last hurrah for summer. spent the night in bagac to celebrate a Gary’s bday with a coachella themed shoot. most pictures taken by me using my iphone 7. minor edits using lightroom.
summer indeed ended coz a few hours after dinner it rained really hard and our tents started to leak. water started to enter the tents and before we know it we were all struggling to transfer our things back to the car. we got all our things safely in our car’s compartment and we decided to stay in the car until the rain stopped. Around 2am when the rain finally stopped, we checked our tents and dried them so we could sleep. after about 30 mins everyone except ivy was snoring. we were all exhausted.
I woke up with some loud chat outside the tent. with me half asleep, i went to the car and took a few things and i accidentally left my car keys in the compartment and realized it only after i closed the trunk. an hour of checking for locksmiths and mechanics to help us out while driving ivy’s car, we found a small talyer and got a local mechanic to help us out. to cut the long story short, we finally got my car opened with the help of 2 bronze rods and 2 skillful mechanic to hook the lock to open the car.
we left bagac before lunch and went to clark as recommended by emz to try the unli samgyeopsal for P250. after more than an hour munching on lettuce and pork and drinking bottomless iced tea, we made out way home but not without an obligatory stop over to our favorite coffee shop starbucks along nlex.
last hurrah for summer. spent the night in bagac to celebrate a Gary’s bday with a coachella themed shoot. most pictures taken by me using my iphone 7. minor edits using lightroom.
April 13 – Day 2 of our 3 day Cebu adventure last holy week started early yet again. Around 430AM, we were fetched at the hotel to go to the town of oslob. Out itinerary is as follows:
Day 2 Oslob Tour 📌
📍Whale Shark Encounter
This is my second time to do whale watching and it was as exciting and as exhilarating like the first time i’ve experienced it 2 years ago. i still didn’t get a good photo with the whale but i hope some of these pics clearly represent how awesome the experience was.
Sumilon sandbar was not a sandbar when we got there. we were a bit late since we came all the way from whale watching and it was high tide already. we just saw a small portion of the sand bar when we got there and the rest was engulfed with knee deep clear waters.
Binalayan falls was a bit underwhelming. While it lacks the charm of Kawasan, the thing that irks me most is that they allow tourist to jump off from the topmost section of the waterfall. to think that there is a special technique to break your fall as the water is not deep enough is not safe at all. it was also too crowded that we didn’t spend too much time there and decided to proceed to Osmena Peak
Ending the day catching the sun to set at Osmena peak was another highlight of this tour. The road to the peak is a bit nauseating but the view at the peak makes the trip worthwhile. it was also my 2nd visit but my experience was entirely different. the first time i visited this popular destination, it was early in the morning and the peak was engulfed in zero visibility fog and it gave a very eerie vibe. i must say that it is better to visit during sunset but be prepared that it may get overcrowded. We got lucky that we got the best guides and we found the best spot to get the best view of the glorious sunset.
For your tour needs, please contact MCDC Travel and Tours if you want a safe, hassle free and affordable tour.
Photos taken using Iphone 7 plus and go pro Hero 5
The town of Badian is becoming hugely popular thanks to its unique and extremely exhilirating tourist attraction. The Badian canyoneering introduces a new way of experiencing the outdoors. Canyoneering or canyoning is travelling in canyons using a variety of techniques that may include other outdoor activities such as walking, scrambling, climbing, jumping, abseiling (rappelling), and swimming (source: wikipedia). MCDC Travel and Tours provided us the best experience while ensuring a hassle free and safe adrenaline filled experience. You can visit their website:http://www.mcdcphtravel.com/
MCDC offers an affordable 3 day tour of the best attractions Cebu has to offer. Day 1 of our 3 day Cebu tour started as early as 2am. I came to Cebu via PAL a day earlier than my cousins and nephews so i had to wait for them to arrive via 2go to start the tour. I was fetched at the Travelbee Business inn where i stayed for a while. We travelled for more than an hour to check in at our hotel for the next 3 days in Badian. The official tour started at 6am and our itinerary for day 1 included the following:
📍Pescador island hopping
📍 sardine run
📍Dolphin watching if they show up
📍Full Canyoneering Adventure
📍kawasan falls with bamboo rafting
We had the most accommodating and caring tour guides edjie and in-in from MCDC. While we had a full packed itinerary and despite the lack of sleep we had to keep up with the tireless energy of our guides who always have our safety in mind. They always check and ensure that we are having fun and enjoying every minute of our tour. They are our cheerleaders and encourages us to try every jump even when we think we can’t do it. They are also excellent photographers and videographers who are able to capture the highlights of our adventure. if you are looking for a tour company that would take care of a hassle free 3 day cebu tour, i highly suggest you contact them.
The tour ended at Cebu’s most iconic waterfall, Kawasan falls. And after a physically challenging canyoneering adventure, everyone deserves a massage. of course we got our well deserved massage courtesy of Kawasan falls. we boarded a bamboo raft that took us to the base of the falls for a good beating. I got the best HARD massage ever!
Thanks to our tour guides, we concluded Day 1 without any major injuries. Despite a few minor mishaps (a few slips and my nephew’s losing his go pro session following a major jump which a local diver found afterwards), we really had the time of our lives. it was indeed the best way to experience and commune with nature.
Again, please contact MCDC Travel and Tours if you want a safe, hassle free and affordable tour.
Rode 2go ferry via Batangas port to Romblon around 10pm. It took us about 8 hrs to get there but i slept for about 6 hrs of the trip. When we got to the port of Romblon, we were fetched by a “chariot” which is a custom built tricycle able to carry 6 passengers. After about an hour, we reached Lamao Beach Resort our home for our entire stay in Romblon. Lamao is a very charming resort with towering coconut trees and very serene atmosphere. The resort is also very lucky to have the most accommodating staff! We were treated like kings while we were there. Our room was for P1,200 good for 6 persons already. Very affordable!
Our first day was spent beach hopping with Bonbon beach and Tiamban beach on top of our list. Bonbon beach is no longer readily accessible since the land near the beach was heavily fenced by the family who owns the property. We accessed Bonbon thru Tiamban beach walking for about 30 mins. We left the beach after lunch and went back to the resort to rest and wait for sunset. We concluded the night with 2 bottles of smirnoff each.
The next day was equally not too hectic with a trip back to the center of the municipality visiting Fuerza San Andres, old churches and some souvenir shops. We particularly bought Marble product given that Romblon is the Marble capital of the Philippines. we went back to the resort after a few hours. Around past 5, we went up to the resort owner’s mansion on the top of a hill giving us a good view of the sunset. After sunset, we had a quick videoke session with san mig apple to give us some boost of confidence.
Wonder how it is to live in the world upside down? At this interactive establishment, you will literally experience that. Located at the CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard in Pasay, Upside Down museum is one of the weirdest attractions in the metro today. With P450 entrance fee, you will be entertained with a lot of instagrammable and photo ops worthy sections on this small yet packed establishment. Divided into different sections with different concepts, you’ll have to get really creative with your poses to bring the concepts to life. If you ran out of ideas, the staff are very much willing to direct you to get the best shot possible or you could check the monitors with sample poses for inspiration. it was a unique experience and worthy of the slightly pricey entrance fee.
You can check out their facebook page and their website for more details
Location and contact numbers:
CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay, Metro Manila, Upside Down Museum 02 834 8997 / 02 506 0080
Holi is a Hindu spring festival celebrated in India and Nepal, also known as the “festival of colours” or the “festival of love”. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships, and is also celebrated as a thanksgiving for a good harvest. (source wikipedia)
Last Sunday, March 12, was this year’s Holi festival in Manila. I experienced my first holi festival in Manila about 2 years ago. This year, the festival was yet again held at the SM MOA by the bay area. It was as colorful, as festive and as fun as I remembered it the first time I attended it. It was more fun because i get to celebrate it with friends from IG and my former colleagues.
Here are a few snaps i took at the event
been a while since i updated this blog. a lot has happened since my last post and i can’t wait to share some of the things i did while i am on a hiatus on this blog. will be sharing more pics soon.
Getting a tattoo is a lifetime commitment to mark your skin with ink art. You need to think through it hard and prepare yourself from physical pain and the stereotype that is somehow attached to tattoed individuals.
Traditional tattooeing or “pambabatok” in the Philippines dates back older than the Spanish regime. Several centuries on, tribal tattooing is almost non-existent in the country with the proliferation of modern day tattooeing. Kalinga may be the last province to practice this art and it is home to the oldest living treasure to continue this tradition.
For more than eight decades, Whang-Od Oggay has been hailed as “The Last Mambabatok” who has been tattoeing the headhunting warriors and women of her Kalinga tribe. She is from the Butbut Tribe of Buscalan Village in Tinglayan. Her tattoo ink is composed of the mixture of charcoal from cooking pots and water that will be tapped into the skin through a thorn of a calamansi or pomelo tree.
“Due to her status as the last mambabatok, many netizens are lobbying her to be one of the National Artists of the Philippines. Instead of National Artist, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago urged her colleagues in the Philippine Senate through a resolution that Whang-od should be nominated as one of the National Living Treasures or Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan, which is equal rank to National Artist” (wikipedia).
The simple designs that she etches on the skin were derived from the nature around her in the mountainous region of the Cordilleras – outlines of centipedes, scorpion, crab, birds trees and snakes or basic geometric patterns such as diamonds and squares.
Not for the faint-hearted, this slow, primitive method is extremely painful. Probably because her age, Whang od who is believed to be 99 years old already, is very heavy-handed. She relentlessly hammers your desired design to your skin and does not mind the excruciating pain you are experiencing.
As the pomelo thorn repeatedly puncture skin and the mixture of charcoal and water injected to your skin, this practice is extremely unsanitary. No anesthesia is applied and only baby wipes (at times USED baby wipes) are used to wipe out blood and excess ink. At times soaking the wipes in a bucket of water as if to cleanse it and get extra moisture. After the tattoo, only coconut oil is applied to the finished body art.
Whang od, a spinster, has never married after her boyfriend died. She has trained her grandnieces from her siblings the art of pambabatok. Grace Palisca, the young master and Elyang Wigan, are her last chance to continue this ancient art.
● Choose your design wisely. A permanent skin art should have meaning behind it. You don’t want people asking what your tattoo is and not be able to explain the story behind it. It will definitely be a conversation piece so choose an interesting story to tell.
● Think hard where you want to have the tattoo. If you want it to be discreet or you want to proudly showcase it, where in your body you want it placed should be highly thought of.
● There are certain body parts that they may refrain from tattooeing. Body parts also have varying pain index. So choose wisely and have a couple of options just in case your first option will not work.
● Talk to the artist about the design and body placement. Make sure she is clear of the design and the size of the tattoo.
● An outline of the tattoo will be made with the same ink. Before the tapping starts make sure you are ok with the outline, size and the position of the tattoo.
● Prepare yourself from physical pain. We have different pain tolerances and if you are the type that screams when a needle pricks you, this may be your demise (just kidding!). Wear a diaper cause you might pee or worse soil your pants. Lol.
● Remember to breathe normally. This will help with the pain. Don’t hold your breath, you don’t want to faint in the middle of the session.
● Minimize movements once the tattoo session starts. You don’t want to have crooked lines just because you can’t keep yourself still for several minutes.
● Make sure you have a friend or a loved one with you. Someone to hold your hand if the pain is excruciating. Someone to help you get distracted. Someone to take your pic or video while you bite your lip or cry if you can’t help it. Lol
● Bring your own wipes. As i mentioned, at times there are actions that may make you cringe because you know that it may be unsanitary. Better to bring your own wipes to make sure they cleanse your tattoo with fresh ones.
● They normally tattoo with an audience and with other visitors watching you and waiting for you to make a scene. LOL. you don’t want to be part of an embarassing story that will be told by guides for a number of years. “There was a guy who pooped his pants because of the pain….”. Try to control your actions.
● You will surely see blood. So if you are the type who faints at the sight of blood, think twice. LOL
● Do not consume alcohol prior to the tattoo session. Whang od may refuse to tattoo you if you reek of alcohol
● Coconut oil will be applied after the tattoo is done. I bought terramycin and applied it moments after just as an extra precaution to prevent infection. This is optional but i highly recommend it.
● Respectfully ask whang od after the tattoo how much it costs. If you are on a strict budget, make sure you ask how much BEFORE the session starts so you could agree with them the cost before hand. I suggest you do the former as a form of respect for the art. DO NOT HAGGLE (mine cost P500).
● Read the tattoo after care instructions that they have to make sure you take care of the tattoo properly. Treat it like how you normally treat any wound.
● Avoid soaking you tatoo in water for at least 2 days. You can take a bath but make sure you don’t wet your tattoo too much.
● You may not be able to swim for a while (2-4 weeks) so make sure you don’t have plans to go to the beach for the next couple of weeks.
● If you want you can cover your tattoo with gauze after to protect it from the elements
● Avoid getting your tattoo exposed to direct sunlight.
● If you start seeing puss, it may be a sign of infection. Use terramycin (skin ointment) once there is an appearance of infection.
● it is normal that your tattoo will be swollen for several days
● it will continue to feel bumpy even after a week or two. If you are the type who develops keloid, you may use a scar ointment (e.g. contactubex).
Remember to always make sure to keep your tattoo clean and avoid touching it all the time.
The meaning of my tattoo
According to the traditional tattoo book, my tattoo is identified as a crab motif. Usually represents the kappi or small blue edible river crab. It is also identifed as fishhooks or lawig. It is possibly a symbolic representation of Apo-ni-Tolao, the demigod hero from itneg mythology who possessed magical fishhooks, the god Angdalo of the ilokanos who was not only the creator of the world but also spoken of as a travelling fisherman, the god Lumauig whose name in some languages of the Philippines is conjugated form of lawig meaning “the one who hooks”. another meaning of his name would be “the traveler”.
This provides a link to my old blog. This was my first ever blog so apologies for any grammar errors you might see.
I’ll try to see if i could still write the bus route to cover as much attractions in kyoto if you only have a day to spare.
For now, enjoy a recount of my very first trip to Japan. This 7-day trip covers Tokyo, Nara, kyoto and Osaka with detailed expenses.
Kalinga is a landlocked province in the Philippines in the Cordillera Administrative Region of Luzon. Its capital is Tabuk and borders Mountain Province to the south, Abra to the west, Isabela to the east, Cagayan to the northeast, and Apayao to the north. Kalinga and Apayao are the result of the 1995 partitioning of the former province Kalinga-Apayao which was seen as a way to better service the respective needs of the various indigenous people in the area (Source wikipedia)
How to get there:
There are a number of options to get to Buscalan.
Take a bus to Tabuk from Manila. Victory liner Kamias has 2 trips to Tabuk 7:00 and 8:30PM. We normally take the 8:30 first class trip that costs P820. The trip normally takes 10-11 hours. Then from Tabuk, take a jeepney or bus bound to Bontoc and ask the driver to drop you off at Bugnay where habal-habals are waiting to take you to Buscalan. Fare to Bugnay from Tabuk is P150 and normally takes 3-4hrs hours depending on how fast the driver is. It took us more thab 4hrs on this trip but our prior trip took only 3 hours. From Bugnay, take a habal habal that would take about 20 minutes for P100 each. From the habal habal station in Buscalan, you will then take a treacherous but scenic trek to the Village for about an hour. Total travel time approximately 14-16 hrs.
Fly to Tuguegarao from Manila. Flight probably is about an hour. From Tuguegarao, ride a van to Bontoc for about an hour or two. Fare i think is P80. From Tabuk, refer to above to get to Buscalan.
You can take the more scenic route via Baguio – Bontoc- Buscalan. From Manila, take a bus to Baguio. Manila to Baguio could range from 5-7hrs and fare could range from 445 to as high as P700. From Baguio, take an ordinary bus to Bontoc that also takes about 6 hours. Fare is P176. One of the most scenic and breathtaking bus ride that i’ve been to.From Bontoc, you can ride a jeepney to Buscalan for P100 that would normally take 1-2hrs. Then take a short habal-habal ride for P50 for about 10 minutes and then the trek to Buscalan village for about an hour. Travel time is approximately 12-16 hours.
For this trip we tried Option 1 going to Buscalan and Option 3 from Buscalan to Manila. Had to stay overnight in Baguio because the weather was so inviting.
What to do:
● Hiring a guide is required. This is to ensure your safety when trekking and to have an interpreter for Whang-od who speak very little tagalog and english. You could hire our guide Abdon Maliwan 0905-7989833. Guide fee is P1,000 per day. Maximum of 5 persons per guide.
● Try top-load or riding on top of a bus or jeep. Either route to Buscalan is scenic and you will definitely see rice terraces, mountain views, rivers and some of the most breathtaking views ever. Make sure you experience this at least once even if you are scared of heights. I really thought at some point that we were driving straight to the cliff! But you will get the hang of it fast. The experience and the magnificent views will make you forget your fear for a short while.
● When in Buscalan, of course you need to meet the legendary Whang-od “the Last Mambabatok” as they call her. You could get a tattoo from the Master or from her grandnieces: Grace – The Young Master or Elyang – the Granddaughter. I’ll be writing a separate article about getting a traditional tattoo. Make sure to have a selfie with Whang od and make her smile.
● You could also take a dip at the falls along the trek to the village.
●You could smoke to some leaves to make you “happy” or crave for food if you know what i’m saying (i didn’t try it though…honestly….for real!)
● Finally chat with your guide and the locals.They have tons of stories.They even shared jokes and icebreaker puzzles and tricks using matchsticks.we had tons of fun while drinking beer on the nipa hut.
Where to stay:
There are no fancy hotels or inns in Buscalan only homestay. You could either stay in a traditional kalinga house or choose a fancy modern house. We got to stay at Grace’s modern house. It has a great view and this is where they all tattoo. We paid P250 each per day that already includes unli coffee and rice.
● Prepare yourself for the long journey. Stretch and shift position as often as possible.you don’t want to have butt cramps 😃
● Hydrate and make sure you bring water when you trek
● Bring snacks as well although there are a few bus stop overs where you could eat
● The trek up to the village could be physically taxing. Take a lot of rest if necessary in between. This is not a sprint to the top so make sure that if you want to take a breather, just let your friends/guide know. Take all the time that you need to rest. Don’t be pressured by other people’s pace.
● Bring candies and medicine if you are the type who gets dizzy easily. Make sure you bring extra candies for the village kids. The kids at the village sometimes ask for candies. So if you want to interact or take pictures of the local kids, give them goodies.
● Make sure to wear proper trekking shoes. The road up to the village is narrow and sometimes very slippery. You don’t want to slip and end up in a ravine.
● Bring a hat or anything to protect you from the heat.
● Apply sunblock
● Pack light. You don’t want to carry a heavy bag or luggage to a treacherous trek.
● If you are a picky eater, make sure you bring your own food. While there are sari sari stores in the village, you may not know if they ran out of stock. Pork and chicken can be purchased in the village but unless you see it butchered before your eyes they may no longer be fresh so be cautious.
● Don’t be pressured to do things that you don’t want to do. Because of the long trip to the village, you may be pressured to do things that you probably can only do there like getting a traditional tattoo or smoking “happy” leaves. Don’t give-in to the pressure if you really don’t want to do or try these new things. If they are really your friends, they would understand.
● The weather up the mountains could be unpredictable, bring an umbrella or a rain-proof jacket just in case it rains.
● Respect the tradition, culture and practices in the village. If you are unsure on what to do, ask your guides. Try to immerse yourself in their culture. Just because you bravely endured a long and at times treacherous journey to the village, it doesn’t mean that you should be entitled to demand or be a brat.
● Respect mother nature and do not do things that would damage the environment.
8:30PM Left Manila to Tabuk. bus fare is P820
6:30AM Arrived in Tabuk
7:00AM Boarded jeepney to Bontoc. Fare is P150
11:00AM Arrived in Bugnay. Rode a habal habal to buscalan for P100.
11:20 Arrived in drop off point to start trek to Village
12:00 Arrived at the village exhausted from the trek.
1:00 started my tattoo session with Whang Od
1:30 Done with the tattoo session acting brave as if it doesn’t hurt. LOL
2:00 Gary’s tattoo session started
2:30 Gary’s tattoo session ends with him cursing whang od silently. LOL
2:30-5:00 we just watched other people getting tattooed and interacted also with a few newly arrived guests. We also applied terramycin to our tattoo just as a precaution. We also arranged what our guide will cook for dinner. We asked them to cook chicken adobo.
5:00 tried to watch the sunset at the souvenir shop. Met a few new guests who just arrived and are resting at the shop.Roamed around the village
6:00 dinner with new friends Lu and Con
7:00 drinking session with Lu, Con and new friends Shane, Lane, Ivy, Charles and the guides.Guides shared jokes, tricks, trivia and mind games.
11:00 sleeping time.
If you are getting a tattoo, prepare extra depending on the design and size of the tattoo.mine cost P500. Prepare at least 3k-4k for an overnight stay.it may go down considerably if you are travelling with a group.