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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!!! 


Kamsahamnida!


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 submit my application:

CITY TRAVEL & TOURS CORPORATION
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!