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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

CAFETALY MALATE: Bingsu, Chimaek, Pimaek and more!

And I finally got my hands on bingsu! 

Patbingsu (팥빙수, also stylized as patbingsoo, literally red beans with ice) is a Korean shaved ice desser with sweet toppings such as chopped fruit, condensed milk, fruit syrup and Azuki beans highly popular in Korea.This snack originally began as ice shavings with red bean paste It was traded among government officials. Many varieties of patbingsu exists in contemporary culture. source

classic patingsu at Cafetaly

Put simply, it's Korean halo-halo.  
I thought only Cafe Bene with only a few branches in Metro Manila offers it but two blocks away from the hostel is Cafetaly which sells breads, pastries, bingsu and even chimaek or chicken + maekju (beer).


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Idiot's Guide To Climbing Mt. Taraw El Nido #BawalAngPabebeSaTaraw

And I said climbing because I mean rock climbing and not mere hiking. And not just ordinary rocks, pointed rocks. So this is no easy feat. This is more than just wishful thinking to have that lovely profile picture or Instagram-worthy shot with you in the frame. You have to make sure you are physically fit, in good condition on the day of the climb --- enough sleep, not drunk and not suicidal.

And those IG posts of good looking creatures on top of Taraw seemingly victorious of the view got me. At dahil inggetero ako, I told myself I should not miss Taraw again this time.

The Perfect Time to Climb

The best time of the day to climb is either early in the morning or in the afternoon and our travel agency in El Nido told us sunrise in Taraw is best. That means starting the climb early in the morning. We were in El Nido for 5 days 4 nights and we attempted to hike on the 2nd , 3rd and 4th day but it was just impossible. No guide would accompany us since it was rainy on afternoons during
our stay. The rocks are slippery so it is not advisable" quipped one of our guides from Northern Hope Tours.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Nobody's Tour? EL NIDO Tour-B Will Surprise You: Entalula Beach, Pinagbuyutan Island, Snake Island and more via #NorthernHopeTours

You know that in El Nido, Island Hopping Tour is as easy as choosing A, B, C and D. What you might not know is that there is a new addition, Tour E, which includes Nacpan Beach and Mt. Taraw which I think you can do on a d.i.y.

Everybody also knows that the most popular tours are A and C. And no contest at all, Tour C is the best so it is where everybody goes. The 2nd option is always Tour A which is equally good. I have been to both and I can personally attest to that. While some tour companies offer speacial combination tour A and C, read: El Nido COMBINATION TOUR A and C #NorthernHopeTours, I still suggest you go on separate days so as to enjoy each spots more unless you don't have the luxury of time as what happened to us in 2013. Thanks to Northern Hope Tours we were able to do the combination tour back then. 


And since many are first-timers in El Nido and many are also on a short stay, tours A and C are always the option. Tour B and D therefore don't get too much attention. Our guide actually referred to Tour B as "nobody's tour" and we have to admit, we too Tour B because it was stormy during our stay that Tour C was restricted. Waves were too big that no tour companies were allowed to set sail in the open waters leading to Matinloc Island. And so, no choice kami since we have already done Tour A on the 1st day.

Surprisingly, Tour B for me didn't disappoint. I was actually surprised that it could match, if not exceed Tour A. yes, if you take tours A and C, you feel the redundancy. But Tour B is like a breath of fresh air. It is the other side of El Nido which will make you realize that the place is diverse and multi-faceted. Read on.

TOUR A: 1,200 Pesos/person
Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, Simizu Island, Secret Lagoon and 7 Commandos Beach
TOUR B:  1,300 Pesos/person
Entalula Island, Pinagbuyutan Island, Snake Island, Cudugnon Cave and Cathedral Cave
TOUR C:1,400 Pesos/person
Hidden Beach, Helicopter Island, Secret Beach, Matinloc Shrine and Star Beach
TOUR D: 1,200 Pesos/person
Bukal Island, Ipil Beach, Nat-Nat Beach, Cadlao Lagoon and Paradise Beach

Monday, October 26, 2015

SPIN DESIGNER HOSTEL EL NIDO: So Good, It's So Easy to Recommend to Friends @SpinHostelPH

SPIN Designer Hostel, El Nido
Balinsasayaw Road cor. Calle Real, El Nido, Palawan
Email: spinhostelph@gmail.com

Finally, a designer hostel that El Nido deserves. My friend from South Korea who has been dying to see the Philippines said she finally found the schedule to do so for Korean New Year of 2016. She was so excited to break to me the news. Being a travel blogger in the Philippines, she asked me about the best destinations and her list narrowed to two (2) being Bohol and El Nido. Before my return to El Nido a few weeks ago, she was inclined to pick Bohol. EL Nido sure is amazing but she was a bit hesitant about accommodations in the area. Since she is staying for 7 nights, (2 nights in Manila and 5 nights in her forward destination) she wants something that fits the budget without necessarily sacrificing quality.

My first time in El Nido two years ago did not afford me to check on many accommodation options. So I told her I will update her on that aspect when I get back. Staying at Spin Designer Hostel for two nights, I was convinced this is the perfect spot for her. I immediately sent her messages and pictures of Spin while there. Thank God many spots in El Nido are now 3G and wifi connected and the wifi at Spin was indeed very helpful. I enjoyed Spin so much --- chick ambiance, trendy design, wide common areas, nice rooms, diverse guests, warm staff, the overall experience being around so many travelers from all over the world with its spacious common areas as divergence point. Spin Designer Hostel has elevated the hostel concept not just in El Nido but in the entire country. It is the best I have tried to date.

SPIN Designer Hostel, El Nido

No Better Location for a Designer Hostel
in El Nido
One of my major concern was location. I wanted to be at the center of the action. But El Nido town where the best restaurants and socialization are located is already saturated. Who doesn't want a place next to the main beach anyway but that beach area is so small as the town itself and most of the accommodations there are old and a bit of a run-down. So you see expansion in Corong Corong area and that's exciting but Corong Corong is a long stretch and so you have spotty attractions. I wanted to be where everything is walking distance away. Spin Hostel is not at the towns beachfront but it is still smacked in an area where things are concentrated. Looking at the map I thought it is a little off but it is actually an easy 2-minute walk to the beach.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Review: WHERE 2 NEXT MANILA HOSTEL - A Place Full of Warmth #hostelstay

I had the privilege to meet Paul, he is the manager of Where 2 Next Manila Hostel. In his early 20's, Paul is young, hip and energetic, a personification of what the hostel exudes. It was late afternoon then and Paul was busy chatting with his guests he accompanied earlier to Binondo for a food + cultural walking tour. Although tired, he greeted me with so much optimism. I also learned during check in that they just left the hostel a few minutes before our arrival. That is when I asked about the tour posted on their board if how much they charge for it. I was surprised to learn that they don't charge their guests a cent.

For now, what the hostel wants is to create an opportunity for their guests to experience Filipino culture by simply chipping in for the food they consume and the fares to and from Binondo. Paul told me that the group spent around 300+ pesos for the experience, that is for several restaurants they tried. Such is a showcase of Filipino hospitality. And I could tell that Paul is so into the fun of the experience. He enjoys every bit of it as his guests does. In the process, he makes friends from all corners of the world, lasting bonds that money cannot buy. I see why he enjoys his job so much.
I wouldn't know the existence of this hostel if not for finding an accommodation in El Nido. Yes, Where2Next has branches in both Nacpan Palawan and Manila. So, after securing a booking for El Nido I thought why not try the one nearby to get a sense of what the brand offers.

Remember Malate-Ermita area? The glory days of this tourist district is coming back. Thanks to the return of entertainment establishments, restaurants and with it are hotels for all budget. So far, we have tried Amelia Hotel, Pink Manila Hostel and recently Where2Next Manila.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Nature Photowalk with #Canon PowerShot SX60HS @CanonPhils

Living in Rizal has a few downsides. I often miss out on events because working from home means I cannot afford to leave on weekdays. It could also become a bit boring at times because there is no night life here or not so many dining options. But if there is one thing worth all that, it's being close to nature.

In Nature #ishootwithcanon #beyondwhateyessee
Our village is bordered by a hill with lush forest on the South and farms on the North. Beyond are the hills of Morong Rizal and farther afield are the mountains of Tanay. Such is the view that greets me everyday.

And since I was excited to test my new Canon PowerShot SX60 HS, I decided to go for a quick walk in nature the other day to check if this camera lives to my expectations.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Taking a Trip to India? Make Sure You Visit these Hill Stations

Tourism in India over the past decade has grown substantially. All credit goes to the Ministry of tourism in India who has realized that this country has a vast tourism potential; the country certainly lack in the stunning natural beauty department. The influx of tourists who come in from all across the world to India on their vacations is on the rise. The rich heritage, natural beauty, and distinct culture of the land, all serve to captivate tourists.

India is all about its attractive beaches, golden deserts, rich wildlife, historical monuments, elegant temples, serene locations, and the folklore. Apart from all that, you have at your disposal a number of vibrant markets, festivals, lifestyles and hospitality of the locals, which makes your entire stay in India one that is truly fantastic and unforgettable.

Kalpa, Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh, India
Himachal Pradesh, India. 
Photo Credits: Jitendra Singh
Manali India. 
Photo Credits: Ranna M V

Displaying bio and geo diversity at its finest, from snow-capped mountain peaks to ultramodern tech cities that rival Silicon Valley, the land has everything. The hills and mountains remain a major tourist attraction though, and to showcase these assets best, India has several hill stations, offering a charming and refreshing atmosphere for tourists.

Traveling through India, you will be able to experience the different cultures of the locals and you will also get to see a glimpse of the incredible sights of India. If you are planning a holiday trip to this beautiful country, here are two hill stations you must visit.


In pre-colonial times, this hill station was known as the “summer capital” among the British. However, it is now known as the “capital of Himachal Pradesh.” This destination is definitely a delight and treat for the eyes, majorly because it has so many scenic sights that leave people awe-struck.

With so many glorious sights, Shimla is highly appreciated by most tourists for its eternal beauty and rich ethnicity. Walking along this hill station, you will see many colonial buildings and monuments that flaunt the splendor of the region. The ever-friendly locals here are popular for their “Nati,” a famous dance form that perform to entertain tourists.

Attractions are aplenty at this hill station; you can enjoy a tour to the Shimla State Museum, Annandale, Jakhoo Hill, small cozy cottages, and villas. You can book accommodations for your stay through sites like homestays.in and so many others.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

#FoodReview: NAV- MODERN THAI CUISINE RESTAURANT and the Best Tom Yum Goong in Town!

Tom Yum Goong is my favorite of any other food I tried to date and the best one was in Phom Penh in 2013. Yum! I therefore get ocassional cravings for tom yum and I realized it's not easy to to find a Thai restaurant in Metro Manila especially outside malls. Alas! We hit the spot last time while on staycation at Privato Hotel Pasig (Read: PRIVATO HOTEL Staycation + Food Finds in #KapitolyoPasig) thanks to Tripadvisor app. Kapitolyo, where the hotel is located, is a restaurant wonderland. Inside the village across the street from Ace Hotel and Suites is Nav-Modern Thai Cusine Restaurant where we discovered the best ever Tom Yum Goong in town!

Tom Yum Goong @


A relatively small place. An interior not so much of Thai rather more contemporary. Nav boasts a menu packed with bestsellers. Be sure for the red marking with N on the listing and that's their best selection. There are so many to salivate for! Price range for 2 pax is around 700-800 php. It was here where we had dinner on a rainy night and we thought a hot soup would be perfect. We ordered Tom Yum Goong, Green Curry and Khao Kluk Kapi (Bagoong Rice).

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Le Cheat Kitchen + Bar : On Milkquakes, Mocktails & Churros @eatlecheat

Le Cheat Kitchen + Bar
DAILY 11AM - 1AM | 

The surprise find in the area was Le Cheat, it is a restaurant and bar with hip food offering definitely fit for the kind of crowd in the place. You know, La Salle and St. Scho? They sell comfort fusion food x Artisanal Cocktail Experience.

Milkqaukes, quesodillos, raw-rritos, stella, craft burgers. Pangalan palang so chic na. Add to the modern vibe of the place pa. It lies at the street corner opposite Hotel Benilde and the mural on the wall immediately got my attention. I knew the place is nice then and there.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Review: CIRCLE HOSTEL ZAMBALES #HostelStay @thecirclehostel #SanFelipe

Other than Baler and San Juan La Union, there is a other surfing destination in Luzon that is rising in popularity ----San Felipe Zambales. Makes sense because San Felipe is the 2nd town from San Antonio which is well known for its coves Anawangin and Nagsasa as well as Capones Island. That said, the place is only approximately 3 hours away from Manila via NLEx and SCTEx, half the time you need to travel for both Baler and San Juan. So if you are a beginner who wants to learn the 101 of surfing, San Felipe is the place to go.


There are only a few accommodations in the beach area (less than 10 in my count) and some of them are private vacation accommodations but the fact that a popular hostel brand -- The Circle Hostel --has put up a branch here means this place is in for bigger things.

And that's where we stayed for two nights last month. Not so much to surf because we knew the weather will be not good due to an incoming storm but we were there to feel the place and chill.


By Car
-urn left upon exiting the Kalaklan Gate.
-Go straight and pass through the following towns: Subic Town, Castillejos and San Marcelino
-You will hit an T-intersection with a Petron. Make a right.
-Straight until through San Narciso until you see the San Felipe arch.

We got here by taking public transport. Took Victory bus from Caloocan station bound Iba Zambales.
We were in San Felipe at around 9:30 am. Had a quick breakfast at their public which if I could say is clean and organized for a public market. Took the tricycle to Circle hostel for 80 pesos and that's it. Cost is normally 70 pesos but it rained heavily the day before so the clever tricycle drivers unanimously agreed among themselves to raise the rate by 10 pesos. tsk tsk
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