Saturday, March 25, 2017

Back in Hanoi

Vietnam has a special place in my heart.

I visited Ho Chi Minh thrice and this trip is my second trip in Hanoi.

I love the scenic spots, the food, the warm hospitality of the people, the culture and shopping.

I arrived past midnight via Cebu Pacific Air's promo flight and waited an hour for my ride to the hotel but it did not arrive. I boarded a taxi to Old Quarter.

I'm back on the same hotel and at the same bed!

Day 1 

During my last visit last year, I wanted to have a city tour but my schedule was really tight. The primary reason was going to Halong Bay!

This time I made it possible to have a city tour. Unfortunately, I forgot the name the of the tour guide for that day. City tour using the motor cycle is the cheapest mode to enjoy the said tour.

And off we go to our city tour!

First stop was the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

Second stop was the Ho Chi Minh Museum.

Then, the Hoan Kiem Lake and the One Pillar Pagoda.

Afterwards, we visited two temples.

And the last stop for the day was the Military Museum.

After a tiring day, Bun Cha!

Day 2 

I paid for another tour called Hoa Lu & Tom Coc Tour.

First in the itinerary is the Old Vietnam.

We visited the Ding and Le Temple.

After the visit to the Old Vietnam, our next stop was Ninh Binh. But before that we biked around  the rice fields. 

Ninh Binh is said to be the Halong Bay in land. Halong bay is Halong Bay. It is one of the eight wonders of the world. But if you do not have time to go there, then this the best alternative!

We rowed along the canal.  Enjoyed its scenic beauty. 

This adventure is a-must in Hanoi!

Relaxing sight!

After the tour, I went back to the city and did a bit of shopping.

And enjoyed the various noodles and food in Hanoi...

I forgot their names but their taste lingered.

Bye Hanoi!

Return to Dubai

The purpose: To spend the New Year in Dubai!

About a year ago, I made a promise and I did keep my promise. Last December 30, 2016, I went back in Dubai to celebrate my New Year in UAE.

Day 1
Fortunately, Onil Castillo (fellow traveller) was also in Dubai and we roamed around in Dubai with my very dear friend and master, MJ Corillo

December 30, 2016 was my late flight to Dubai and MJ was kind enough to fetch me anew at the airport. and she accompanied me to my hotel.

The following morning, the three of us were on our way to Old Souk.

My trip to Dubai to will not be complete without using their water transport at the Creek.

I was delighted that I was reunited with MJ Corillo. 

We went to Old Souk and did a bit of shopping for my parents and my siblings.

After Old Souk, Maria Crisnel Chin joined us in our trip to Outlet Mall.and enjoyed shopping branded goods such as Lacoste, Northface and Levis 501.

We parted ways afterwards but MJ and I went to Baniyas for my perfume shopping!

And the finale of the day, the fireworks at Burj Khalifa!

The fireworks was spectacular!

After the fireworks, Marvic Siman. Chin and I  went to a coffee shop and shared  stories.

Day 2

I slept all day and late afternoon I went to one of the malls in the vicinity.

Day 3

The most awaited day!

After nearly 3 years, I will finally see one of my dearest friends, Genine Pedreno

First stop of the day was in Miracle Garden. I love flowers!

I went here last year but it was close during November.

We were planning to go to to Souk Madinat. But time was not on our side. Instead, we went to Dubai Marina to visit one of my favorite spots in Dubai.

Dubai Marina

- Speechless -

Dubai trip will not be complete without seeing RJoy Katherine Javier!

She was on-duty on her job but she was gracious in treating us with food and drinks at her place of work. 

Let's drink to that!

Last stop was in dinner in Baniyas. Thank you Genine! I had a wonderful time!

Before going back to hotel, I met up with Denisse Francia.

I left Dubai that night and again, I made a promise - "I will be back!"

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Islands and Sandbars of Balabac, Palawan

Palawan is the number one island in the world.

Balabac, Palawan epitomizes the reason why Palawan is simply the number one.

Balabac is a second class municipality in the province of Palawan. It is situated in the southern end of Palawan island, It consists of 32 islands and 14 barangays. It is only 50 kilometers north from Sabah, Malaysia, across the Balabac Strait and lies in the Sulu sea. 

My favorite spots in Palawan are Coron and El Nido. I learned this island from a fellow traveler named Anj of Kilometer Zero (0917) 833 1003 /  (0998) 998 1003and she was the one who arranged my tour in Balabac.

Before the Balabac trip, I visited Port Barton and stayed in Puerto Princesa for my van pick-up in the city. However, I was not fetched by my ride to Rio Tuba and good thing Barakah was there to save my tour.

The van ride to Rio Tuba normally was good for 5-6 hours but since I was in a hurry, I was able to ask the driver to step on the gas in order for me to catch the boat ride to Balabac. I was able to arrive at the designated place and time. Unfortunately, the boat left at 10:30 am and I had to wait for the next boat which left past 12 noon.  

Past 3 pm, the boat arrived at Bancalaan Port.

Good thing my boat ride was already there for my much-awaited tour of the islands of Balabac. Reymart and Richard, siblings, were my guide and the boat operator. 

Day 1 

Our first stop was just 15 minutes from the port where we departed. The sea was quite rough that day but that was part of the adventure!

Before I continue with my blog, Kap Andong requested that I should not give the name of the islands and being an obedient person, I will simply put the initial of the island.

P Island
One of the best islands that I have seen in Balabac is this island. The name of the island comes form the word "Tawan" which means sharp. It is one of the nesting areas of the sea turtles. 

It is a white sand beach island with pristine clear waters. The temptation to swim was there and I was not able to resist the temptation.

Next stop was C Island. It took us 45 minutes before we reached the spot. Fishermen usually docked at this island.

C Island

It is one of the islands inhabited by the locals.

C Island

Next stop was the Starfish Sandbar. There were 3 sandbars in the area and we visited two of the 3 sandbars. 

Last stop for the day was the C Island. It took us 30 minutes before we reached the said island. C Island is also one of the nesting areas of sea turtles and 3 eagle species. 

We camped at this island, cooked our dinner and enjoyed our sumptuous dinner. 

The tour will not be complete without our sunset viewing.

I was the only person in the tour and I enjoyed the comfort of being alone in the tent.

Day 2 

The following morning, we woke up 4:30 am and prepared our meal. By 6 am, we were already heading towards our first destination. The weather was sunny that day. A perfect day for my tour.

Past 8 am, we reached the Anjela Sandbar and then passed Mansalangan island.

Punta Sebaring
We stayed for a couple of minutes and headed to our next destination. After one hour, we reached Punta Sebaring. 

the finest white sand in the Philippines
Punta Sebaring boasts of having the finest white sand bar in the Philippines!

Afterwards, we went to the next island, S Island.

Next destination was the T Island.

T Island has the best rock formations and the perfect place to shoot your landscape pictures. I roamed around the island and captured breathtaking pictures.

You have to stay long in this island and explore its beauty and mystique. 

I did not mind the time and I did not mind that it was past 1 pm. I was capturing pictures!

I trekked the top of the rock formation and the view was even more amazing!

According to the locals, the island is owned by this man whom I forgot the name.

Next stop was C Island. Another island to enjoy your swim.

And the last stop was SS Island and it was just 5 minutes away from C Island. It also has the rock formations of T Island.

Matangguli Sandbar
We saved the best for the last. I was told that there was this last sand bar and the name of the sandbar was  Matangguli Sandbar.

We headed to Balabac mainland, specifically to Barangay 4, Poblacion, Balabac.

There I met Kap Andong and her wife. Kap Andong is the boat operator. 

I roamed around the small town of Balabac.

There only two places to stay in Balabac.

I stayed in this place.

You can visit the entire town in less than an hour of walking.

By 6 pm, I went to the port and watched the day as it ended.

5 sandbars
10 islands

I will go back and conquer Mangsi and Onuk Island!