38th: Island Province of Biliran

I mentioned in my previous post that we were supposed to visit Kalanggaman Island. Of course, I always have a Plan B when traveling so we went to the Southern part of Leyte and explored the island province of Biliran. Before, I thought it was part of Leyte but when I talked to a local, I knew that it was already declared as an island province. Never did I know that it will mark as my 38th province in the Philippines.

For some, this place might not ring a bell. So as a way of getting to know more about this not so known paradise, below are some of the must do when in Biliran.

1. Trek different waterfalls. Biliran has a lot of waterfalls waiting to be discovered in its mountainous area. My friends and I visited three waterfalls.


ULAN-ULAN FALLS - I have to say this is the most beautiful for me out of the three.


2. Stop by to appreciate Biliran's Iyusan Rice Terraces.

3. Side trip to Acaban Cave.

4. Morning walk along the serene Talahid Beach.

5. Discover Biliran's islands via island hopping. We were pressed with time so we were only able to visit three islands. Nevertheless, the adventure was still fun!

SAMBAWAN ISLAND - this island has the most breathtaking view from the top



Our Biliran trip was hassle free because someone helped us organize our tour. If you want a worthy tour package, you may visit this website: http://tourism.biliranisland.com/tour-packages.php for more information or contact Kuya Marlon at 09157962324. Thank you Kuya Marlon for making our Biliran trip an awesome experience! :)

HOW TO GET TO BILIRAN (from Tacloban)

From downtown Tacloban, ride a van bound to Naval and from the van terminal, your contact can pick you up there then start the tour. Travel time is about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

37th: Leyte

"What are you going to do in Tacloban? Why Tacloban?" I sometimes get this comment when people knew I booked a trip there. I don't get it why I have to get such reaction because it appears to me that it's not worth it to go there. Does traveling in the Philippines always have to be the famous ones? I do like the seeing famous places but sometimes I also like to explore the underrated ones.

There are a number of things to do and visit in Leyte. One of those famous tourist spots is Kalanggaman Island which is famous for its amazing sandbar. Unfortunately, my friends and I were not able to go there because tours are fully booked. Besides, I don't wanna join a big group of crowd because I feel like I won't enjoy the place that much. Instead of sulking in that incident, we just maximized our stay and explored what other things Leyte has to offer.

First stop: The longest bridge in the Philippines - San Juanico Bridge. This bridge connects two provinces in the country namely Leyte and Samar. Somehow I got a taste of being in two places at once (this is so A Walk to Remember if you know what I mean). :)))

Second stop: Provincial Capitol of Leyte. Its architectural style is Greek-inspired since white color and columns were used as its features. If you're a fan of architecture and critical about it, it's good to explore the various architectural features of Leyte.

Third stop: UP Tacloban. I just forced my friends to include this in our itinerary (hahaha) because an item in my bucket list is to visit all Oble statues in the Philippines. Woooh #UPFight

Fourth stop: Chew Love Resto. The heat is such a torture so we needed to grab some refreshment. We went to this resto which is famous in Tacloan due to its artsy and chill vibe.

Fifth Stop: Sto. Nino Shrine. Honestly, we didn't go inside and just took photos of the facade because 1) what's inside is about the Marcoses (it's one of Marcos' presidential rest houses) and 2) I'm not a big fan of the Marcoses.

Sixth Stop: Sto. Nino Church. Whenever I travel, I make it a point to visit a church because its my way of being grateful for having the opportunity to travel.

Seventh Stop: MacArthur Landing Memorial Park. For those who studied Philippine History, this marker should be very familiar to you. It is also in this scene when General MacArthur said one of the memorable quotes in Philippine History: "I shall return."

Eighth Stop: Paru-Parong Bukid Nature and Conservation Wellness Center. Before Yolanda hit Tacloban, this place was doing good in tourism and on full operation but after Yolanda, the staff were lessened, the place was ruined (and still recovering) and the number of tourists visiting the place lessened, according to the person-in-charge who I had a chat with. But I'm positive that they will be able to bring back the old nature and wellness center.

We stayed here on our last night in Leyte. The owner was generous enough to give us a big discount for an overnight stay. When in Paru-Parong Bukid, their Blue Rice and Green Smoothie are a must try. By the way, the place is 30 minutes away from the city center or what the locals call as "downtown".

Leyte may not be the province which is as enticing to visit as other provinces in the Philippines. but if you're just going to be open-minded, you will also realize that it is worth the visit. Besides the places we visited, the stories I heard from locals during and after Yolanda struck me the most.


I bought an island.

One of the benefits I get from work is having a one month paid vacation leave. So knowing me, what else could be a better way for me to make out the most of this vacation? AAAAAHHHHHHH TRAAAAAAVEEEEELLLLLL!!!

For my first trip this April, my cousin and I decided to do a staycation at a resort island in Occidental Mindoro called Grace Island Resort. Some tag it as the "Maldives of Mindoro" but I can't attest to that yet since I've never been to Maldives.

I've never heard of this resort island before until one morning, my cousin told me about it then I searched it and decided to book an overnight stay there. Allow me to enumerate the things I liked and didn't like during our stay there.

What I liked about Grace Island:
1. Staff are so accommodating, polite and approachable.
2. The place is not too crowded since there are only a number of cottages and rooms to stay in. I think only three groups of guests were booked for an overnight stay when we were there. Other guests were there for a day trip only.
3. The place seemed like a break from the online world because there is no wifi and no signal in the island.

What I didn't like about Grace Island:
1. Since summer heat is terrible in the Philippines, I found it a downside that electricity in the island is just from 6pm-6am.
2. I didn't like the towels because there are lints after using them.
3. Having no wifi and Globe signal was a challenge for me so there were times I wished I have access in the internet. LOL

For more information about Grace Island Resort, just click here.

P.S. You know me too well if you know what I meant about the title of this blog post. HAHA!



As one of the org moderators of Lakbayan Org in Ateneo de Manila High School for A.Y. 2015-2016, I found it fulfilling to share one of the things I love  the most, which is traveling, with a group of youngsters. So for this blog post, allow me to share with you two major lakbay that the organization had for the school year.

Our first major lakbay was held during the APEC long weekend. We decided to go to Hundred Islands, Alaminos, Pangasinan. Day 1 was allotted for island hopping.

The next day, we woke up very early to see the sunrise. :)

Done with the North so we picked the South as our next destination for the second and last major lakbay of the school year. The org decided to have a day trip at Fortune Island in Nasugbu, Batangas then overnight stay in Tagaytay.

This trip felt like we were in Greece already because of the vibe brought by the ruined structures and columns atop the island. It was like a taste of Athens, Greece in the Philippines.

These two major lakbay were just a part of the bigger picture of what happened in the school year that was. Besides the major lakbay, our weekly org meetings, the minor lakbay and the random chats we had inside and outside the org will always be part of the happy memories we had last school year.

So for the last few parts of this post, allow me to express my gratitude to everyone who has been part of the org's journey.

First, to my co-moderators Raine and Kenny, thank you for the patience, for always being there for the org in spite the hassle and stress we encountered. I wouldn't have survived moderating the org, if it wasn't for the two of you.

To the OSA team, particularly Sir Arvin, thank you for tolerating our kakulitan whenever we organize a trip. Alam ko po nginangarag namin kayo minsan but you still repay us with a smile. And of course Ma'am Tin for approving all our requests.

To the org officers especially Luis and Carlos, thank you for doing a great job! Things were always in place because of your dedication and commitment in the org.

To the members of Lakbayan, thank you for choosing this org and for sharing your time with us. All our trips were fun because you guys are so game. Wala kayong kaarte-arte! Kaya mali yung generalization ng iba na "maarte ang mga Atenista". Pag sinabi nila yun, pabasa niyo itong blog post ko sa kanila. Hahahaha!