Sunday, April 28, 2013

Carabao Island (The next Boracay!)

The Philippines is endowed with 7,104 islands. Each of these islands are unique in its own simple way and offer a different taste of paradise. They say that no two islands are the same. And I have to agree to that. In my years of travel, I have explored and hopped from one island to another and it was good thing that I came across one of the best islands in the Philippines with my friends in our island hopping adventure. Touted to be the next Boracay - Carabao Island.

My friends and I were having our vacation in Tablas, Romblon. And from the spur of the moment, we agreed to do island hopping in this island that they say will be the next Boracay. Honestly, before going to this island, I did not surf the net and had no idea of what to expect. It was part of the adventure!

We departed from Looc Port and proceeded to Carabao Island. We rented the boat and the cost was P6,000 for 8 persons. The sea was calm that day except for some intermittent strong waves in the middle of the trip. Carabao Island can also be reached from Boracay. 

After 1.5 hours, we reached our destination. We chose to stay only in one resort and we've chosen the best in the island. There are many resorts in the islands but this resort stands apart from the others and is reputed to be one of the best resorts in Luzon.

I could not conceal my excitement and emotion after placing my feet at the beach.
 It was paradise!  

The Carabao Island and Tours Activities offers a variety of adventures ranging from snorkeling, scuba diving, banana boat, island hopping, kayak, horseback riding, hiking, and motorbike rental.

And I almost forgot to say that they serve the best food in town!

Accommodation is also provided for those persons who  love to spend their time at the island.

Shirley A. Patron
General Manager
Contact No. 0916-9897545

The resort even has its own spa and souvenir shop.

Everything you need to have a good and relaxing time is here in this resort.

I strolled in the beach and  notice how beautiful the island is.

I decided to see the other side of the island and rented a habal-habal. The fee is P300/hour. But I haggled a bit and got it for P200 only for less than an hour. The road from the resort to the town was narrow. Good only for motorcycles!

After 20 minutes, I reached the town of San Jose. The only municipality in Carabao Island, though it has 7 barangays. 

And I witnessed why they call it the next Boracay! The white sand is the same as that of the white sand of Station 1 in Boracay. And the wind and the waves were strong! Perfect for surfing and kite surfing! I love this island!

After 2.5 hours in the island, we decided to extend our island hopping to the next island - Boracay

The trip was good for 45 minutes only from Carabao Island. 

We stayed in Boracay for almost 30 minutes before we decided to go back to Looc, Romblon. We had one great time in our island hopping adventure! =)

That afternoon, we headed back to Batangas. But the beauty and splendor of Carabao never left our minds! 

It's Really More Fun in Carabao Island!

Backpackers Adventure in Tablas, Romblon (Side trip to Carabao Island and Boracay)

We call ourselves the packers

Well, you know what we mean. 

Our group's name  started from my name in my FB fan page (Smart Backpacker). And we just started calling ourselves "the packers!" We started our first travel in Puerto Galera, Mindoro. But the name started in Sagada. Now, we continued our travel to Tablas, Romblon!

We had 4 choices for our summer escapade, namely: Caramoan, Palaui Island, Baler and Tablas, Romblon. Originally, Tablas was not part of the choices. I suggested it after I went to Romblon.

We started our online voting on where we are suppose to go and it turned out that the last choice would be the group's choice.

And so, I booked our group in 2GO Travel and everything went well as planned.

We missed 2 of our packers, Jonas and MJ!

April 19, 2013
Terminal 3, Batangas Port
9:00 pm
Day 1

There were only 8 of us that night when we boarded the ferry travel to Odiongan, Romblon. The packers present were Nikko, Jen, Feng, Lester, Ces, Dave, Joyce and I.

The cost of the economy ticket was P815.00. The travel to Odiongan was good for 7 hours and while onboard the vessel, we decided to have a bit of drinking spree to start our trip right!

Day 2

We arrived at the Odiongan Port around 4 am and the beauty of the port captured my excitement already. I told myself, "We are going to have a good time here!"

From the port, we were fetched by the owner of the resort (Mr. Willy) and we paid P1,000 for the van. The trip to the resort is 30 minutes or 17 kilometers.

And finally, we arrived at the Binukot Sunset Cove Resort located in Brgy. Bunsoran, Ferrol, Tablas, Romblon. The owners of the resort are Mr. Willy (an Australian) and Ms. Michaela (a Filipina) (Contact nos. 0929-787-5486 / 0999-423-1040). The couple are very kind, accommodating and generous. You will definitely feel at home on your stay at this resort! Well taken cared of and loved! 

And we rented this house for only P2,500. The house was good only for 5 persons but we told the owner that we were 8 and the Ms. Mica agreed to allow us to have the house and even gave us extra beds for free! The entire resort has a wifi.

After taking our early breakfast, we decided to stroll in the beach and explore its wonders! We were not disappointed! It was simply an amazing experience.

The place is actually a huge cove. And at the end of the cove, there is a small island. And while we were at the other end of the cove,  we gathered seashells and stones as our souvenir for the trip.

The place is what we call a Paradise!

We walked up to the end of the cove and wandered around not minding of the time.

The place was simply beyond our expectations! And our smiles were written all over our faces...

We were having a good time! Probably, one of the best times of our lives!

And here we are in a paradise called Binukot Beach!

Time simply flew.. And we were there at the beach.. Laughing and enjoying!

The place was so beautiful that we could not stop taking pictures!

We were there posing from one spot to another.

And as always, I was the one tasked to take our pictures. I mean why should it always be me??

Coz, I simply love them and I wanted to have them to have a good time! =)

Around 11 am, we decided to go to the other side of the cove and we discovered a smaller cove!

What a treat for us! Two coves in one resort.

The smaller cove
from Joyce Recampo

We attempted to have jumpshots at the cove and this was the only one better after so many takes that was near to perfection.

Past 2 pm, we chartered the van of Mr. Willy and headed to Mablaran Falls. We paid only P1,500 for the van. The trip going to the falls from Binukot Beach was almost 1 hour.

Falls No. 1

I will never forget this trek to the falls!

Only Nikko, Lester and I decided to go to the second falls. From the first falls to second falls, it took us 20 minutes to reach the second falls. And the trail was rugged and slippery.  In fact, I lost my footing and everything (including my cameras and phones) got wet!

After almost 2 hours of staying at the falls, we decided to go back. We did not want to miss the reason why the resort was called Binukot Sunset Cove Resort!

Day 3

We woke up early the following morning after our late night drinking spree. My head was killing me that day (case of serious hangover!). But I did not want to spoil the fun! I pretended to be alright.. We took our early breakfast and proceeded to our next destination. Today is island hopping day!! =)

We rented four habal-habal (single motorcycle) and from Bunsoran, Ferrol to Looc we were cruising around Tablas, Romblon.  Everyone was happy that day! We paid P300/pax for the roundtrip ride. Our guide and contact person for the tour was Jun - (0906-181-2627)

We rented a boat for P6,000 for our island hopping adventure. The owner of the boat is Mang Nonobi (0935-912-1619). After 1.5 hours of boat ride, we arrived at our destination - Carabao Island!

Carabao Island is one of the best islands that I have seen in the Philippines.

We were told that Boracay was just 45 minutes away from Carabao Island and we could not simply refuse the temptation. And we also decided to go to Boracay. We paid an additional of P1,500 for the sidetrip.

It was my fourth time to see Boracay. But the beauty of the island still dazzled me. After cruising in Boracay for 20 minutes. We decided to go back to Looc. Along the way, we were playing our favorite game. And as always, Lester was the usual winner! Hooray for Lester!

Around 5 pm, we boarded the Montenegro ship back to Batangas Port. We were again all smiles while we were boarding the ship...

It's Really More Fun in Tablas, Romblon!

Thank you guys! =)

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Backpackers first trip - Puerto Galera -
Backpackers trip to Sagada -

Related youtube videos:
Falls, Tablas, Romblon -
Roadtrip in Tablas -
Carabao Island -
Carabao Island Tours -

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Top 10 Churches of the Philippines for Tourists

In my years of my travel in the Philippines, it is an open secret that it is my ritual/custom to visit the church of the city or municipality that I will be visiting. I only pray for two things once I'm inside the church, my health and safety.

I am happy to share my experience of visiting these churches as they have guided my safe journey! If I were to choose the top 3 provinces in terms of having the best churches. My decision would be Bohol, Batangas and Laguna. Nothing beats the Bohol churches!

Here are my top 10 Roman Catholic churches in the Philippines.

1. Miag-ao Church, Iloilo (One of the UNESCO heritage sites in the Philippines)

2. Paoay Church, Ilocos Norte (One of the UNESCO heritage sites in the Philippines)


3. Santa Maria Church, Ilocos Sur (One of the UNESCO heritage sites in the Philippines)

4. San Agustin Church, Intramuros, Manila (One of the UNESCO heritage sites in the Philippines)
from www.

5.Taal Basilica, Batangas (Largest Catholic church in Asia) 


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6. Baclayon Church, Bohol  (It is one of the best preserved Jesuit build church and one of the oldest in the country.)


7. Naga Metropolitan Cathedral, Camarines Sur (prominent Latin Rite Roman Catholic cathedral located in Naga City)

8. Minor Basilica of the Holy Child (Sto. Nino Church), Cebu (Oldest Roman Catholic church established in the country)


9. Basey Church, Western Samar (for its role in history)


10. Basilica of San Sebastian, Manila (the only all-steel church in Asia and noted for its architectural design)

Worthy of mention are the following churches, namely:

Lipa Cathedral, Tagbiliran Church in Bohol, Majayjay, Liliw, and Nagcarlan Churches of  Laguna, Manila Cathedral, Boac Cathedral, Naga Churches, Calaca and Balayan Church in Batangas, Jaro and Molo Churches of  Iloilo, Dupax Del Sur and St. Dominic Church of Nueva Vizcaya, San Diego Cathedral of Silay City and Antipolo Church of Rizal.

Jaro Church

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