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Monday, June 8, 2020

Jomalig Island: Quezon's Golden Treasure

6/08/2020 07:44:00 AM 0 Comments
If you're adventurous and you don't mind a long travel time to reach a paradise, I highly recommend Jomalig for you. Your fatigue will vanish the moment you stepped into this gorgeous island. I wasn't interested to visit right away because I know it is quite remote and I also had a friend who went there years ago and I wasn't blown away by her photos. Sahree! :) But after a few years, we have already visited almost all nearby beaches and islands that we feel we have to start venturing even further. That was how Jomalig popped into our minds.

dreamy beaches of Jomalig

I mentioned a long travel time onset. But how long? Approximately 9 hours in total, 4 hours by land then another 5 hours by boat. Jomalig Island is one of Quezon province's farthest island municipalities. Looking at its position in the Pacific and how isolated it is, you can already guess that it is one exquisite destination.

so, where is it?

The Misadventures

We timed our visit during the local elections so I can utilize the holiday leave and take advantage of the long weekend. At that time, I thought it was the smartest decision but girl I was wrong! The moment we arrived at the Raymond Bus Station in Sampaloc, it was very chaotic. I never thought that local people working in Manila would bother to return to their hometowns just to vote for barangay officials. To make the story short, we never made it to the 2 night buses! There are also very long queues for the colorum vans, we decided not to take our chances there. With no other options, we just waited at the bus station for the first trip in the morning which is 5:00 AM. Imagine waiting there from 9:00 PM to 5:00 AM!

no kitchen at the hostel but we came prepared!

The unfortunate events did not end there. We also never made it to the last boat going to the island! The last trip departs at 10:00 AM and we arrived a little too late. If the boat is already full before 10:00, they leave early. There's nothing we can do so we just accepted the fact that we're losing 1 day in paradise. We were forced to stay in a rundown hostel in Real for a night. We just used this day to rest from the travel exhaustion and planned to show up in the port the next morning for the 1st trip.

The True Adventures Begin

We made sure to be in Ungos Port before 4:30 AM as the 1st trip is scheduled at 5:00 AM. It was amazing being able to catch the sunrise at the port while waiting for the boat to leave. The ticket costs Php 400 per head. A bit expensive, yes but it is 5-hour long and it comes with food. It was a rice meal in fact. Nothing fancy but it is a decent meal guys. I enjoyed it. Medyo nabitin pa nga ako haha! It was smooth sailing from Real to Jomalig.

Good morning, Real!

We arrived a few minutes past 10:00 AM. Upon arrival, you will need to pay for Tourism and Environmental Fees. We paid Php 170 per person. Then we took habal-habal for Php 70 each going to our resort accommodation.

Where to Stay in Jomalig Island?

I don't want this post to be super long, so I created a separate post for our accommodation. Banana's Beach Resort deserves a solo entry. Just click the resort name to find out why. 😉

Banana's Beach Resort
Our Day 1 in Jomalig was just spent relaxing on this beach.

What to See in Jomalig Island?

The most recommended way to go around the island is through a habal habal. It costs Php 600 per person and they don't allow 2 tourists to share the same motorbike. It is 1:1 folks! We just looked for guides when we arrived there and agreed on our pick up time the next morning. Anyway, all drivers we asked gave the same rate.

We did our tour in a different sequence as suggested by our drivers/guides. It normally starts in Kanaway and ending in Salibungot. Our route was slightly modified.

Our Habal Habal Tour Itinerary:

🚩 Lingayen Cove

Our first stop was Lingayen Cove. When we arrived, there were only 2 other couples at the beach. I was more stunned at how lovely the place is, so I decided we take photos first before swimming.

left side of the cove

The left side of the cove was the swimmable part. When you hike up this huge rock formation, the views are just breathtaking.

How about Pacific Ocean as your background?

They also call this place Little Batanes. Not a fan of calling places like that. It deserves to be recognized by its own beauty.

on the right side of the cove

When you get to the farthest side of the rock formation, you will be blown away by this fantastic view. It was an unspoiled long stretch of white sand with blue waters. I am not sure though if you can hike down to that part and swim.

so happy to be here!

We took so many photos here haha. We ran out of time so we just had a quick dip and left.

Entrance Fee: Php 50.00

🚩 Pamana White Beach

It seemed that our guides wanted to impress us right away. After taking us to their Little Batanes, they then took us to their Little Boracay.

love the super chill mood

Pamana White Beach is a charming little resort with fine white sand fringed with short coconut trees. I super loved hanging out at the hammock by the beach. It was very relaxing!

We also saw their accommodations and thought, oh we should have stayed here. But then it was too far from the port and other places of interest so we were like, Nah we're good at Bananas hehe.

low tide! can't swim 😭

Unfortunately, we weren't able to swim here. You have to go very very far if you want to. If you've been to Cagbalete, it's that kind of low tide. It was super hot too, so we decided not to swim anymore.

refreshing buko juice!

We just ate our snacks and bought some buko to rehydrate ourselves.

Entrance Fee: Php 30.00

🚩 Kanaway Islets

They brought us next to Kanaway Islets. For this one, you have to be willing to explore the place to appreciate and enjoy it. It was quite a walk.

big turtle and small turtle 😄

If swimming is on your agenda, this is not it. This is more of a photoshoot destination. Yes, pang-aurahan 'to mga besh. When we arrived, there was a group of becks doing an Encantadia-like photo sesh. Naaliw ako sa kanila haha.

be careful, the rocks are sharp!

Kanaway's incredible rock formations made it unique from the other tourist spots in the island.

unli-aura, walang tao! 😂

Just keep on walking until you reach the sandy part. Get ready to be amazed.

me with the cute islets

We had fun walking around Kanaway Islets. The combination of the rock formations and its golden sand gave this place its appeal.

untouched beauty

We also spent a long time here given the walk and plenty of photo opportunities.

Entrance Fee: Php 30.00

🚩 Golden Sand Beach

Our 4th stop is this another quirky beach. It looks way more pristine than the others and you will understand why.

unmarred by humans

Jomalig beaches mostly have golden sand but the sand in this particular beach is noticeably more golden than the others. I am not kidding!

see? it's darker in hue

Beau didn't go with me to check this beach out. He just peeked for a while and said "Nah, I'm not going." I guess that is what most tourists say when they see this beach. I can't blame them. It's too rocky and impossible to get a good swim out here.

golden allure

Now you know why it still looks so pristine.

Entrance Fee: Not sure if there is. Nobody charged us when we visited.

🚩 Puno ng Walang Forever

On our way here, I already understood why they just want one tourist per bike. Some paths are too narrow. You don't need to be just a skilled biker but it is also risky to lose balance on those paths if you're too heavy.

wala raw forever?

A very random tourist spot out in the fields is this lonesome big tree. According to our guide, it wasn't originally part of the tour but a lot of visitors were requesting to stop here to take photos because she is pretty.

akala nyo lang wala, pero meron! meron! 😝

Later on, it was named Puno ng Walang Forever. Maybe some broken-hearted person visited and decided to name it like that. Nobody really knows haha.

No Entrance Fee

🚩 Salibungot Beach

The last stop of our tour was Salibungot Beach. This was where the you will find the huge "We 💗 Jomalig" sign.

yes, we do!

It's not all about that. This beach is spectacular because of its long sweeping golden sand lined with Agoho trees.

isn't she lovely?

Not only that, but we also noticed that this beach is different from all the others we visited because of its depth.

Beau floating til the sun sets

You don't have to go far for a good swim! This was where we had fun swimming the most.

imperfect sunset

We stayed here until the sun went down. It was a bit dark already when we left. Super nasulit namin yung tour!

We miss you, Jomalig!

Of course, we didn't leave without having our pictures taken here.

No Entrance Fee

That was how our Day 2 went. We highly recommend you do this tour. Please don't miss it when you visit Jomalig!

How we made it to Jomalig Island:
  1. Raymond Bus from Sampaloc, Manila bound to Real, Quezon.
  2. Alighted in Real and took tricycle to Ungos Port.
  3. At the port, pay the terminal fee, register and buy ticket for the boat bound to Jomalig Island

Transpo, Resort & Tour Expenses:

Php 195.00 - Bus, Manila to Real (one-way)
         20.00 - Tric, Real to Ungos Port (10 one-way)
       800.00 - Boat, Ungos Port to Jomalig Island vice versa (400 one-way)
       170.00 - Jomalig Tourism and Environmental Fee (per pax)
         70.00 - Habal, Port to Resort (per pax)
       150.00 - Banana's Beach Resort Entrance Fee (per pax)
         25.00 - Tent Pitching Fee (50 per tent/whole stay)
       600.00 - Habal-Habal Tour (per pax)
         50.00 - Lingayen Cove Entrance Fee (per pax)
         30.00 - Pamana White Beach Entrance Fee (per pax)
         30.00 - Kanaway Islet Entrance Fee (per pax)
         50.00 - Habal, Resort to Port (per pax)
         35.00 - Tric, Real to Infanta (per pax)
       220.00 - Van, Infanta to Manila (per pax)
Php 2,445.00

Like I always say, the food budget depends on your group. We like bringing our own rice and easy to cook ulam. This time we had marinated liempo and adobo which lasted for a day and a half. We brought bread, canned goods, and noodles for our breakfast too. When I computed our food-related expenses, it summed up to Php 800.00 per person. It's not only the meals we had on the island. It also included the food we ate while in transit from and to Manila. Super all-in! The fee we paid at the Real hostel and the tric fares when we were left were already excluded as well.

Total Expenses per person: Php 3,412

Php 3,500 is already a very safe budget for 3D2N. But of course, I would recommend you to bring a little extra for emergency and your peace of mind.


Our trip happened before the island got featured on TV shows. We felt lucky to be there during that time when there were fewer tourists. It made our experience much more special. I also value our genuine conversations with the locals, especially with our guides. They shared how over-tourism is becoming a community problem. I hope the island maintains its enchanting beauty despite its newfound fame.

"At the beach, life is different. We live by the currents, plan by the tides and follow the sun."

Where to Stay in Jomalig Island: Banana's Beach Resort

6/08/2020 07:24:00 AM 0 Comments
We settled to stay in this resort based on the positive reviews we've read from their previous visitors. They stood out among the other options we've checked and it turned out to be the best decision!

Banana's Beach Resort

Their place was super awesome! There is a nice beach in front and they also have their own sand bar during low tide.

Banana's Sand Bar

The resort is also very clean and well-maintained. Clean surroundings and clean restrooms, I'm all good!

restrooms and free unli-water, just pump it guys!

The atmosphere is very homey too. Super chill vibes.

lovin' the island life!

The resort also has "dirty kitchen" for visitors. Just buy your charcoal. We never used this since we have our camping stove and own cook set. They also offer meals for Php 100 each (unli-rice) and they also accept paluto for a minimal fee.

cooking space

We just opted to go swimming and lounging on their beach front on Day 1 because it's just too beautiful.

paano mo gugustuhing umalis dito?

Accommodation Types:

If you are avid beach campers like we are, tent is the way to go! We brought our own tent. Tent Pitching Fee is just Php 50 and that is for the entire stay!

how about waking up to this view every morning?

If you don't have a tent, there is no need to worry. They also have Nipa Huts available only for Php 300/night. It can accommodate 4-5 persons and it includes beddings and a fan.

their cute huts

Another great factor of this resort is its people. They are very kind, sincere, and caring. I'm not being biased because I came from the same province. They are just really good people and treats you like their own family.

Other Things You Should Know:
  • Free Drinking Water
  • Free Coffee
  • The resort has a generator for electricity. It runs from 4:00 PM to 6:00 AM.
  • There is poor mobile signal at the resort. Not a big problem for me as the place is just too relaxing. Perfect time for a digital detox!
  • There are dogs at the resort but they are friendly and not intrusive.

Banana's Beach Resort
Sitio Salibungot, Barangay Talisay, Jomalig, Quezon
Contact Persons: Tatay Say/Nanay Nora/Dave
Contact #s: 0928-750-6148; 0936-913-2132

Entrance Fee: Php 150/head
Tent Pitching Fee: Php 50/entire stay
Nipa Hut: Php 300/night

Accommodation Rating: 💗💗💗💗💗

DISCLAIMER: We were not sponsored by the resort in any manner. We paid for our stay. I just like promoting local businesses with commendable services. It's my own way of helping the locals in places I have visited. 😄 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Korean Tourist Visa Application for Filipinos (NEW)

5/26/2020 06:59:00 AM 0 Comments
The last time I went to Korea was in 2015. Back then, I only knew a few things about the country or even Kpop. The trip was also too short. Fast forward to 2019, I am already into so much K artists, K films, K dramas and guess what? K beauty products haha! Going to Korea is no longer just because I scored a promo fare. I really wanted to go this time!

Fall in Seoul

So much has changed from 4 years ago, even the visa application process. I created a guide before on how to apply directly at the embassy. Now, I also wanted to share how I got my new visa from an accredited travel agency.

1) Complete the Requirements

The requirements remain pretty much the same:
  1. Fully-accomplished Visa Application Form.
  2. 1 piece Passport size colored picture.
  3. Original Passport (should be valid for more than 6 months)
  4. Photocopy of Passport Bio-page (page 2)
  5. Original & Photocopy of valid visa/s and arrival stamps to OECD member countries for the past 5 years (If applicable, and Korean Visas will not be counted). You may check the list of OECD member countries here.
  6. Original Certificate of Employment (must include applicant's position, date hired, compensation, office address, HR land line number (cell-phone number is not allowed), HR e-mail address).
  7. Original Personal Bank Certificate (must include account type, current balance, account opening date, ADB) It doesn't matter if it's a payroll or personal account. Both can be accepted.
  8. Bank Statement (original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last 3 months). Same with above. As long as your account has activity and/or has enough money.
  9. Photocopy of ITR (Income Tax Return) or Form 2316. 
  10. Copy of PRC Card or IBP Card (only if applicable) 

* Frequent travellers who have travelled as tourist to OECD member countries (excluding Japan) within 5 years are exempted from submitting ITR.

I did not submit the last 2 requirements. I have multiple visits to other OECD countries for the last 5 years and I don't have #10.

2) Submit through Designated Travel Agency

So, after completing the requirements I went to my chosen travel agency. My first choice was JTB but I saw them posting a longer processing time due to the high volume of applicants. That was when I decided to just go to City Travel & Tours. Their location is also more convenient for me because they are just behind my office building in Makati.

free no more

Filing my application with them was a breeze. They'll just review all of your documents, process your payment, and give you an estimated date of release. During my time of application, the processing time was 15 business days. There were 2 Korean holidays during that period as well, so I had to add those days too.

If you're getting anxious, you can also check the status of your application online. My visa was approved on the exact date I was told. I called the agency to check on when I can get my passport back. I was advised to get it the next morning because according to them, they pick it up from the embassy in the afternoon (day of approval).

3) Collect your passport from the Travel Agency

After my shift, I dropped by at the agency to collect my passport. And surprise!!! I got 5 years Multiple Entry!!! 


So happy to get multiple entry just on my second time. 

Those are the three steps in getting a Korean Tourist Visa. Very easy, right? I actually find this new process easier since you don't have to go to the embassy anymore, all you have to do is prepare and submit your documents, pay and wait for the results.

Here's where I submitted my application:

LG8 Cityland 10 Tower 1, H.V Dela Costa St., Salcedo Village, Makati City
Phone: 812-9111

Processing Fee: Php 700.00

I'm quite satisfied with their service. I just don't like the fact that I have to be the one to contact them to follow up on the result and the passport pickup. Unlike my fave agency for my Japan visa, they are the ones who reach out when it has been processed and already available. Not complaining, I just think they can do better.

You can find the list of other designated travel agencies from this link.

If you have any questions or want to share your own experiences and tips, please use the comment box below.

Thank you and have fun in Korea!

Monday, August 20, 2018

Canada Tourist Visa Application for Filipinos

8/20/2018 12:42:00 AM 2 Comments
Canada was not on top of my list this year. All the documents I prepared were originally for the purpose of getting a UK Visa. But as day passes by, I started to have a change of heart. I mean, UK is still a part of Europe. Why not visit another continent this time? While I was doing my research, I also found out that getting a Canadian Visa will be less tedious. I don't have to print a lot of documents as requirements can be submitted online. I don't have to get a confirmed flight tickets as well. A few more research and I found myself submitting my application to the CIC website haha. :)

Toronto Skyline - Photo Credits to Tourism Toronto

Prior to application, I followed a few steps in the website:

  • Find out if you need a visa - just answer all the questions, then it will identify the type of visa you need to apply for
  • Option to apply online or apply on paper - I chose to apply online
  • Find out if you are eligible and apply online - again you have to answer all the questions. Please answer carefully and truthfully as this is where they will base your eligibility and your document checklist or personal checklist for your application.
  • Important! Don't forget to download or print the personalized document checklist. To apply online, you will need the Personal Reference Code printed on the top of the checklist. It also has the list of documents you need to submit. 

To apply online, you must have access to the following:
  • A scanner or camera to create electronic copies of your documents
  • A credit card

These are the requirements I was asked to submit:

  1. IMM5257 or the Application for Visitor Visa Form
    • just fill out the form electronically, don't worry about the signature just put the date of completion and then Validate
  2. IMM5645 or the Family Information Form
    • same with IMM 5257, a signature is not required just the date
  3. Passport
    • Scanned passport photo page and all pages with visas and stamps.
  4. Photo
    •  Your scanned photo should be passport-sized, neutral face and in white background.
  5. Travel History
    • Scanned current and expired passports including all pages with visas and stamps
    • My electronic visas from Australia and New Zealand since they didn't issue visa stickers on my passport
    • My round trip boarding passes to Australia and New Zealand since I also don't have passport stamps from their immigration. Everything was done electronically!
  6. Proof of Means of Financial Support
    • Bank Certificate - I requested my bank to reflect my account opening date and ADB. Not really required but I think this will give an edge to my application.
    • Bank Statement - for the last 4 months. If you have an online banking account, you can save or print as pdf from there. For passbook accounts, scan it.
    • Credit Card Statements - for the last 4 months. This is optional but I decided to include this to show my good credit standing and my substantial credit limit to let them know I have alternate means to afford this trip.*
    • Certicate of Employment
    • Income Tax Return 2017
  7. Purpose of Travel
    • Flight Details - not necessarily a confirmed booking, it can only be a reservation
    • Hotel Booking Confirmation - you can book one with a free-cancellation policy
    • Day-to-Day Itinerary - your itinerary should match the amount of money you have in your account so you won't seem questionable
  8. Optional Documents
    • Cover Letter - explaining the purpose of your travel and your planned length of stay. This will help you to explain your honest intentions on why and how long you're visiting their country*

Those marked with asterisk (*) are optional requirements that I submitted which I believed could positively affect my visa application.

Please also note that requirements may vary from person to person. It will depend on the answers you provided on the eligibility questionnaire.

Additional Notes: 
  • CIC website has a file size limit. The size of each document must not exceed 4MB.
  • Each document type should be uploaded as a single file only. For example for Proof of Means of Financial Support, I merged my bank certificate, bank statement, credit card statements, COE and ITR as one PDF file before uploading.

Helpful Websites for Optimizing your Files:

Once your done preparing your documents, you can now proceed to the online application.

How to Apply Online:

Step 1: Create a GCKey (CIC) account

When you click the link above, you will be redirected to the CIC website and you should see this:

Scroll down until you see the Continue to GC Key button then click on Register.

Sign up for a new account. Make sure to register your most frequently used email address because this is where you will receive updates regarding your application.

After completing your registration, you will be ask what you would like to apply for. Select Visitor Visa. If you already checked your eligibility prior to registration like me, you can already provide your Personal Reference Code right away. If not, just follow the instructions and answer the questionnaire.

Step 2: Upload your documents

After entering your Personal Reference Code, it's finally time to submit your Application Form and Supporting Documents!

This is how it would look like after your submission.

Step 3: Pay the Visa Fee

Once your done uploading your documents, you can now proceed to paying your visa fee. It is CAD 100. All major credit cards are accepted. Just fill out the credit card details then click "Process Transaction". Just be patient because it may take a while. Don't double click to avoid getting charged twice.

You will be prompted "Transaction Approved" after your payment and you can print that page as your transaction receipt. The conversion of CAD 100 at the time that I paid was PHP 4,115.

Step 4: Submit your passport to VFS.

VFS is the third party agency that processes paper visa applications and accepts the online applicants passport submission for Canada.

But don't submit it right away! Monitor your account and wait for the Embassy's notice requesting you to bring your passport. Don't worry, you will also receive an email every time there's an update being made on your application.

Wait for this!
Once you receive that message, you may now proceed to submitting your passport to VFS:

Canada Visa Application Centre

VFS Services Phils. Pvt. Inc.
Mezzanine Floor Ecoplaza Bldg.
Chino Roces Ave Ext.
Makati city 1231

Hours of Operation:

Application/Passport Submission: 7:00-15:00
Passport Collection: 15:00-16:00

You just need to bring your passport and the passport request letter you received (downloadable from your CIC account). Upon arrival you will be given a Consent Form and a Personal Info form where you will indicate your delivery address for the courier.

I paid for the following fees:

Php  576.00 - Passport Transmission
        303.00 - Courier
          69.00 - SMS Fee
Php  948.00 - Total Paid

Courier is optional but I find it more convenient and more cost efficient. Grab is super expensive nowadays that my cost of going back and forth to VFS actually costs more than the courier fee. But you can always go there personally to collect your passport if you want to.

I guess SMS fee is also optional but whatever. I just availed it haha. Though I would say that it is not helpful at all unlike the SMS service of the NZ VAC.

Processing Time

My visa processing took 10 business days. Not bad, right? For a country with tons of applicants everyday, this is pretty fast.

They granted me a Multiple Entry visa valid until my passport expires. It would have been so much better if I still have several years left on my passport but it's expiring next year huhu! But still, I'm very happy with the outcome of my application. Besides, I don't think I can still wait for 2019 before visiting Canada. :)

Note: I deleted crucial information from the photo because this visa will still be valid until my passport expires.

My Application Timeline:

May 07 - submitted online application
May 15 - received notification that a decision has been made and the original passport request
May 22 - dropped my passport to VFS and paid processing fees
May 25 - received my passport back with the visa

I didn't bring my passport to VFS right after I received the original passport request notice (I was traveling hehe). Because of that, the processing time took longer than it should be. But all in all, it only took 10 business days. 7 business days from the time I submitted online and got the request to bring my passport to VFS. Then 3 business days from the time I submitted my passport to VFS up to the day it was delivered back home with my visa. I consider the entire process a little bit easier than the others.

Honestly, Canada is an expensive place to travel. But there is nothing you can't do as long as you are well-prepared and you are saving smartly. I also have to feed that curiosity of why there are so many Filipinos who chose to live in that country. What is so great about this cold country in the North? I already heard interesting stories from the people I met in VFS when I submitted my passport but I can't wait to see and know more.

On a lighter note, I'm also excited to see the filming locations of Goblin in Quebec haha! I have to go guys, gotta find that portal that will lead me to Gong Yoo. :)

Scenes from Goblin filmed in Canada :)

Curiosity, especially intellectual inquisitiveness, is what separates the truly alive from those who are merely going through the motions.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Isla Verde: Batangas City's Hidden Gem

7/29/2018 09:40:00 PM 0 Comments
We were sad about the closing of Burot Beach to the public. Calatagan used to be our go-to place whenever we needed a quick getaway from the city. Beau tried to look for a new place we can go to for our spontaneous beach escapade. We initially thought about going to Masasa in Tingloy but with all the hype it's getting lately, I don't think it's a good choice. I don't like crowded beaches. He told me there's this island called Isla Verde. I honestly haven't heard of it before so I think it is not under many people's radar yet. I was sold.

raw beauty

Isla Verde is located within the vicinity of Batangas City. It lies along the Verde Island Passage, a strait that separates mainland Luzon and Mindoro. It is a very busy sea lane as it is the main shipping route from Manila to Visayas and Mindanao in the South.

farm life feels :)

There are several resorts in Isla Verde but considering our travel style and budget, we opted to stay in Isla Verde Tropical Friendly Resort. We also read some good reviews in Facebook so we gave it a shot.

our yummy baon :)

The first time I saw it, my impression was - yaiikss it's so rocky. Saan ka magswi-swimming dito? But then, I just took that thought off my mind and proceeded to the resort to check-in. We were already hungry by the time we reached the resort so we decided to eat lunch first.

our camp site

After filling up our tummies, that's the time we started pitching our tent. They gave us an option on where we can camp. They have a paved camp site at the back surrounded by tall trees. Knowing that there are not too many people during our visit and that there is no electricity provided at night, we opted to camp in the front area. I think it'll be scary at night if we are the only people there.

moments like this :)

The resort has a relaxing atmosphere. I mentioned about the rocky beach front, right? It's not only that but the waves are also strong in this side of the island. So there aren't many things you can do here but just to chill and watch the world go by. I don't know about you, but for me it is absolutely fine. I can just read a book or take long naps and I'll be happy.

the rocky shores 

I appreciate the resort creating this man-made salt water pool. Since you can't swim at the beach, it serves as an excellent place to unwind and still enjoy the sea. It gets filled during high tide. :)

my favorite part of the resort

Don't worry about the resort not having a sandy shore. You can just hike to the other side of the island going to Mahabang Buhangin for a swimmable beach. They actually offer guides for that but we always do things DIY and our goal is always to save money. As an adventurous duo, we just hiked on our own.

the island's verdant hills, hence the name isla verde

Tada! We found it! We didn't get lost. Mahabang Buhangin still isn't a perfect beach. No fine sands but mostly pebbles. But the water here is so calm and crystal clear.

floating without a care in the world

There are still rocks at the deeper parts but very safe for swimming. This area is even great for snorkeling.

pebbly but lovely :)

We spent majority of our second day in this beach. We never get to explore the other parts of the island anymore but I heard the Sawang part is also beautiful.

♥ happy times

No matter which island we visit, we always always look for freshly caught fish to buy. We were lucky to be able to get some, yay! We feasted on fried and sarciadong fish that night.

weeee! from the sea to our tummy :)

We stayed there for 2 days and 2 nights. Why not 3 days? Because the boat going back to the city leaves at 4:00 AM! We were technically just there for 2 whole days. Sad. Waking up very early while on vacation is just ugh.

It was a very fun vacation until it ends. Isla Verde has a rough beauty. You won't love it at first sight. You have to explore it and enjoy what it has to offer before you can appreciate it. We can see ourselves returning to this island.

How we made it to Isla Verde:
  1. Ceres Bus from Buendia/Taft bound to Batangas City.
  2. Alighted in Batangas Grand Terminal and took jeepney going to Bayan (city center).
  3. We were informed that the boat doesn't leave from Tabangao that day, so we took a tricycle to SM Batangas City Terminal for the alternate route.
  4. At the SM Terminal, we rode a jeep going to Dela Paz Port. 
  5. From Dela Paz Port, we took the boat going to Isla Verde and got off in Sampalukan.

*Under normal circumstances, the port being used by the boat going to Isla Verde is Tabangao. But during our visit, locals said the waves are strong that day so the boat was stationed in Dela Paz.

  • There is only one boat servicing the island every day. Arrive early or else you will have to wait for the next day!
    • Tabangao to Isla Verde: Departs at 9:00 AM
    • Isla Verde to Tabangao: Departs at 4:00 AM
  • Travel time from Manila to Batangas City is 1.5-2 hours. Ideal time to leave Manila would be between 4:00-5:00 AM.

Transpo and Resort Expenses per person:

Php 344.00 - Bus, Pasay to Batangas City RT (172 one-way)
         24.00 - Jeep from Batangas Grand Terminal RT (12 one-way)
         15.00 - Tricycle going to SM (one-way only)
         45.00 - Jeep from SM Batangas City to Dela Paz Port (one-way only)
       240.00 - Boat, Batangas City Port to Island Verde RT (120 one-way)
       250.00 - Camping/Tent Pitching Fee (Camping fee 100/pax, 150 tent pitching fee/night)
         50.00 - Mineral Water (100 for 5L)

that melodramatic sunset

What I Liked About It:
  • The beach and the water is clean.
  • Budget-friendly. Rates are very affordable.
  • It is not too far from Manila and very accessible to public transportation.
  • It is not crowded (when we went there), it made our stay very relaxing.
  • Clean bathrooms and toilets.
  • The resort people are very kind, cool and accommodating. All our requests had been met.

What I Didn't Like About It:
  • The beach in front of the resort is very rocky, not suitable for swimming. So you have to explore the other side of the island for a good swimming spot. I'm not sure about the other resorts though.
  • The schedule of the boat going back to the city. It's too damn early. :)

Isla Verde Tropical Friendly Resort 
Sampalukan, Brgy. San Agustin Kanluran, Isla Verde, Batangas City
Contact Person: Tita Jo
Contact #s: +63 2 7825833; +63 916 440 8647

Life is like the ocean. It can be calm or still, and rough or rigid, but in the end, it is always beautiful.