bucket list.

Rocky Mountain Adventure Unlimited: Over the Moon Viewing of La Trinidad, Benguet

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La Trinidad, Benguet is just not about its Strawberry Farms anymore. If you read my previous blog, I featured Mt. Kalugong which I consider as my favorite spot to fall in love with the beauty of La Trinidad. With my recent trip to Baguio, we discovered a new attraction in La Trinidad called Rocky Mountain Adventure. Its main attraction is a big crescent moon with the overlooking view of La Trinidad as a backdrop. Saan ka punta? To the moon! Tara let’s G!

How to go there?

Ride a jeepney bound to La Trinidad/Dangwa/Tomay located across the city hall. Fare is Php 17 and tell the driver to drop you off in Kalugong Road in Brgy. Cruz. From the jump off, you have to walk the very steep Kalugong Road before reaching the Rocky Mountain Adventure registration area.

Rocky Mountain Adventure Unlimited

Trekking may take around 20-30 minutes from the jump off of Kalugong Road depending on your pace. Upon reaching the end of the road, you’ll see three signages, one for each attraction found on the area. One for Mt. Kalugong Cultural Village, one for Tayawan View Deck and one for Rocky Mountain Adventure. Take the path to the right that will lead you to the registration of Rocky Mountain Adventure.

Kalugong Road
Pathwalk leading to the viewdeck

Entrance fee is Php 100 each and you may proceed to the pathway that will lead to its viewdecks. The trail is organized but can still be muddy during the rainy days. It will take you few minutes of descent and ascent before reaching its main attraction, the crescent moon.

Once you see this signage at the end of Kalugong Rd., take the path to the right that will lead to the registration of Rocky Mountain Adventure

The park opens everyday at 7:00 AM and closes at 6:00 PM. We were lucky that we were able to have the place all by ourselves so we were able to take as much photos as we can without waiting for our turns. They also have an available fishing rod that you could use as a prop for your photos imitating the DreamWorks logo.

They also have a store that sells drinks and foods if you want to grab some snacks while being mesmerized by the beauty of La Trinidad right in front of you. A good vantage point to see the strawberry farms and local households of La Trinidad. They also have rock formations in the park wherein 2-12 years old are not allowed to climb while 13-16 years old needs to be supervised by adults. For park’s further announcements and availability, you may visit their official FB page here.

If you’re already on the area, I would suggest also if you could visit Mt. Kalugong Cultural Village located just right across the park. Here’s a detailed blog about Mt. Kalugong if you wish to visit it.

Binondo Food Crawl: Places to Buy and Eat Food in World’s Oldest Chinatown

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We can’t deny the fact how much Chinese influenced our country when it comes to food up until this day that even pancit and shanghai are now staple food in every Filipino celebration. These influences can still be clearly seen in every corner of Binondo which is a district in Manila considered to be the oldest Chinatown in the world. It is a food haven for every certified foodies out there who wants to try out authentic Chinese foods. Personally, I love visiting Binondo once in a while, aside from getting all those savory xiao long bao and hakaw, I love the vibe I am getting once I stepped foot on Binondo’s ground. It feels like walking on another nation, it’s such a carrying out feeling to experience and see how Chinese influenced our country. I would always tell that Binondo is such a beautiful chaos. So here’s a list of places to eat and buy foods in Binondo!

  • Café Mezzanine

Cafe Mezzanine

It is located in the second floor of the building at the corner of 650 Ongpin St. just above the other famous fast food Chuan Kee (don’t be confused as many people thought that the two food hubs are the same). It is known to be the “Volunteer Fireman’s Coffee Shop” as the revenues of this restaurant are being donated to Binondo Paco Volunteer Fire Search and Rescue Brigade. They are famous for serving Soup #5 but my personal favorite would be their xiao long bao.

Pork asado with egg
Chinese sausage omelette
Xiao long bao
  • Yingying Tea House

An iconic chinese restaurant located at Yuchengco St., Binondo. For few times that I’ve been to Binondo and pass through their location, I’ll always see a queue outside of this restaurant which I think a good indication how famous it is for people around the area and even tourists. You might get overwhelmed with their menu as they serve a wide variation of Chinese foods from dim sums to hotpot. Personal favorite would be their hakaw and yellow mango shake. The place is usually jam-packed and busy so better be prepared for a waiting time.

Lechon kawali asado rice
Roast duck rice
Hakao
  • Shanghai Fried Siopao

This place sells the famous chinese treat, fried siopao, found along the busy street of Ongpin in Binondo. The place is so famous that we had to fall in line for at least 30 minutes just to buy one. You can be sure that their treats are freshly cooked as you can see how those dumplings are being prepared just right in front of you. Siopaos are served hot, the fillings are too tasteful and you can get it in an affordable price.

  • Eng Bee Tin

A Chinese deli chain based in Binondo, Manila. The company got big since its establishment in the year 1912 that they have a lot of branches now around Manila and nearby provinces. They are famous for their hopias with varieties of flavor, tikoy and mooncakes. A perfect place to buy pasalubongs for your loved ones. My personal favorite would be their ube hopia and ube custard hopia. They also serve milk teas in some of their bigger branches.

Ube latte milk tea
  • Mr. Ube

This rice and noodle house is owned also by Eng Bee Tin so you would see and buy all Eng Bee Tin products in all of its branches. The difference with this store is that they sell meals such as rice meals, different kinds of stir fried noodles and noodle soups.

  • Lord Stow’s Egg Tart

Located in 707 Ongpin St., Binondo just right before the Chinatown Welcome Arch. The best egg tart I ever tasted so far! Their tarts are freshly made everyday. This pastry with flaky outer cover and a creamy custard filling will definitely melts in your mouth. Unquestionably, a must-try!

  • Tasty Dumplings

Another restaurant to visit when craving to eat dumplings located at Norberto Ty St., Binondo. Aside from their dumplings, the place is also known for serving pork chop rice which is said to be their best-seller. Their porkchops are one of the biggest serving I’ve ever seen, sliced slenderly and covered with a chinese style flavor coating fried until it gets crispy.

Pork chop
Kuchay dumplings
  • Oishiekun Chinese Bites

Another treat just located in the street of Ongpin. Also known as the chinese donuts, these pieces of treat are freshly made everyday for a very affordable price. You’ll just see the donuts being displayed on the store and they’ll re-heat it once you ordered one and cut it into bites. Definitely another must-try if you want to have some merienda or dessert after a day of food hauls.

  • Ho-Land Hopia and Bakery

A Chinese bakery located in 551 Yuchengco St., Binondo. Every time I go to Binondo, I never failed to stop by on this place to buy some ube hopia. Though both hopias from Eng Bee Tin and Ho-Land are delicious on its own, I always end up buying and preferring the ones from Ho-land. They also sell other Chinese delicacies such as tikoy and moon cakes.

Have you been to Binondo before? What’s your favorite food place? Share your experience below!

Liwliwa, Zambales Travel Guide: Places to Stay and Eat in Liwliwa

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Zambales is probably one of the most popular weekend destination for those who just wanted to have a quick beach trip over their weekend off. For about three to four hour drive away from Manila, you can enjoy their beautiful beaches, coves, and even campsites.

I’ve been to Zambales couple of times before and by this time, I finally got the chance to visit the famous Liwliwa! Located in the silent town of San Felipe, a lot of beautiful resorts perfect for chilling and relaxations can now be found in Liwliwa. Aside from resorts, a lot of restaurants, cafes and bars by the beach can be spotted in this paradise that I would like to compare the place and vibe somehow to the San Juan beach area of La Union (only with less people). Other activities you can enjoy here are surfing and ATV riding. On this blog, I would share places to stay and eat in Liwliwa that you can use as reference on your next visit.

How to go to Liwliwa, Zambales?

Ride a bus (from Cubao, Pasay or Caloocan) bound to Iba or Sta. Cruz, Zambales. These buses will pass through the town of San Felipe. Just tell the driver to drop you off in San Felipe, upon reaching San Felipe take a tricycle that will take you directly to Sitio Liwliwa. Just tell the driver your resort name so they can directly take you there.

If you will not be able to catch a bus bound to either Iba or Sta. Cruz, you can take a bus bound to Olongapo. From Olongapo take another bus going to Sta. Cruz or Iba and just tell the driver to drop you off in San Felipe. From there, take a tricycle that will take you directly on your resort in Liwliwa.

In our case, we took a bus from Victory Liner Cubao to San Felipe for P530 and tricycle ride from San Felipe town proper to Liwliwa costs us P40 each.

Where to Stay in Liwliwa?

I had a hard time looking for accommodation during our stay because first, there’s a lot of instagrammable resorts to choose from and second, resorts are almost fully booked given that our visit was on a weekend. Luckily, we were able to book at The Fishers

  • The Fishers (Fishers by the Sea)

The Fishers claims to have the first A-frame huts in Liwliwa. The resort is just a few minute walk to the beach. Each A-frame huts costs Php 3000 for fan rooms while Php 3500 for AC rooms good for 3 pax. You’ll have the whole hut by your group, you need to take a few steps of stairs to get into the main room and you’ll have tables, chairs and hammock just down below it if you want to chill and rest outside. Each room also includes own comfort room located just across the huts. The place is clean, well-maintained, peaceful while owners and caretakers are friendly.

Facebook page here.

  • Kwentong Dagat
Photo from Kwentong Dagat Official Facebook Page

Definitely one of the most famous and trending resort in Liwliwa. With its popularity, it’s always fully-booked especially on the weekends. The resort highlights IG-worthy cabins and serves vegan meals.

Facebook page here.

  • Gasera de Liwliwa
Photo from Gasera de Liwliwa Official Website

Another place I wanted to book but already fully-booked during our target date. I love their room concepts as their name suggests, “gasera” means a traditional lamp used when there is still no electricity. The resort has villas that resembles a lamp and also offers tepee huts and tent accommodations.

Facebook page here.

  • Zambali Woods
Photo from Zambali Woods Official Facebook Page

A Bali-themed resort in Liwliwa that offers villa accommodations for 4 up to 8 pax. Overnight stay in each villa will costs Php 4000 up to Php 8000.

Facebook page here.

  • Kapitan’s Liwa Beach Resort
Photo from Kapitan's Liwa Surf Resort Official Facebook Page

This resort offers various choices of accommodation based on your budget. What I love about this resort is they have their own restaurant and cafes that serves variety of foods. They also have common areas in the resort where visitors can chill, have a drink and mingle with friends and strangers.

Facebook page here.

Where to Eat in Liwliwa?

  • Board Culture Liw-Liwa

Aside from being a resort, they also offer sumptuous meals. Though their menu does not offer much variety and a bit pricey compare to other restaus but rest assured, each food on their menu is delicately-cooked and prepared using imported seasonings/ingredients that makes each bite worthy of its price. From steaks, wagyu, pastas, burgers and inasal, each bite will melt in your mouth. They also offer imported drinks and you can enjoy playing board games and billiards while waiting for your food. We also got a chance to chat with the owner and he is very accommodating, a plus points for our overall experience.

Porkchop with rice for Php 420
Chicken Inasal for Php 280
  • Taco Joint

Located inside the Board Culture Liw-Liwa compound is this authentic Mexican Taqueria. Definitely a go-to place to eat and unwind as it settles few walks away from the beach. Satisfy your cravings for Mexican food with their tacos and quesadillas. Also, right across this taqueria is a bar where you can grab a bottle of drinks or beer. A perfect combo to chill the day out.

Carne Asada Quesadilla
Carnitas Tacos
  • Mommy Phoebe’s Place

I would say it is the most affordable food hub in Liwliwa. The place has this “karinderya” concept but offers a lot of freshly cooked food choices. They also serve fresh fruit smoothies in an affordable price, definitely a must have when you dine with Mommy Phoebe’s.

  • Kapitan’s Liwa

This place aside from being a resort, also houses their very own Kapitan’s Liwa restaurant and Sestra’s Café. The restaurant offers various Filipino meals and even a bowl of ramen! If you want to take a sip of coffee (hot or cold) you can also order from Sestra Café located on the same compound. A cozy place to eat and relax at the same time.

Have you been to Liwliwa before? Share your experiences below!

Mirador Heritage and Eco Park: Experiencing a Taste of Japan in Baguio City

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Mirador Heritage and Eco Park is one of the newest attractions in the City of Baguio. The park houses the famous torii gate and bamboo forest that you probably seen online. If you want to experience Japan without flying, this is the right place to be. It is just located in Mirador Hill just near the famous Lourdes Grotto. So, if you are already in the area, you can visit both attractions to make your trip worthy.

How to get there?

From Kayang Street in Baguio proper, ride a jeepney bound to Mirador. Just tell the driver to drop you off in Mirador Jesuit Villa Retreat House.

You can also ride a taxi or bring your own car for your convenience. Parking lot is available in the area so there would be no issue if you bring your own car.

What to expect in Mirador Heritage and Eco park?

The eco park is open daily from 6:00 AM until 6:00 PM. Entrance fee is 100 Php while 12 years old and below are free of charge. No reservations needed. Mirador Heritage and Eco Park is a 5-hectare park managed by the Mirador Jesuits Villa. As the place aims, it is a good place to relax, unwind, meditate and reconnect with nature. Falling in love with the spectacular view from the hill is a plus experience!

A spectacular view from Mirador Hill

Many attractions can be found inside the Eco park such as Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Manresa Rock Garden, Our Lady of Aranzazu Rock Garden, Ifugao Houses, La Storta Garden, Blue Moon Gate and of course the famous Torii gate in Mirador Peace Memorial. For complete list of attractions and other details you can visit their official website here.

  • Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

  • Our Lady of Aranzazu Rock Garden

  • Blue Moon Gate 

  • Mirador Peace Memorial

Bringing outside food is not allowed for better maintenance of the park but this attraction have their own café named Café Iñigo. You can visit their café if you wish to buy some meals and drinks.

Igorot Stone Kingdom Travel Guide: Newest Theme Park in Baguio

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There are so many tourist attractions that actually came to light at the mid of this pandemic. One of this attraction is the Igorot Stone Kingdom that officially opened to the public last June 2021 and became one of the popular destination when you visit Baguio City since then. It is an Igorot theme park based on the legend of Sab-angan, an Igorot Kingdom that once existed but lost a thousand years ago.

Knowing Igorot Stone Kingdom

This theme park is located in Long Long Benguet Rd., Baguio City, about 500 meters away from Tam-awan Village. The place is owned by Pio Velasco or also known as Ama Bag-owan as his Igorot name who saw a white carabao last March 1, 2020. It was said that this is a good omen for him to start the Igorot Kingdom. In Igorot culture, white carabao symbolizes good luck and prosperity. Hence, by March 15, 2020 the construction started for the Igorot Stone Kingdom. The attraction is made of piled stones forming a castle-like structure. Stone walls also resembles the famous Banaue Rice Terraces of Ifugao province because of its ladder-like layout.

How to get there?

Via public commute

Ride a jeepney bound for Tacay-Longlong in Otek St., Baguio City or Tam-awan bound jeepneys in Kayang Street, Baguio City. Just tell the driver to drop you off in Igorot Stone Kingdom

Via taxi

Taxis are pretty much available around Baguio City and more convenient mode of transpo going point to point around the city. Taxi fare here is much cheaper than in Manila so if you are traveling in group, I suggest you to take a cab like what we did for your convenience.

What to expect in Igorot Stone Kingdom

Expect a flock of people upon entrance of the theme park especially during weekends and holidays but the main park area is so huge that people won’t be crammed in one area. Entrance fee is 100 Php for adults, 80 Php for senior citizens and kids (4-12 years old) and free for toddlers (3 years old and below). The Park is open Monday to Sunday from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

Going around the park will make you realized how rich the Igorot civilization is, exhibiting their prowess and history. The castle-like structure also houses a lot of attractions such as Bangan’s dome, Temple of Kabunyan, Igorot goldmine, Igorot Golden Bridge, Igorot Heroes Hall, underground garden, kape in the sky, view deck and many more! Take note that the construction in the park is still on going, so for sure the place will still provide us with more surprises next time.

It was also displayed on the park that it was dedicated by the owner, Pio, to his mother named Rita which he described as a fair and beautiful Igorota. The woman he admired and taught him to be strong despite all.

What I like also in this park is its vivacity. It has this positive and lively energy that would make your visit worthy. There are food stalls where you can buy food and pasalubongs, you can rent Igorot costumes for photo ops and a music that echoes all around the park.

When going back to Baguio Proper you can either ride a jeepney or taxi again. Have you been to Igorot Stone Kingdom before? Share your experiences below!

Atok, Benguet: Northern Blossoms Flower Farm Travel Guide

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It was few years ago when Northern Blossoms Flower Farm made a social media and nationwide TV craze. It was featured in several TV shows and since then, I did tell myself to visit it someday. Northern Blossoms Flower Farm is located in Atok, Benguet and so far, the most beautiful farm I ever visited my entire life. With its high elevation, colder climate than Baguio City and beautiful flower farms arising on its ground, Atok is now becoming a top destination among Filipino travelers.

Knowing Northern Blossoms Flower Farm

Northern Blossoms Flower Farm is located in the beautiful town of Atok in Benguet. It is a 1.5 to 2 hour drive from Baguio City and a popular go to destination if you are already in Baguio. The farm showcases many variants of blooming flowers such as everlastings, marigolds, snapdragons, hydrangeas, rice flowers and of course, the flower that made this place known to everyone, the cabbage roses! I think many of the visitors, got curious about this blossom that looks like a cabbage with colors and bigger in sizes but actually a hybrid rose. The farm is open from Monday to Saturday from 6:00 AM to 4:30 PM.

Here are the entrance fees:

Adult- P250

Senior/PWD- P200

Kids- P50 (6-10 yrs old)

Entrance fee includes brewed coffee and you can also hire a tour guide for P250 per group. Fees may change without prior notice so you can visit their official FB page for recent updates. Click here.

How to get there?

From Manila, ride a bus from PITX, Pasay or Cubao. Upon arrival in Baguio City, make your way to Dangwa Terminal at the back of Central Mall and look for vans or buses bound to Atok, Mankayan or Sagada. Just tell the driver to drop you off in Northern Blossoms. Fare is P200 and travel time may take around 1.5 to 2 hours.

*There are no buses available yet when we visited Atok early this year (2022), we got to ride a van bound to Atok for P200 each. First trip of van starts to rack up passengers at around 4:00 AM.

Getting around the farm:

We arrived at Northern Blossoms registration area at around 5:45 AM and in our surprise, there’s already a long queue of line for registration. We paid for our registration fees and we opt not to get a tour guide anymore. First stop upon entrance of Northern Blossoms is its greenhouse full of Snapdragon flowers. Then you’ll make your way down to the actual farm and you will be overwhelmed by the various blossoms right in front of your eyes. You’ll get baffled on which flower or point you’ll take picture with as every corner is a picture-perfect spot. Every site is so dreamy and can’t help to be mesmerized by every single detail of it.

It was weekend when we went there and it is understandable that there’s a flock of people all over the place. It was hard for us to take photos by ourselves so if you wish to visit with lesser crowd, I suggest to set your visit during weekdays or late afternoon. It is said that January to April is the best time to visit the farm when its flowers are in full bloom especially the cabbage roses everyone is talking about. I also suggest to wear comfortable shoes as a bit of trekking would be required going around and pathways can be muddy at times. Take your time taking photos with the blooms as there’s a vast number of it all around the place.

There are also resting areas downhill where you can sit for a while and appreciates the mountainous scenery of Mt. Pulag and Mt. Timbak right in front of you. Taking a nice shot would not require much effort as the place is effortlessly beautiful on its own. But of course, don’t forget to take IG-worthy pictures with the cabbage roses!

Right before you exit, you can go inside this area where you can get your brewed coffee. This is also the place where they sell plants in pots if you wish to bring one home.

People are lining up to get their cup of coffee

Overall, it was a fun, dreamy and heavenly experience visiting Northern Blossoms Flower Farm. As any flower would symbolize, it brought me delight and happy times.  I would definitely recommend it to everyone and visit it again next time. Nearby attractions within Atok area are Sakura Garden and the Highest Point, which used to be the highest point in the Philippine’s Highway System.

Flowers up close
Cabbage roses

Going back to Baguio City

From Northern Blossoms, we walked to the van terminal going back to Baguio City. Terminal is located in front of Marosan’s Eatery right after the Atok Municipal Hall. Travel may take around another 2 hours back to Baguio.

*On our way down back to Baguio City, we dropped by in La Trinidad to re-visit Mt. Kalugong (a cultural village with a coffee shop on top of the mountain). If you also wish to visit it, here’s the blog link.

Have you been to Northern Blossoms Flower Farm before? Share your experiences below!

Lanawan Rocks: A New Trekking Spot To Try In Concepcion, Iloilo

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Hiking seems to be popular to the young and old ones nowadays. Not only within Luzon but I noticed that even in the province of Iloilo, it is starting to be a hobby for many. But if your heart is not into a whole day hike, you can try visiting Lanawan Rocks that offers a spectacular view after a merely 15-to-20-minute trek to the top. Lanawan rocks is located in Sitio Tagbak, Brgy. Placido, Concepcion, Iloilo and a good side trip when you are visiting the beaches of the Northern Iloilo. Just located around 3 hours away from the City of Iloilo this could be your next weekend trip with your friends and family.

Knowing Lanawan Rocks:

As per our tour guide, Lanawan Rocks is a tourist attraction that features few rock formations and was recently discovered and opened at the mid of this covid pandemic. The place was posted by a tourist on social media that people on the internet became curious about this beauty hidden at the outskirts of Concepcion, Iloilo. People on the area is actually not into social media and didn’t even realize that posts on these platforms can make their place known to many. The rock formations were kept on themselves for so many years but now, they are ready for the world to finally see it. Thanks to the viral post of Lanawan Rocks that many locals were given a chance to earn an extra as a guide (like how our guide, who is a working student, was able to get extra money for his school allowance).

The trail going to the jump off is a dirt road composed of few ascents making it famous to bicycle riders looking for adventure trail. Many group of riders are visiting the place especially during the weekend. The Lanawan Rocks are being managed by Ate Anabelle who is the owner also of Anna’s Kitchenette located at the jump off of the trail.

How to get there?

From Iloilo City, make your way to Ceres Terminal located in Tagbak, Iloilo. Ride a bus bound to Concepcion (travel is roughly 3 hours). From Concepcion town proper, ride a habal-habal or tricycle that will take you directly to Lanawan Rocks. Travel time may take another 30 minutes and fare would be 100 Php each. Tricycle on Brgy. Placido is not pretty much available for commuters so we opt to ask our driver to just wait for us at the jump off and paid him additional fee.

Trekking going to Lanawan Rocks:

We reached Brgy. Placido at around 11 AM and met Ate Ana where we paid for a registration fee of 25 Php each and tour guide fee of 100 Php (for 5 pax). After paying, we left our things at Anna’s kitchen and started the trek right away. The trek is pretty easy but the heat of the sun makes it exhausting from time to time. It’s almost noon when we started the trail so I advise anyone planning to go there to start the trek early morning or late afternoon. There are couple of peaks or rock formations you could take pictures with. Just be extra careful as it could be heart trembling experience especially for those who have a fear of heights. From above you’ll be seeing the beauty of the blue waters of Concepcion and its nearby town of Ajuy.

Mesmerized by the spectacular view from above
What a beautiful view to fall in love with
A view of the nearby town of Ajuy
La Terraza de Agua Bendita Resort as seen from above

Take another 15-minute descent and you’ll reach the jump off.

Anna’s Kitchenette:

After you get tired of trekking, you can reward yourself with a sumptuous mean from Ana’s Kitchenette owned by Ate Anabelle. The food house serves silog dishes and beverages. Our personal favorite is their Buko Shake! You’ll definitely ask for more.

The food place is beautifully decorated. From empty bottles up to sea shells are all recycled and used to make the place feel homey while enjoying good food with a view.

The town of Concepcion in Iloilo is actually famous for its white sand island beaches but it is refreshing to know that aside from its beautiful waters, they have this vantage point from above that you could trek and appreciate the allure high up.

For additional inquiries, you can directly contact Lanawan Rocks on their official Facebook page here.

Have you been to Lanawan Rocks before? Share your experiences below!

Hinugtan Beach: Best-Kept Paradise of Buruanga, Aklan

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When we hear about the province of Aklan, probably Boracay Island would first bulge out on our minds. Indeed, the island of Boracay is one of the famous and pristine beaches of our country that we could showcase all over the world. With its white powdery sand, it is a must visit for the local and international travelers all-year round but if you are looking for solace that somehow Boracay can’t give due to its crowd, you might opt to visit Hinugtan Beach. Just around 30-to-40-minute ride from Caticlan Jetty Port, discover this hidden gem at the heart of Buruanga, Aklan. A secret we are ready to share to everyone!

Knowing Hinugtan Beach

Hinugtan Beach is located in Buruanga, Aklan that started to make craze online as an alternate beach getaway for those who wants to skip the crowd of Boracay. For me, Hinugtan is not just an alternate option because it has its own beauty that she can stand on its own allure. It has white powdery sand, though not as white as those found in Boracay, crystal blue waters and also have water activities that visitors can enjoy.

How to get there?

From Iloilo

Ride a Catical bound bus from Ceres Terminal in Tagbak, Iloilo. Fare is 500 Php and travel time may take around 5 hours. From Caticlan, charter a tricycle that will take you to Buruanga (fare is 100 php each). Upon reaching Buruanga, you have to take another habal-habal that will take you to Hinugtan. Take note that the driver will drop you off first on the area where you have to pay for an environmental fee and on the Hinugtan area, you still have to walk a bit on a downhill to reach the main beach.

From Manila

If you will be riding a plane from Manila, upon reaching Caticlan airport look for a transport that will take you to Caticlan port or probably they can take you directly to Buruanga. There are tricycles outside Caticlan airport and just negotiate with them. From Buruanga, ride a habal-habal that will take you to Hinugtan area.

Where to stay in Hinugtan Beach?

Emen's Paradise Resort

There are few beach resorts located in the shoreline of Hinugtan such as:

  1. Hinugtan Beach – Facebook link here
  2. White Beach Front and Cottages – Facebook link here
  3. Emen’s Paradise Resort – Facebook link here

 

We had our stay in Emen’s Paradise Resort. The rooms are maintained, staffs are accommodating, Comfort Rooms are not crowded, rooms and cottages are cheap in prices and overnight stay includes breakfast meal. Here are the rooms available in the resort with its prices:

 

DAYNITS (1st room) Beach Front (GOOD FOR 7 PAX) fan room shared Cr

7 persons: 4,000 (with free breakfast)

  • two kids is free (add 200 each for additional kids)

 

SHINE (2nd room) Aircon room (GOOD FOR 1-3PAX) Shared Cr

1-2 person/s: 2,200 (with free breakfast)

3 persons: 2,800 (with free breakfast)

  • one kid is free (add 200 each for additional kids)

 

SHIELA (3rd room) Aircon Room (GOOD FOR 1-4 PAX) Shared Cr

1-2 person/s: 2,200 (with free breakfast)

3 persons: 2,800 (with free breakfast)

4 persons: 3,500 (with free breakfast)

  • one kid is free (add 200 each for additional kids)

 

EM EM (4th Room) Aircon Room (GOOD FOR 1-4 PAX) Private Cr

1-2 person/s: 2,200 (with free breakfast)

3 persons: 2,800 (with free breakfast)

4 persons: 3,500 (with free breakfast)

  • one kid is free (add 200 each for additional kids)

 

AURING (5th Room) Fan room (GOOD FOR 7PAX) Private Cr Kitchen (gas stove, utensils) add 300 pesos per night

7 persons: 4,000 (with free breakfast)

  • two kids is free (add 200 each for additional kids)

 

MEMIE (6th Room) Aircon Family Room (GOOD FOR 15PAX) Private Cr Kitchen (gas stove, utensils) add 300 pesos per night

7 persons: 5,300 (with free breakfast)

8 persons: 5,500 (with free breakfast)

9 persons: 7,400 (with free breakfast)

10 persons: 8,000 (with free breakfast)

11 persons: 8,500 (with free breakfast)

12 persons: 9,000 (with free breakfast)

13 persons: 9,500 (with free breakfast)

14 persons: 10,000 (with free breakfast)

15 persons: 10,500 (with free breakfast)

  • two kids is free (add 200 each for additional kids)

 

LORNA (7th room) Aircon Room (GOOD FOR 7 PAX) Private Cr Kitchen (gas stove, ref, utensils) add 300 pesos per night

7 persons: 5,000 (with free breakfast)

  • one kid is free (add 200 each for additional kids)

 

EM EM KUBO (8th room) Fan Room (GOOD FOR 2) kubo kubo Shared Cr

1-2 person/s: 1,700 (with free breakfast)

 

MARILOU (9th room) Family Room (GOOD FOR 10PAX) Fan room Private Cr Kitchen (gas stove, ref, utensils) add 300 pesos per night

8 persons: 4,300 (with free breakfast)

9 persons: 4,600 (with free breakfast)

10 persons: 5,000 (with free breakfast)

  • two kids is free (add 200 each for additional kids)

 

Note: Prices may change without prior notice, please check their official facebook pages for recent updates. Click here.

There are still other resorts and cottages located around the area that I am not familiar with so you could search it online for more options.

Other rooms have their own dining and kitchen areas.
This is the room where we stayed. Below our room is the resort's sari-sari store.

Hinugtan Beach

We arrived at Hinugtan at around 2:00 PM, after a bit trek downhill to reach the main beach, you will be greeted by this secret gem that you didn’t imagine ever existed. We just walk around the place looking for Emen’s resort and one of their staff saw us along the way and asked where we are heading to. Maybe she seems to think that we are a bit lost and can’t find our way (lol). She assisted us on our way to our room. We originally reserved the Auring room which is good for 7 pax but unfortunately, only three of us pushed through the trip. Luckily, the staffs are kind enough to transfer us on a smaller room so we would pay less than the original reservation. We settled our things and went around the beach the same afternoon. We had a two-night stay and our first day was Sunday so there are more people than usual but I can say it’s still not that crowded.

One of the Pisonet Wifi available in Hinugtan Beach.

There is no mobile signal on the whole Hinugtan area but there’s a lot of pisonet wifi that pretty much works especially during the night. If you want to have a quick update on your social media feed, this is a pretty good option.

Second day

A father-daughter beautiful bonding moment.
This is how the shore looks like during lowtide.

I woke up early in the morning and saw the beach during low tide. A peaceful scene to ponder first thing in the morning. We took a lot more photos and explore nearby shores and points of Hinugtan Beach. There are rock formations that can be seen at the end of the Hinugtan area but better be careful when taking photos as the pointy rocks can cause you harm.

During lowtide in the morning, visitors also enjoy water activities such as kayaking and boating as the waves are still calm and water level is still a bit shallow. Also, in front of Emen’s Paradise Resort is where the swings can be found. When I searched online of Hinugtan Beach, a lot of photos show this big swing and the other two swings in front of the blue waters. But regardless where you are staying, I do believe you can still take photos in here.

Tourists enjoy kayaking
Boats and kayaks for hire
The giant swing in front of the resort

Monday afternoon during our second day of stay in this beach, only few tourists are left including ourselves. It was that afternoon when we just sat down on the white sands, stare on the azure waters and was calmed by the waves while talking about our lives. This is one of the perfect place and time to relax and share stories of wonderful times with our friends and family. It will give you serenity while wondering “what’s happening on the island on the other side?” I wonder how this secluded beach can be this beautiful and was not able to pay a visit all these years.

Slow afternoon by the beach
Life is meant for good friends and great adventures

Last day

It was Tuesday morning when we checked out of the resort and it was the same habal-habal drivers who fetched us but by this time they’ll take us directly to the Caticlan Port. From Caticlan Port, we made our way to the bus terminal and ride a bus bound back to Iloilo.

Things to know before going:

  • Mobile Signal is not available on the Hinugtan area, only pisonet wifi for internet connection. If you will be needing to have some work done online or you need to work remotely, wifi is not reliable so better plan your visit.
  • Arrange a pick-up of the same habal-habal driver who take you in Hinugtan. Set a time and day as you will not be able to communicate with him once you are there.
  • Contact the resort via facebook messenger earlier as they might not be able to get back to you as soon as possible due to limited internet and mobile signal. They might not be able to pick up a call due to lacking phone signal.
  • There are sari-sari stores on the resorts and you can order cooked food if you didn’t bring any with you, just tell the staffs ahead of time.

Have you been to Hinugtan Beach before? Share your experiences below!

Mt. Marami: Overnight Hiking Guide

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Mt. Marami may not be the word of mouth for some frequent and new trekkers but I assure that this mountain will squeeze out your desire for adventure. The said mountain is being compared to the more famous Mt. Pico De Loro located also in the province of Cavite as the two shares the same attributes. Being less visited makes this mountain more beautiful and a perfect place to ponder. Located in Maragondon, Cavite and jump-off can be reached for about 2.5 to 3 hours from Manila.

Knowing Mt. Marami

Mt. Marami is located in Maragondon, Cavite but jump-off lies in Brgy. Ramirez, Magallanes, Cavite. Please take note that there are two jump-offs going to Mt. Marami: one is located in Brgy. Ramirez and the other one is located in Brgy. Talipusngo. On our case, we opt to take the Ramirez trail and as advised also by our guide this trail is easier and shorter than the other one. As a running joke for some hikers who climbed this mountain the reason why it’s called “Mt. Marami” is because it requires “maraming lakad” (many walk) to reach its summit. Stands 405 MASL with difficulty level of 3/9, trekking may take around 3-4 hours to reach the summit where the rock formation also known as “Silyang bato” is stationed.

How to go to Mt. Marami

From Manila

Ride a bus from PITX bound to Naic, Cavite. From Naic, make your way to jeepney terminal and ride a jeepney bound to Magallanes, Cavite. Tell the driver that you’re going to Mt. Marami and drop you off at the Brgy. Ramirez junction. From the junction, charter a tricycle that will take you to the registration.

Our Mountain Guide

We reached Brgy. Ramirez at around 10:00 AM and went straight to the house of our tour guide Kuya Jeff. They own a small karinderya managed by his wife Ate Veron where we took an early lunch and prep ourselves before we start our trek. We first contacted Kuya Joel since his name is all over facebook when we searched for a recommended guide but due to a schedule conflict, he was not able to meet us that morning but instead assisted by his recommended guide Kuya Jeff. I highly speak of these guides as they are one of the best on their craft. We were assisted the whole time by Kuya Jeff but was able to meet also Kuya Joel along the way twice: one during our ascend and second during our descent the next morning. What I noticed with these guides, they are not merely guides who do it for a living but they are guides who are passionate on their field. They climbed series of mountains aside from Marami, gave us advices about overnight camping and talk about trekking aids.

Our tour guide, Kuya Jeff

You can contact these recommended guides here:

Kuya JoelJoel Vince Custodio

Kuya Jeff– 09650612594

Start of Trek

After taking our lunch and logged our visit on the registration booth on their barangay hall, we started our journey to the summit. Initial trail is quite easy as it’s composed of many flat courses with few ascents. Good thing that the weather cooperated with us, though it’s almost noon, weather was just cloudy and not too hot. Almost half of the trail were actually just a track going to the foot of the mountain which is mostly made up of flat trail, river crossing, skyward slopes that are manageable. You will be greeted from time to time by the mesmerizing summit as it can be seen on some parts of the trail. There are also few huts and a sari-sari store where you can buy stuffs and rest.

Upon reaching the foot of the mountain, this is where the more challenging part of the trail starts. You have to climb steep paths that might be exhausting for people like me (haha!) We actually took series of rest but it’s still a good thing that it is not hot and it’s slight windy during that time that eases our weariness. We reached our camping site at around 2:30 PM and took a rest first.

Take note that there are three camping sites available where you can pitch your tent for an overnight stay. First is located beside a sari-sari store and near a water source but it is still located 1 to 1.5 hours (depending on your pace) away from the summit. Second camp site is located for about 200 meters away from the first site. Third camp site is the nearest to the summit and with the most beautiful view as the peak can be freely seen from here but the area is open, far from the water source and can be too cold during the night. It’s up to you where you wish to stay for the night.

Signage put up by DENR
View of the summit from the third campsite

After taking a rest, we setup or tent and decided to just go to the summit that day (initial plan was to climb the summit by next day for the sunrise) and watch the sunset from there. As we go nearer the summit, the view was becoming more spectacular. It took us another hour to reach the summit and we were greeted by the view one would surely fall in love with and no one can resist. We were the only group on the summit during that time. And that’s what I love most in the places less visited, you can enjoy the moment without the distraction of the crowd.

It was too windy when we reach the rock formations of the summit so we were too careful when we were taking pictures because one misstep could lead into danger. The scenery from the top was breathtaking and the sunset made it even more beautiful! Kuya guide is also good in taking photos.

After taking enough photos and when the cold breeze of the strong wind started to gave us chills, we decided to start our descent back to our camping ground. It’s becoming dark so we were in a bit hurry to go back. We set foot back on our camp at around 7:00 PM and put out our camping cooking sets to prepare our food. It was our first time to cook during our climb since we usually bring cooked foods but by this time, we want to have the full experience. Kuya Jeff even taught us how to use the butane, he’s not just a guide but more of a climbing mentor to us. We just talk anything about life while waiting for our food. After taking our simple dinner, we decided to take a rest and sleep as we were very tired.

The Next Morning

We had cup noodles for breakfast that we just bought on the sari-sari store located on our camp site. While taking our breakfast, Kuya Joel (our original contacted guide) came with another set of trekkers. We just talked for some time and we started to pack our things. It took us another 3 hours to go back to the jump-off. We had our lunch again to the karinderya owned by our guide’s family. They also have clean comfort rooms where we took a bath.

Other Things to Know:

  • Overnight guide fee is 1000 Php for 1-5 persons, additional person needs to pay 200 Php each
  • Registration fee is 80 Php per head
  • If you were not able to contact a guide prior going, tour guides are available upon registration