Baguio Girl Takes on Manila

Manila, the concrete jungle of the Philippines, approximately 250 km away from Baguio (via North Luzon Expressway).

Since I’ve been working 6 days a week for 6 months now, I’ve decided to have a mini getaway from all my usual daily routine. I got on the bus, alone for the first time, at around 10 p.m and since it was a deluxe bus ride I arrived in Cubao at around 2 a.m. My boyfriend fetched me from the bus station and we went directly to the condo unit in Makati for a quick rest before taking on Manila.

First stop, Manila Ocean Park, we woke up at around 6 a.m to prepare  and have breakfast.  After breakfast, I had my first ever MRT and LRT ride, it was not crowded at that time because it was a Saturday and it wasn’t rush hour.

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Obligatory Photo at the Entrance

We arrived at Manila Ocean Park around 9:30 a.m and since we purchased vouchers from Metrodeal, we had to wait in line to have the vouchers redeemed. It was quite a deal, P899 instead of P3000 for 7 attractions plus their liquid buffet. Here is the list of the attractions we went to:

  • Oceanarium
  • Trails to Antartica (Penguin Exhibit and Christmas Village)
  • Jellies Exhibit
  • Birds of Prey Kingdom
  • Fish Spa
  • Sharks and Rays Dry Encounter
  • Amazing Stories of Yexel’s Museum

I have to say I enjoyed most of the attractions, especially the encounter with the sting rays and Yexel’s museum, but I didn’t enjoy one attraction namely the Birds of Prey Kingdom. It wasn’t very fun because you wouldn’t see a lot of species of birds.

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Gotta Love this Minions

The liquid buffet was okay as well, the food was not quite what I expected. The food was delicious but there were a few to choose from and the food isn’t out of the ordinary, not very special.

Manila Ocean park made me feel like a  kid again, I had fun and I enjoyed the place. I would definitely be coming back here again.

The following day was spent at Ace Water Spa, It was the most relaxing place I’ve been to. Again we bought vouchers from Metrodeal, It was a 4-hour pass for P385 instead of P550.  We spent hours just relaxing and enjoying the water massage therapy, jumping from one massage to the other, one pool to the other. The place has hot herbal pools, lap pools, steam and sauna, and hydrotherapies. Although no pictures were taken at this place because cameras and phones are prohibited for privacy purposes.

We had lunch at “The Vikings”, it was the best buffet I’ve been to, they have a lot of selections from seafood, to meat, drinks and deserts. I wanted to try everything but my body wouldn’t let me. LOL!

The rest of the day was spent roaming around the city, divisoria and other malls. It was walking all around until we were tired and decided to go home. LOL!

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Here’s a clip of the entire trip to Manila:

‘Til the next lakwatsa!

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Bonding at San Juan and Tangadan Falls

Almost all my relatives from Guam came home for a vacation and since I’ve been to Tangadan Falls before they also wanted to see the famous falls in San Gabriel, La Union.

It was an early trip from Baguio City, Everybody wanted to go swimming so we headed to San Juan, La Union. My cousins and I wanted something more exciting and fun so we decided to leave the extremes of age (the kids and the elderly, LOL!) at the beach while the energetic bunch headed for the falls.

Unlike my first hike to the falls, it was the rainy season these time so the trail was more challenging. We would find ourselves submerged in water for almost half of the hike due to the weather condition a few days back. Although it was quite a long and tiring hike, everyone enjoyed each others company, helping each other cross rivers against strong currents.

After hours of walking we finally reached the famous Tangadan Falls, the water was not as clean as the first time I was here but the view was still as mesmerizing as before. My cousins, seeing it for the first time, were in awe and loved the one of a kind view.

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with the girls

We took pictures together and took a quick break before deciding to go swimming. We all rented life vests because most of us doesn’t know how to swim. LOL! we swam around and decided to hire a bamboo raft to go under the falls. We enjoyed a few hours just floating around the water.

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And under the falls we go

After some time we decided to go back to San Juan where the others stayed. There, we ate lunch, got on the beach and bonded with everyone else.

Here is a video from our trip:

‘Til the next lakwatsa!

A Day at Tangadan Falls

The famous Tangadan Falls, a hidden gem located at San Gabriel, La Union, the town just after the famous surfing area of San Juan. A place for trekking, cliff diving and of course swimming.

It was a holiday and since my birthday is coming up we decided to go on a short trip to Tangadan Falls. We woke up early at around 3am and headed to San Gabriel La Union at 4 in the morning. From Baguio through Naguilian Road it is a 2-3 hour drive via private car.

We reached the parking area, well actually  front yards of the the people living near the starting point of the hike, at around 7am. It took us this long because we had a couple of stops, eating breakfast and buying water for our trek.  They charged us 50 pesos as parking fee. Also people around would be asking you if you already have a guide. We actually went with our 2nd cousin who lives near the area, so we didn’t need a guide. Not sure about how much they would charge people, but I think they charge per person. By the way they don’t require people to have tour guides, if you want to go and follow your heart, lol! go! But i recommend getting one since the river can be quite confusing. The route started with a short walk through the fields.

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Just starting the hike

Then the long walk through and across the rivers started. It was a fun trek, going up and down large boulders, jumping from one rock to the other, crossing rivers and walking through very narrow paths (one wrong step and you’re in the water, LOL). It is a very hot place so if you’re planning to go here prepare your skin with a lot of sunblock and a lot of cover. hahaha!

After sometime walking you would reach a forest area, it has a couple of small trees more of bamboos and bushes.

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Blurred, ’cause my dad’s eyes were getting wet with his own sweat. LOL!

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One of a kind swing

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Into the woods

 

Then you’ll reach the diving area, it’s quite breathtaking you’ll feel that the hike is worth it.

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Tired and Hot

But then it is not yet the end of the long hike, Eventually you’ll find yourself near the river again.

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A short rest for the breathless

A little bit more hike and you’ll reach the breathtaking Tangadan Falls. The hike would last  up to 1-2 hours depending on your group’s speed and also on how many stops you make just to take pictures. haha! Near the falls you would see a couple of bamboo huts, they will cost you 400 pesos if you get one, but just like us you can just place your bags in one place and it wouldn’t get lost. LOL! The waterfalls is really beautiful, I think it is 40 ft fall from the top. Tourists are not allowed to cliff dive in this area because it is quite dangerous. You can hire one of the bamboo rafts to go under the waterfalls and have a back massage, hehe! They charged us 200 pesos for an hour but I think it also depends on the number of people. Also for people like me who doesn’t know how to swim you can hire life vests for 50 pesos.

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Taking it in

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Bamboo Rafts floating around

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To the Waterfalls!

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with the siblings

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more….

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and another..

By the way, the rocks submerged in the water are very slippery so be careful! We swam around the area for awhile before we decided to eat merienda. And then we swam some more and decided to leave.

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Fooling around in our life vests 😀

I just wish that the local government would try to preserve the area, because people are already building a lot of bamboo huts near the falls and it defeats the purpose of hiking and being one with nature. haha! ano daw?!

But nevertheless the place was really worth the long hike, it was a breathtaking place to go to and I recommend that thrill seekers and nature lovers go there! It is a very beautiful place!

Here’s a short clip taken with Xiaomi Yi action camera:

That’s it guys! ‘Til the next lakwatsa…

 

 

Back in Time: Trip to Vigan, Ilocos Sur

Christmas vacation is almost over so the family decided to have our last hoorah at Vigan, Ilocos Sur.

Vigan is a fourth class city located at the western coast of the Philippines. The Chinese used to call the place “Bee Gan” which mean beautiful shore, the Spaniards during that time interchanged the”b” and “v” sounds thus calling the place “Vigan”. Vigan is place full of history and is known for having a couple of old buildings around it.

At around 12 am we left Baguio through Naguilian Road. It was a smooth ride, no traffic, no trucks and whatsoever. After more than 4 hours we arrived at Candon City, we decided to stop at the town proper and rest for a while.

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Candon Cathedral

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buying pasalubong

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the sister

of course we took some pictures and decided to continue with our trip, after an hour we arrived at the town proper of Vigan, it was almost 5 am and it was drizzling so we went to McDonald’s to have our early breakfast.

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Vigan! finally

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at McDonald’s

After breakfast we went to visit Vigan’s cathedral and said our prayer and of course our wishes since it is our first time visiting the church.

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the cathedral

and our lakwatsa continues…

Read more on our Ilocos Sur trip:

Back in Time: Baluarte ni Chavit

A 10-15 minute ride away from Calle Crisologo is a zoo that is located inside the house property of Gov. Chavit Singson. The place has no entrance fee as the governor’s  tribute to the people. The entrance had a big baluarte sign, a big man-made lake with fishes and statues of dinosaurs.

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happy faces

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smiling for the camera

It has a couple of animals roaming around and some were in cages, of course.

At the very top you would see the Safari Gallery where you would see the animals that were hunted and mummified by the governor.

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mom and dad

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mummified elephant

that was basically what we did in Baluarte, our lakwatsa continues..

Read more on our Ilocos Sur trip:

Back in Time: Bantay Bell Tower

Lastly, Bantay bell tower. Bantay Bell Tower is a watch tower that was built in 1592. It was built to guard the region from pirate attacks during the Spanish colonial era, also the reason why it was called “Bantay” (to guard). It is a 3-storey tower made of red brick walls and has a couple of bells at the top floor.

It is 5 minute ride away from Calle Crisologo just across the highway. We arrived there and looked for a parking spot. Just at the entrance tourist should register their name and they would ask for some donations.

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picture picture

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going up!

The tower was amazing, it was well preserved. Tourists would often take pictures at its grounds and some would prefer to climb to the top. It was an easy way up to the second floor with its cemented stairs but to climb the 3rd floor you would be walking through a wooden, steep staircase. At the 3rd floor are a couple of bells and amazingly its wooden floors. It was a good view at the top, seeing parts of Ilocos region.

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at the entrance

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enjoying the view

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one more

The descent was a little harder but not a big problem. My sister got cramps after walking down the tower’s staircases. LOL! Again, We took pictures and enjoyed the view.

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before we go, one last glance

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yep!

After visiting the place we headed home. ‘Til the next Lakwatsa!

Read more on our Ilocos Sur trip: