Enthralled by El Nido

I found my paradise in the Philippines.

Spellbounding Siquijor

A brave girl's first ever solo trip was to this mystical island.

The Quiet Charm of Cagbalete Island

Outdoor serenity at its best.

The Rugged Beauty of Islas de Gigantes

The off-the-beaten rockin beauty of Northern Iloilo.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Where to Stay in Magalawa Island: Ruiz Resort


There are two resorts in Magalawa Island. One is this resort and the other one is Armada Resort. We chose this resort because 1) I knew a lot of people who already stayed here and 2) they offer cheaper rates. It is easy book with them. Kuya Mulo, the resort owner is very responsive to our inquiries and replies in a timely manner.




the beach

Please don't expect too much. It is just a simple resort with limited amenities. The beach was okay. The sand was fine but not white. There were also a lot of sea grasses. I'm not sure if it's the same on the other months. It might be better during summer.


the cottage rooms

There's just one type of room at the resort. Inside, there is a double bed and a fan. But it can accommodate more than 2 pax. There's enough space on the floor for more people if you don't mind sleeping on it. Sorry I didn't take a photo of the room. We slept on a tent. Yes, you can camp out as well.


open cottages

for big groups

There are Open Cottages too. These I believe are for those who will just be spending a day trip in the island. The large one caters to a big group like barkadas and families.


beach volley

The resort also has a beach volleyball court for those people who likes this sport or simply just to have fun. There's also a videoke at the owner's house. Though we haven't tried, I guess you can use it too.


outdoor kitchen ;)

You can also bring and cook your own food. You just have to bring your own condiments and charcoal. They will lend you their cookwares at no extra charge.


pump it up!

For the water source, you can wash your food and your dishes here. Don't worry about the water you'll use in the toilet and bathroom, they'll take care of it for you. :)


restrooms

There are three comfort rooms in the resort. They are clean enough for me so it was all good.


We had a good stay in this resort. The owner's family were nice and very attentive to our needs. They clean the resort everyday in the morning. There's no electricity in the island. They only turn on the generator from 6pm-9pm or it depends on until when the guests use it. Their location is great because it is just a short walking distance from sari-sari stores. They also don't charge for anything extra that you'll ask from them which is commendable.


How we made it to Magalawa Island:

  1. Victory Liner Monumento, Iba-Sta Cruz Trip (Check Victory Liner website for the sched)
  2. Alighted in Iba for food and supplies
  3. From Iba, we took a jeep bound to Masinloc. (Note: Don't take the one going to Palauig! Don't get confused. We almost did.)
  4. Ask driver to drop you off to Barangay Pangulingan waiting shed where the tricycle terminal is
  5. Tell tric driver to take you to Luan Port. Text Kuya Mulo to pick you up from the port.
  6. Going back, we just waited for a Victory Liner bus bound for Manila from the same waiting shed where we took the tric. Easy, right? :)

Transpo and Resort Expenses:

Php 342.00 - Caloocan to Iba Victory Liner
         26.00 - Iba to Pangulingan Jeep
       100.00 - Tric to Luan Port*
         50.00 - Boat to Ruiz Resort*
       100.00 - Resort Entrance Fee
       200.00 - Tent Pitching Fee (bring your own tent)
       182.00 - Palauig to Olongapo Victory Liner   
       235.00 - Olongapo to Cubao Victory Liner

*These are one way expenses only. We paid for another Php 100 and 50 going back. All indicated amount is per person.

As for the food budget, we just shopped to our hearts' content. We bought whatever we want to eat. It's entirely up to you. :)


Accomodation Information:

Ruiz Resort
Address: Magalawa Island, Palauig, Zambales
Contact No: 09294670505
Room Rates: PHP 1200 per night
Tent for Rent: PHP 300  


Accommodation Rating: ♥♥♥

Monday, January 20, 2014

Magalawa Island: A Birthday Getaway


It was a spur of the moment plan. I just filed my remaining leaves for the year the day before and on my birthday, but I really didn't have a plan of going somewhere like the previous years. I don't like traveling during the holiday season. You know, I don't want to go along with everyone going somewhere to spend Christmas and New Year. It was only a couple of weeks before when I decided to give it a try.

Beau suggested a quick getaway to this island but I declined right off because it doesn't appeal to me. I really miss the North so asked him if we can just go to Batad. He was starting to arrange everything when I heard that the weather up there was not good so we ended up just going here.



sailing to the island


We were at a birthday party the night before the trip and slept late so we missed the 4:30 AM bus going to Sta. Cruz, Zambales. We caught the next bus which is the 6:00 AM one. Palauig is 5 hours from Manila, so we arrived there lunch time already. Having lunch and buying all the food and supplies we'll need in the island took us 2 hours. We arrived at the island at around 3:00 PM already.



dark clouds and fierce wind


The weather was not really good then. The resort owner even told us before they pick us up that the waves are bigger than usual and asked if we're not afraid to sail on a rough sea. We were so used to traveling during monsoon season it doesn't bother us anymore. It is also just a very short ride, like 10 minutes. Who will be scared of that?


yay! it didn't flew off! ;)


We wanted to camp out instead of staying in a cottage. We set up our tent under the trees just a few meters from the sea. The wind was so strong that I needed to put heavy rocks over the pegs and I had to do it several times! Very persistent wind.



hammock, always my fave hang out

I admit, I wasn't really thrilled upon seeing the island. It is just like a regular island, nothing spectacular. And the sea weeds at the shore turned me off instantly. But I liked it for its remoteness and placidity. That was what I wanted at the moment.



our double "bed" accommodation ;)

It's been a while since I slept on a tent, almost a year ago I think. I missed the outdoors. Also glad that I was with someone who cooks and does it good. I am one of the most undomesticated woman I know.


awesome camping food :)

The resort's electricity was only until 9:00 PM, so I blew my little birthday cake on the dark hehe.


my birthday cake!


The next day, we woke up early to enjoy the beach because we weren't able to do that the day before. Fortunately, the weather has improved. It was a sunshiney day!



clear sunny day yeah


The sun was still moody that day though. There were still times when he hides beneath the clouds. I wasn't that happy with swimming because there are a lot of sea weeds everywhere.


lonesome starfish


We just alternate swimming and beach bumming all day. Of course my favorite activity was just lying at the sand reading a book or just doing nothing. Just meditating, daydreaming and breathing.


The following day, we walked to the other end of the island. It is a small island and is quite easy to navigate. We passed by the villagers houses and when we came to the end of the road, we asked a local if there's a way out to the sea. He pointed us to a pathway behind a house and this was what we saw.


just gorgeous


I'm so glad we explored the rest of the island. This view is more picturesque than that of the resort side.


i love the drama


bluer than blue

The west side is rocky and full of corals but still looks stunning.



thanks for taking our photo, boat! ;)


lovely trees


We stayed here for a while. We enjoyed the scenery, took a nap under the tree, walked by the beach and just relished the moment.


could go on forever

Going back to the resort, we did not take the village path. We just circumnavigated the seashore and had a glimpse of the fishermen and their family's daily life. They seemed so happy living their simple lives in the island.


After lunch, we decided to go back to Manila already. We asked Kuya Mulo (the resort owner), that we're cutting the stay short. We were transported back to the town at around 3:30 PM.



goodbye Magalawa


It was a nice short getaway. It was the first birthday I've ever spent away from my family. I had the time to fully appreciate my existence by being in an isolated island, far from the comforts of home and the noise of the familiar city. I loved every minute of it. I know I will always love traveling. I always see myself from a different perspective. I get to know a part of me that I haven't seen yet. Happy Birthday to me! :)

For accommodation and expenses breakdown, click here!


"The year you were born marks only your entry into the world. Other years where you prove your worth, they are the ones worth celebrating. 
" ~Jarod Kintz, This Book Title is Invisible

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Bewitching Beauty of Bali


Indonesia Day 9

On my last day in Bali, my friend and I agreed to go on a tour together to split the cost. Touring in Bali is a little expensive because of lack of public transportation that will take you from one tourist spot to another. You just have an option to join a group tour, rent a car with a driver or rent a motorbike or a car and drive it yourself. We resorted to Option #2.

A local friend of mine helped us arrange our tour transport. We were able to rent a car for IDR 400,000 (USD 35), which includes petrol and the driver for maximum of 12 hours.

The interesting temples were scattered all over Bali with such great distances. We had no fixed itinerary. We just tried to cover whatever we could within the day. I was once again up to be blown away by Bali.


Pura Taman Ayun

Our first stop is Taman Ayun located in Mengwi Village in Central Bali. It is considered to be one of the most important temples in Bali. This village has a rich history and previously a residence of the royal family.


reminds me of Cambo





The temple was built in the middle of the a pond. From a far, the temple looks like floating on the water. It's name Taman Ayun literally translates to "Beautiful Garden".


the merus

morning offerings


It's construction symbolizes the mythological home of Gods, Mount Meru. They also call the tiered roofs (towers) as "meru". It is a very distinctive feature of Balinese architecture.


unintentional photo bombs ;)


The highest meru has eleven tiers which is said to be dedicated to the Goddess of Rice. The temple is an array of garden terraces with courtyard in every levels.


feeling Balinese

It is a beautiful serene place. I'm not sure if it really doesn't get that many visitors. But I'm glad that when we were there, there were only a few tourists around.

Entrance Fee: IDR 30,000



Pura Ulun Danu Bratan

We headed next to Bedugul. It is in the mountain range area of Central Bali. It was a long ride from Taman Ayun, passing by narrow steep roads. Road conditions in Bali is not very good by the way.


here we go


When we got out of the car, we immediately felt the cool breeze. Boy, it was chilly. Unlike Taman Ayun, flocks of tourists come here.


at first sight


And there she was, the Ulun Danu Temple. No doubt, it is one of the most photographed temple in Bali. Set at the lakeside of Bratan with hills and the beautiful lake surrounding it, it was dreamy.


hazy like a dream


When we were there, the sun was hiding and the lake was so misty making it look more illusory.




It was named after Lake Bratan and dedicated to the Balinese goddess of water, lake and river.


just beautiful


Lake Bratan is also known as the Lake of Holy Mountain. They attribute the fertility of this area to the lake, as it is the main source of irrigation in Central Bali.


Lake Bratan


Because of the good climate and fertile soil, you'll find pretty flowers everywhere.I love them flowers!


flowers everywhere

It was so nice walking around here, just seeing and stopping by every time you want to appreciate the beauty of nature. It is absolutely one of my favorite places in Bali.



Entrance Fee: IDR 30,000


Jatiluwih

Looking at the map for another place we can go to, this came up to be the next easiest one. It is located in Tabanan, about 8 kms from Bedugul. These verdant rice terraces are nestled in the plateau of Mount Batukaru.




We just stayed at the viewing point where the parking is. We did not enter the premises anymore. Nothing really special here since we have a lot more beautiful rice terraces in the Philippines.




The entrance fee if you plan to tour intensively, is IDR 10,000. It will allow you to go hiking and explore the terraces.



In our case, we were contented by just sitting there and appreciating the surroundings without sweating it out.


Tanah Lot

We set off for another long drive from the hills. It is still a part of Tabanan but far off from Jatiluwih as it is in the coastal side. It was a slightly bumpy ride going down here.




This was the most crowded temple I've ever been in Bali. It is very popular not only for the tourists but also for the locals.


locals frequenting the temple

Tanah Lot, I believe is the most photographed temple in Bali. You will see it in postcards, in ads, everywhere. Even I, when I haven't been to Bali yet, the first thing that comes into my mind when people mention Bali is that temple in the rock by the sea.


Tanah Lot


Yes, the temple is situated on a rock offshore. It is one of the seven sea temples built around the Balinese coast.  This is a holy place for them to worship their sea gods.



the always sullen Indian Ocean


There are other sights to be seen in the temple complex. Aside from the stunning rock formations and the ocean view, other temples like Batu Bolong Temple, Batumejan Temple and Enjung Galuh Temple can be found when you walk eastward from Tanah Lot.


Batu Bolong Temple


When low tide, visitors can walk and come close to the temple. You can walk to the side and eventually climb up but then I don't think there's a good view up there. It's still better to just stay at the shore. The rock is also inhabited by sea snakes which are venomous. Yaiiiks. The Balinese believe that these snakes are guarding the temple from evil spirits.


mysterious and sacred

 
The best time to go here is pre-sunset and then wait for it. It is most beautiful when the sun sets. I guess we came too early that we already felt bored after waiting for about an hour.


refusing to set

We left even before it sets. And just when our car started to leave, the sky slowly turned into orange. Oh crap. It's another long walk back to the shore so yeah, we left just like that. Another stunning sunset missed.


Entrance Fee: IDR 30,000


******


Saying Goodbye to Bali

On my tenth day in Indonesia, it was time to leave. There are still so many things to do and places to see but I had to go home already. It has come to an end.


taking-off from Denpasar


That was my last picture of Bali. The image of the sublime island being kissed by the hostile Indian Ocean.


It was a mixed-feeling of happiness and sadness. Happy because I've seen and experienced its splendor. Sad because it was over and I want more.



the volcanic Indonesian terrain


This by far is my most favorite solo travel experience. Everything had been so smooth. I was more relaxed. I had plenty of time and not rushed. I had no fixed plans. I did not overspend. I met wonderful people. Things fell into place naturally. The amazing sights became just a bonus. It was more of the experience that I really treasured on this trip. It was living in the moment at its finest. 


"It is a strange thing to come home. While yet on the journey, you cannot at all realize how strange it will be." ~Selma Lagerlof



This ends my Bali travel series.