Travel Guide: Biliran

I admit, I didn’t know what to expect before my trip to Biliran. This island province in Eastern Visayas wasn’t even on my radar of places to visit. Formerly a sub-province of Leyte, Biliran is one of the country’s newest provinces, having only become independent in 1992. Biliran is also apparently the fourth smallest province in the Philippines, after Batanes, Camiguin and Siquijor, and it has the same laid-back vibe. It’s compact enough to explore by motorcycle and you get coastal roads with amazing views.


Biilran’s smaller islands have beautiful beaches and sandbars. Inland, there are natural attractions like waterfalls and mountains to hike. Locals are friendly and accommodations are generally affordable for backpackers. After canyoneering, island-hopping and motorcycling around Biliran for 3 days, I left really fulfilled with the raw beauty and general uncommercialized feel of the province. If you’re interested in visiting Biliran, here are some basics to help you plan your trip

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10 Extreme Adventures in Pangasinan

The province of Pangasinan has a lot to offer. Located on the western area of the island of Luzon along the Lingayen Gulf and South China Sea, it’s best known as being the home of the Hundred Islands National Park. But that’s not all it has. As the biggest province of the Ilocos Region in terms of land area, Pangasinan has lots of natural attractions that will appeal adventure-seekers looking for a getaway relatively near Manila. Here are 10 exciting activities you can do here.


Cover of North Bound Magazine Issue 15. Photo by Martin San Diego.

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Craft Beers in the Philippines

A revolution is definitely brewing in the craft beer scene here in the Philippines. It seems that in the past few years, there’s been a boom in local microbreweries. While guzzling down 99 bottles of beer for a self-imposed sidequest, I was glad to come across some great craft beers which are brewed right here in the country. If you’re a craft beer enthusiast or you want to try something new, here are some homegrown microbreweries and beers that you should look out for when you travel around the Philippines.


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Solo Ride in Biliran

Biliran is an island province in the Eastern Visayas region of the Philippines. Formerly a sub-province of Leyte, it’s one of the country’s newest provinces, having only become independent in 1992. After our action-packed canyoneering at Sampao River ending at Ulan-Ulan Falls and island-hopping to Sambawan Island the previous days with tour operator Trexplore and some friends from Cebu, I was on my own. So, I decided to rent a motorcycle to check out what the rest of the island had to offer.

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Universal Studios Japan Theme Park

For movie and pop culture buffs, Universal Studios Theme Park is one of the top attractions where you can enjoy rides inspired by Hollywood blockbusters, TV shows, cartoons and video games produced by Universal Studios. This world-class theme park transports you right inside your all-time-favorite flicks like Jurassic Park, Waterworld and JAWS.


Jurassic Park’s The Flying Dinosaur. Photo courtesy of Universal Studios Japan
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Budget Travel Tips for Japan

Most Filipino travelers have Japan high on their bucketlists. But most of us have this perception that traveling there is too expensive. Generally, the cost of living is higher than popular Southeast Asian countries on the backpacking trail like Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam.


But Japan is such a worthwhile destination in terms of natural landscapes, rich traditional culture, and world class technology. It’s amazing how efficient and clean everything is. Like traveling to any destination, there are always ways you can cut down on costs. Last year, I got to visit Nagoya and I just recently came back from visiting sights around Osaka, Kyoto and Nara in the Kansai Region. Here are a few tips I can share that will hopefully help Filipino travelers plan their dream trip to The Land of the Rising Sun.

TIP: 100 USD is roughly 10,000 yen. If you want to convert yen to pesos, the general rule of thumb is to divide the amount in half. For instance, anything that costs 1000 Yen is roughly 500 pesos. Continue reading

Mischief Managed: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Japan

As a huge fan of J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter novels and the blockbuster film series based on the books, visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a dream come true. This themed area within Universal Studios Japan (USJ) was a major highlight of my recent trip around Osaka and the Kansai region upon the invitation of Cebu Pacific & USJ. Flying along with Harry, Hermione and Ron in the Forbidden Journey inside Hogwarts Castle, walking along the shops in Hogsmeade and drinking Butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks was just amazing!


“I solemnly swear that I’m up to no good!”

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THAILAND: River Kwai Village Jungle Resort

Kanchanaburi is a city in Thailand located where the rivers Kwai Noi and Kwai Yai meet. Just a couple of hours away from the bustling capital of Bangkok, this area is known for its natural attractions and waterfalls, making it an ideal destination for those who prefer nature and adventure getaways compared to party beaches and shopping.


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Baguio by Big Bike: Ride Along Motorcycle Tours

For riders, travel is usually more about the journey than the destination. Sometimes it doesn’t matter where you go. Just hitting the open road, soaking in the beautiful scenery as you drive off into the sunset is an epic adventure in itself.

Whenever I travel to a different province, I try to rent a motorcycle. Usually, it’s just whatever run-down model I can get my hands on. I’ve ridden solo in many beautiful island destinations like Batanes, Bohol, Siargao, Siquijor and Cebu. On my own faithful Yamaha Mio Fino, the farthest I’ve driven is from Manila to Bicol.

But it’s not everyday that you get to ride on the expressway up to Baguio on a Harley Davidson. Oh yeah, baby! Achievement unlocked! Seriously, just sitting on this bike gives you instant 1000+ Astig Points.

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Spelunking in Samar: Lobo Cave

Just like exploring a new dungeon in a video game, there’s something so fulfilling about spelunking or exploring caves in real life.

You have to navigate through small tunnels and chambers, find the best route so that you don’t hurt yourself, come face to face with creatures like bats and snakes and overcome all the obstacles in the dark to find the cave exit. It’s not as glamorous as Lara Croft makes it look, but it’s one of the most fun and exhilarating adventures you can do. Particularly if you’re in Samar, the Caving Capital of the Philippines.


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