Motorcycling around Batanes: North Batan

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The first time I traveled solo to Batanes, I rented a motorcycle to visit all the attractions in a day. That motorcycle ride around South Batan remains one of the most memorable rides I have ever done in the country. The distance may not have been that long, but in terms of coastal roads and just pure awesomeness of the landscape, Batanes is pretty hard to beat.

motorcycle batanes lighthouse travelup

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Hike to Osmeña Peak in Cebu

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Osmeña Peak is the highest point in the island of Cebu, a province in the Philippines. Standing 1,013 meters above sea level, this stunning site offers a dramatic view of jagged cliffs with a view of the sea in the distance. Locals often liken the view to Bohol’s Chocolate Hills. But instead of rolling curved mounds, the hills here have sharp protruding peaks. Set amidst the limestone cliffs, the hills resemble a field of gigantic green Hershey’s Kisses. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen during previous hikes.

osmena peak dalaguete cebu summit travelup

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Ride to Angat Rainforest and Eco Park, Bulacan

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Bulacan is a province in the Philippines known mostly for its old churches, heritage sites and heroes. Though it’s home to some historic caves, it isn’t really considered a top destination for adventure-seekers. So last weekend, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself driving through forested mountain roads and twisties with scenic views of lakes and rivers.

angat rainforest and ecopark bulacan travelup motorcycle

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Canyoneering at Kawasan Falls, Cebu

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Canyoneering seems to be one of the most popular activities to do in South Cebu these days. While the naturally beautiful Kawasan Falls has drawing tourists for years, the whole area has become even more popular ever since canyoneering tours were introduced. The extreme sport also known as canyoning involves walking, scrambling, climbing, jumping, rappelling and swimming through a river either upstream or downstream. It’s one of the most fun and unique outdoor activities you can do in Cebu.

kawasan canyoneering cebu group shot travelup
Group photo with Angela, Ivy, Pax, Apple and Heizel. Thanks for the photos and for letting me join your group! :)

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The Long and Winding Road to Bicol

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I’ve gone to Naga City from Manila and back countless times. I lived there growing up and still go back home several times a year. Most times I just hop on an overnight bus without a second thought. I rode the PNR Bicol Express train when it was still running. I’ve gone there by plane. My family and I used to take long car trips there and back several times for holidays.

But last Christmas was different. It was my first time to drive a motorcycle all the way there.

01. motorcycle manila to naga bicol bitukang manok diversion road travelup

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Hiking to Mt. Pinatubo

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Mount Pinatubo’s eruption in 1991 is one of the most devastating natural calamities in Philippine History. After 600 years of dormancy, Mt. Pinatubo’s erupted. Said to be the second largest eruption of the 20th century, the effects of the eruption were felt worldwide.

hiking mt. pinatubo crater lake travelup

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Surf Spots in the Philippines

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Updated March 2016

Surfing is an extreme sport that involves riding the waves towards the shore while standing or lying on a surfboard. With more than 7,000 islands, the Philippines is blessed with beach breaks along both the Pacific Ocean and South China Sea, as well as reef breaks throughout the archipelago. For surfers, this means that there are numerous surfing spots to check out.

surf spots in the philippines surfboards waves baler aurora

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Merkanto: International Street Food Park in UP Village

There’s a new food park in the neighborhood! Merkanto, located inside 38 Autocare Car wash in UP Village, serves international street fare. I love sampling street food and eating in hawker centers when I travel to other countries. Judging from the ongoing World Street Food Congress, street food is really big in other countries and it looks like the trend is catching on in the Philippines. Though there are a lot of restaurants and food parks already in the Maginhawa area, I have to say the concepts here are pretty unique. The dishes are affordable, and so far from what we’ve tried, everything was pretty good.

01 merkanto international street food
Opened in April 2016, Merkanto is currently on soft opening with 5 stalls serving street eats from Vietnam, Morroco, Indonesia, Brazil and India. It’s fairly new, so it wasn’t as crowded as some of the other food parks on a Friday night. However, I’m sure once word gets around, people will start to flock here as well. Below are some sample dishes per stall and the price range so you can get an idea of the offerings. Continue reading

Plant Bistro: Cozy B & B and Cafe in Tagaytay

Tagaytay City is one of the nearest destinations to Manila for weekend getaways. While most people go here on day trips, it’s always nice to spend the night to have more time to check out all the different new sights. There are a lot of accommodations to choose from in the main city, from no-frills backpacker’s hotels, to hotel rooms with a view of Taal Lake, and villas and cottages for rents for bigger groups. For those looking for something a little more unique and cozy, Plant Bistro is a lovely little bed & breakfast and cafe. I found the place on Airbnb and thought it would make a great weekend getaway.

stay at the plant bistro tagaytay patio porch pillows Continue reading

Travel Guide: Bataan

The province of Bataan is most often associated with its rich history. The Battle of Bataan is famous for being one of the last stands of American and Filipino soldiers before they were overwhelmed by the Japanese forces during World War II. The Bataan Death March was also named after the province, where the infamous march started. Recently, it’s become more popular because of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, the first and only heritage resort by the sea.

las casas filipinas de acuzar bataan heritage housesBut aside from its historical attractions, Bataan is a rising eco-tourism destination with beaches, mountains, turtle sanctuaries, bird-watching sites, springs and waterfalls. Bataan lies within two major peaks, Mount Natib and Mount Mariveles, which are ideal destinations for adventure-seekers. If you’re a mountain biker or hiker, you’ll want to check out the natural trails that Bataan has to offer. Continue reading

Momarco Resort in Tanay, Rizal

Summer is here and many families and barkadas are looking for resorts for their out-of-town swimming trips and excursions. One of the places I can recommend relatively near the metro is Momarco Resort in Tanay, Rizal. Only 1.5 hours away from Quezon City, Momarco Resort has a large, clean and well-maintained swimming pool and an artificial lagoon with a waterfall.

momarco resort tanay rizal manmade lagoon

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Travel Guide: Caramoan

Caramoan is a rugged getaway in the Philippines best known for being the filming location of several seasons of the hit reality show Survivor. The TV show often chooses exotic locales with stunning scenery. With its clusters of islands lined with white sand beaches, limestone cliffs, coral reefs, diverse marine life, serene lagoons, subterranean river and caves, it’s easy to see why the production crew chose to film here.

caramoan mountain sea grasslands summit travelup
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Travel Guide: Jomalig Island, Quezon

Summer is coming soon, and beaches in popular destinations near Manila are going to be really crowded as usual. For those looking for a different destination to visit this summer, Jomalig Island in Quezon offers an escape. It’s not that easy to get to, which means the place remains unspoiled. The golden sand beaches, agoho pine trees, refreshing atmosphere and naturally sights here are just stunning. Jomalig Island is best for those who enjoy unspoiled beaches. This is where you can enjoy back to basics camping away from the crowds.

jomalig quezon cove beach swimming

Since I previously wrote about our Weekend in Jomalig Island, I’ve been getting a lot of inquiries about how to get there and other questions. So here’s a travel guide to help you out with tips compiled from my experience, helpful locals who left comments on my previous post, Jomalig Quezon’s Facebook page and some 2016 updates from blog reader Senilicius (in the comments section).

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