Semi-charmed Kind of Trip

March 23, 2010 at 11:03 PM | Posted in Travel | Leave a comment
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I just got back from a business trip to Laoag last Saturday and boy was it eventful! I was with an officemate and a colleague when I went there and we stayed for three days and two nights at the newly opened Ilocos Norte Hotel and Convention Center. My officemate and I opted to travel by bus as my friend Lily, who’ve been to Laoag before, recommended it for the scenic views we would see on our way there aside from the fact that it was cheaper. We booked seats on Florida bus and chose one that came with a small toilet as the journey from Manila to Laoag would take us eight to ten hours. I’m used to long land travels since that’s what I do when I go back home to my hometown in Bicol. Normally, I prefer sitting by the window and seeing different places and people along the way when I travel.

The journey to Laoag took us nine-and-a-half hours because the bus kept stopping to pick up more passengers along the way (the bus wasn’t full when we left). Ironically, the movie that was being shown on the bus was Speed. I stayed awake for most of the journey and just drifted off for a few hours. I usually don’t sleep soundly when traveling long distances. Somehow, I’m always conscious about my surroundings and the possibility that I might miss my bus stop.

I was practically groggy when we arrived in Laoag. There was a hotel van waiting for us at the bus station that took us to the hotel. The location of the hotel isn’t exactly convenient. It is located within a sprawling complex with no easy access to any public transport. There are no jeepneys, tricycles, or taxi cabs that ply the area – not even a pedicab. One would need a car to go to and from the hotel.

Checking-in at the hotel, we were warmly met by the gracious and accommodating General Manager. The Standard room we stayed in was spacious, clean, and comfy. I was delighted that there was a small balcony too. Our room came with coffee-making facilities, bottled water, mini-bar, cable TV (with very limited channels), and telephone. The bathroom was OK but there was no towel rack and bath doormat.

Our first day at the hotel was practically boring. My officemate and I attended to business stuff and tried to go online using Wi-Fi (we brought a laptop). But the Wi-Fi connection was only accessible at the hotel lobby. It was a good thing that we brought our own wireless broadband plug-its. I tried using my Smart Bro plug-it but due to the laptop’s hardware “problems,” I wasn’t able to. So I used my officemate’s Globe Tattoo plug-it.

Feeling tired and sleepy from the long trip, I went to bed early at around 10:00 PM while my officemate spent the night reading the Sookie Stackhouse e-book.

To be continued.

Valentine Treat for Myself

February 3, 2009 at 5:46 PM | Posted in Lifestyle, Travel | Leave a comment
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Nine more days to go before I head out to Matabungkay Beach in Batangas for some R & R. I’m already excited with my trip! It’s perfect timing actually. I will be staying there for two nights on February 14 and 15 with my friend Andy. So in a way, this vacation will be a treat for myself come Valentine’s Day. I also see it as an early summer getaway. I know that come March, vacationers will start to trickle to the beaches and by then the place will be crowded. I prefer quiet beaches with little or no other people around. That way I can have the beach to myself and my friends. I just hope that there will be few people around when Andy and I get to the beach. If not, the resort that we will be staying at – the Coral Beach Club – has a swimming pool so we have an alternative. I’ve never been to Matabungkay Beach
so this will be a first time for me. I can’t wait!

Summer Trip to Palawan, Part Deux

March 25, 2008 at 2:32 PM | Posted in Animals, Lifestyle, Musings, Travel | Leave a comment
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Buenavista View Deck overlooking Ulugan Bay

My housemate and I woke up early the next morning for the Underground River tour package we availed. We weren’t suppose to get this tour package since we only had very limited time in Palawan. But a few tour guides we’ve spoken with have said that we still had enough time to squeeze in this
tour package before we fly back to Manila. And so we decided that we take the Underground River tour on our second day there then get the Honda Bay tour on the third day.


Our tour guide told us to be early for the Underground River tour because it would take a whole day. So we had our early breakfast in the hotel then boarded the tour van at 7:30 AM. The drive to the wharf took about over two hours. Then we, along with the other tourists, had to take a pump boat and cross the sea to get to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, which featured the 8.2 km-long underground river. I must say, the Underground River cruise was really exciting! It was an actual adventure going inside the long, huge cave aboard a paddle boat. Since it was pitch black inside the cave, we had to use a light to see the stalactites and stalagmites there that were so abundant — not to mention the hordes of bats hanging on the ceiling of the cave!


view from inside the cave

It took us 45 minutes to get through the cave and back. Then we had lunch at the park, among Palawan’s wildlife which included several lizards (didn’t know what type of lizards they were) and a couple of monkeys. After lunch, our tour guide gave us only a few minutes to take pictures then we headed back to our respective hotels. It was only three in the afternoon when we returned to the hotel so Marj and I decided to take a bit of rest in our room first before we hang out again at the SJD Center, at another coffee shop. We stayed there until six PM.


the shore of Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park

The third day came and Marj and I went to Honda Bay with our usual group of fellow tourists. The drive to the Honda Bay wharf took only 15 minutes. Then we boarded a pump boat for some island hopping. The first island we visited was Pandan Island. For me, this was the best island among the three islands we visited. It had a wide stretch of shore with white sand fringed with palm trees. The shore wasn’t rocky so swimming wasn’t much of a problem. What I loved most about this island apart from the wide shore was that it wasn’t teeming with people. You could have peace and quiet there. We took our lunch on the island then hop on to the next at around noon. Our flight back to Manila was scheduled late in the afternoon of that day so we really had to rush. The second island we visited, the Snake Island, was too commercialized. There were crowds of people there and the shoreline was narrow and grassy though it’s still white sand. The shallow waters were rocky too so it was a bit uncomfortable swimming there. The third and last island we hopped on was the Starfish Island. Though the stretch of white sand was wide enough, the shores were so rocky. Swimming there was pretty uncomfortable.


neat paw prints of a dog

We were given an hour there to swim before Marj and I were whisked off back to the wharf and the hotel at around three PM. Good thing we already checked-out from the hotel before the tour so we only had to grab our bags from the front desk and change our clothes then get to the airport. We arrived at the airport in time and by past six in the evening, we were back in Manila.


view from the boat

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