If you’ve ever played an RPG, you know that sometimes you just have to go back to a place you’ve already visited because you missed something very important. Maybe your skill level wasn’t enough yet to handle the obstacles or maybe the time just wasn’t right to visit a certain destination. Or maybe you just like the place so much that you want to visit it again. That’s the case for me with Daraitan, the scenic village nestled in the Sierra Madre mountain ranges between Tanay, Rizal and General Nakar, Quezon.
Masungi Georeserve, a conservation area and karst rock garden hidden in the rainforests of Rizal, aims to protect the natural landscape through sustainable and responsible tourism. Since they opened to the public about a year ago, they’ve become a much sought-after weekend destination for those based in the metro. The Discovery Trail has visitors passing through caves, rope courses, hanging bridges, relaxing on a giant hammock and getting stunning views from a spiderweb-like viewdeck.
If you’re on a road trip in the Bicol region and looking for a place to stay in Sorsogon City, Siama Hotel, a charming nature-inspired boutique hotel, is a great option. This hidden gem celebrates the beauty of Bicol’s natural materials in a contemporary artistic setting. Prior to my visit, I had already seen various photos of Siama Hotel online and was intrigued by the place. During a summer visit to Naga City, I convinced my parents to take a road trip to Sorsogon for a quick family vacation.
The more I travel, the more my bucket list grows. I tick off one place only to add two more. There’s just so much to see in the world, and so little time. But before I explore outside the country, I want to see as much of the Philippines as possible.
I just got back from a six-day-five-night cruise aboard Star Cruises SuperStar Virgo, the first cruise ship to homeport in Manila. Compared to my usual DIY backpacking trips, this was an amazing hassle-free vacation that I got to enjoy with my mom and nephew. Going on a luxury cruise is something I’d never thought I’d get to do. It’s a unique type of travel experience worth saving up for and ticking off your bucketlist!
Growing up in the province, my childhood friends and I used to enjoy camping sleepovers. On hot summer nights, we’d haul out banigs, folding beds and foam mattresses on the grass and “camp out” in our garden under a makeshift tent sewn together from my old protest streamers. We’d spend the night playing card games and board games like Monopoly, Cluedo and Pictionary and roast marshmallows and hotdogs in a mini-bonfire. Back then, we really felt like we were roughing it out. But there was always the security of parents just inside the house (providing us with real food), a decent bathroom and the option to move indoors if it rained.
Unwatermarked photos courtesy of Haranah Eco Park Continue reading
When it comes to weekend destinations, Laguna is one of the most accessible provinces near Metro Manila. Most people driving cars usually approach the province from SLEX on the way to urbanized cities like Santa Rosa, Los Banos and Calamba. But from the Manila East Road, you can avoid traffic and traverse easily through the more laid-back towns on the Eastern side of the province.
These days, a lot of city folk want a taste of the laid-back provincial life. When life gets too hectic in the metro, just heading somewhere you can float on a bamboo raft, enjoy simple home-cooked meals and see stunning natural sights can be just what you need to re-energize for the work week ahead. One of the fastest-rising destinations to offer this kind of experience near Manila is Minalungao National Park in Nueva Ecija.
Laiya in San Juan, Batangas is probably one of the most popular weekend beach destinations near the metro. I’ve been here several times before usually for day trips with friends and family. It may not have the best beach and coastline, but it’s a pretty memorable place for me since this is where Art and I got married. We actually had a Survivor / Amazing Race-themed beach wedding in Palm Beach Resorts.
After days of rain and gloomy weather that hampered our activities in the mainland, the sky finally cleared on the last day of our trip. Just in time too, since our destination for the day was the beautiful island of Palaui, just off the coast of Sta. Ana in Cagayan.
The first time I set foot in Palaui was back in 2011. I remember the roller-coaster like waves that propelled our boats towards the island where the ruins of an abandoned lighthouse sat atop a hill. There were a few rumors from locals that the hit reality show Survivor was going to be filmed there. Fast forward six years later, when I found myself one again with the tempestuous waves heading towards the island. Continue reading