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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Pusangkalye in 2013: TRAVELS

I was off to a slow start. The holiday rush and the weeks leading to new year's celebration and everything related to it finally took its toll on me. I am starting the year with a bad cough and flu.

But this is just a small bump. I am actually very excited about 2014. I think this year is gonna be an awesome year. Though late, allow me to summarize the amazing year that was 2013.

2013 has been another breakthrough year for my blogging this year with content focused mostly on travel, food, product/services reviews as well as hotel and resort staycations.

READ: Pusangkalye Travels in 2012:
http://www.pusangkalye.net/2013/01/pusangkalye-in-2012-travel.html

Here is a summary of my TRAVELS for 2013.
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Once you have travelled, the voyage never ends, 
but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. 
The mind can never break off from the journey --Pat Conroy



Thirteen (13) domestic destinations ( Corrigedor, Roxas City, Kalibo, Boracay, Tanay, Tagaytay, Calaguas, Naga, Legaspi, El Nido, Coron, Baguio, Cebu) and three (3) International  (Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand.) I am very happy I finally took the courage to go for the long awaited Southeast Asia Tour which more than anything else required one week of skipping work. The winner of course was El Nido, to date, it is my favorite of all the places I got to see since I started travelling in 2007. El Nido ftw!

Quite few for a "travel blogger" wannabe like me but I was very happy with my picks. The most important thing is not the numbers but the quality. I am happy i was able to pace myself finally and not give in to the pressure of travelling for the sake of travelling. 

Of Bombs,Big Guns and Lost Gold: 
The CORREGIDOR ISLAND WALKING TOUR
The historic island that is so close to Manila but yet so far. At least in my case becuase it was only in 2013 when I finally visited the place. yes, it took me 32 years to do so. I was invited here my Old Manila Walk as an introduction to their walking tour of the island. A different way of seeing this World War II military battleground off Manila Bay.
Read Full Review >> here








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TEN CENTS TO HEAVEN Tanay: 
Where Romance Meets Adventure
Is there a place where Adventure Meets Romance?Yes.But an hour land tour from Manila?That might be a difficult feat.Well,read carefully---places like this do exist.

At the foot of Sierra Madre in Tanay Rizal lies a leisure park where you can have the adventure of your life and still experience that Romantic Getaway less the grind of traveling far ----at TEN CENTS TO HEAVEN Tanay.

Full Article >>>here

JUNGLE BASE 
Tanay Rizal 4x4 Adventure
And there's another reason why your stay at Ten Cents To Heaven can be an adventure of a lifetime ---The JUNGLE BASE 4x4 ADVENTURE

After the 4x4 ride experience in Mt.Pinatubo a few years ago,I thought this one will be a child's play.I was wrong again.Walang sinabi ang 4x4 Ride sa Pinatubo!I underestimated the terrain in the Sierra Madre side of Tanay Rizal.If the Mt.Pinatubo trail is bumpy,this one is 3x more extreme!

Full Article >>>here
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Jungle Base Tanay Firing Range and 4x4 Center
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Roxas City
ROXAS CITY CAPIZ: set off point for a #Roxas-Kalibo-Boracay extended weekend
Bat naman kasi sabay ang Sinulog ng Cebu at Atiatihan ng Kalibo? Hirap tuloy pumili.
But since I also wanna drop by Boracay---Kalibo Atiatihan it is!As a bonus,I could fly to Roxas City in Capiz which is 2hours South of Kalibo.I have never been to Capiz before so it made me really excited.

#Roxas-Kalibo-Boracay extended weekend for the win!
Read Full Review >>>here

ROXAS CITY-Immaculate Conception Metropolitan Cathedral
Roxas City from Church

PAN-AY CHURCH: beauty in old age + the Biggest Church Bell in Asia
If you think Immaculate Conception Metropolitan Cathedral is already the grandest in the area of Roxas City,think again.Around 30 minutes outside the confines of the Capital of Capiz lies the town of Pan-ay where the 3-century old Sta.Monica Parish Church is located.It's popularly known asPAN-AY CHURCH.

If you think Immaculate Conception is old,this one is ooooold. If you feel that Immaculate Conception is wow, this one is woooooooow!Yang ganyang pakiramdam.:p

There's beauty in old age.
Read Full Review >>>here

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HALA BIRA KALIBO! 
#Ati-Atihan 2013 photos + Winners
I have to admit I have long wanted to experience Ati-atihan since I first heard the drum and lyre music associated with it when I was in high school.And thanks to the proximity of Kalibo to Boracay (only 1.5hours away) I was lured here more.Finally had my chance to join the festivities this 2013 arriving in the Island of Panay via Airphilexpress through Roxas City.Panay Island has four airports.Sagana!


Read Full Review >> here
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Met a new buddy in Roxas/Kalibo, Francis :)

ALTA VISTA DE BORACAY 
+ Puka Beach = Worry Free Travel
I was here in transient for the final leg of my #Roxas-Kalibo-Boracay Extended Weekend with Ati-Atihan as the main event.That didn't stop me from making the most of my stay here though.And I stayed in one of the best kept accommodation on the island.On top of the hills of Brgy.Yapak lies ALTA VISTA DE BORACAY.
Read Full Review >> here
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Paparazzi Mode: 
WHITE BEACH BORACAY
Boracay was the final leg of my Roxas-Kalibo-Boracay extended weekend.An icing on the cake.If there is one thing I loooooove about white beach,it's that it's awashed with hot bodies.And as I said,it's not even summer yet! Weather is weird lately and some of friends were in Boracay the day before I arrived and they complained about the gloomy weather.It was all sunny when I arrived 3pm in the island though.Equipped with my 200mm Nikkor telephoto lens,I feasted on the sight.Paparazzi mode at Boracay White Beach activate!

Remember teleboso in WHITE BEACH Boracay ????
Consider this a sequel :)
Read Full Review >> here and here

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BAGUIO CITY
It was an unplanned trip. I was here for two reason, 1. I was invited by Vince of Cordillera Bloggers for the Baguio-Benguet Bloggers Appreciation Tour 2013 (B3X TOUR) and 2. the tour coincides with Panagbenga Festival.
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PANAGBENGA FESTIVAL 2013:
Colorful but lacks consistency and glamour
Ok.Since I officially declared late last year that Masskara has sparked my love for festivals and nasundan ng Ati-Atihan in January,panindigan na at isama ang PANAGBENGA FESTIVAL 2013 sa list.Parang napilitan lang?hahaha

Well,it was kinda difficult to choose.That Feb.26 weekend,three simultaneous events we scheduled. Panagbenga,Clark Hot Air Balloon Fiesta and Caracol in Makati.Never mind Caracol coz I really can't see the point of having such festival in the financial capital of the Philippines.(Tama na ang Aliwan).But the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is quite interesting too,especially because Clark is only 2 hours North.But it was Baguio City where we converged.We means four (4) bloggers from Manila, five (5) from Cebu and one (1) from Benguet.It was a dual event with Panagbenga on one hand and Baguio-Benguet Bloggers Appreciation Tour (B3X) on the other.

Read Full Review >>>here
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Baguio-Benguet Bloggers Appreciation Tour 2013 (B3X TOUR)
Other than Panagbenga 2013,Nine bloggers from MNL and Cebu converged in Baguio City on Feb.24-26,2013 for another reason -----the Baguio-Benguet Bloggers Appreciation Tour 2013 (B3X TOUR).

And just to give you an idea how fun the tour was,here is one of our (many) group shots.Taken at the former DIPLOMAT HOTEL Baguio.

MNL x Cebu x Cordillera Bloggers =1 Wacky bunch.

Read Full Entry >>>here

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Tagaytay
The PUZZLE MANSION Bed & Breakfast Tagaytay
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And cheers to one of my highest googles post of all time!
SKY EYE: The Giant Ferris Wheel in Tagaytay #SkyFun
Tagaytay has become semi-dead (unless you own a prime property here) until recently when SM and Robinson's realty entered the scene.And now,there's another reason to be in Tagaytay -----SKY FUN AMUSEMENT PARK.

The amusement park has rides like Ferris wheel,Viking, Nessi Coaster, Merry-Go-round etc. all crowded in a small space.SKY EYE is the name of the Ferris Wheel which is to date the largest in the Philippines.It measures 63 meters tall.Still pales in comparison with the Singapore Flyer but since it is located on the Taal Volcano-side, (next to a cliff)along Aguinaldo Highway, it gives an even more elevated feel.
Story>>>here
#ElNidoSummer2013: BLESSED INN

Most people prefer not looking at photos of their travel destination so as not to spoil the fun.That can't be helped in my case since I do all the planning in our trips.Fortunately,in most places we visited,there's always the element of surprise.No matter how researched you are,something unexpected always comes up.That's the beauty of life.

With El Nido though, no matter how many good photos you have seen,the actual experience will always go beyond how good you think it is.It will literally blow your mind.This place is definitely my favorite to date!
Read All My EL NIDO Reviews >> here



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El_Nido Palawan Isalnd Hopping
Island Hopping Rates in El Nido
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late afternoon swim in 
NACPAN-CALITANG Twin Beach
Other than around five foreigners sunbathing, the long stretch of sand was basically deserted when we got there.My wife immediately removed her sandals to feel the sand.She's starting to behave like a true-blood travel blogger lately (except that she doesn't write).But her comments are helpful.I have a point of comparison to my oftentimes over-critical judgement.She was not impressed with the sand."Not that white,not that smooth" she said.I was not impressed either.But I knew that was not it.I pointed to them the hill where we should go."Time to see the place from another angle" ----i remarked.They were excited to follow.Actually,mas nauna pa sila.hahaha
Read Full Review >> here
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NACPAN Beach El Nido
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I finally took the courage to go on a self-proclaimed 7-day vacation. Lakasan lang ng loob. This was something I haven't done before out of fear that I might have no more work to go back to when I return.But the urge to see Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand was worth the risk.I am glad I did.It was experience of a lifetime.One which I suggest young and 'physically' able Filipinos should do. Hanggat bata pa at kaya pa ng katawan ---go for it!

I was with my wife and three other friends.Our #SEA2013 Tour started in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam otherwise known as Saigon.

Read ALL Ho Chi Minh City Articles >> here
Ho Chi Minh City
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Ho Chi Minh City Hall
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Phnom Penh 
CAMBODIA
The 6-hour bus ride from HCMC to Phnom Penh was kinda tiring but we didn't want to waste time since we have only one night to spend in Cambodia's capital.We therefore settled our things at our hotel and immediately went out to hunt for a good restaurant.

Gladly, our tuktuk driver was reliable.He suggested to us a good restaurant by the avenue near the riverside.
Full Article >>>here
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In This SERIES:

ALL Phnom Penh Articles >>>here

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The KILLING FIELDS Choeung Ek Cambodia
One should not miss The KILLING FIELDS in Choeung Ek when visiting Phnom Penh. This is one of the most popular mass graves where victims of the Communist Regime of Pol Pot were dumped.
Full Article >>>here
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a thirty-minute Tour inside the ROYAL PALACE Phnom Penh for $8 ?
I thought paying $8 just for a 30-minute peek inside the Royal Palace Complex in Phnom Penh was one desperate move but we had no other choice.I asked my friends and they all agreed ----andito narin lang tayo,why not make the most out of it.

It would have been a shame if we missed it.The reason is because we already purchased shuttle tickets to Siem Reap and the transportation was to leave 3pm with our things still at the front desk of the hotel.At least we got to enjoy a palace visit with less the crowd.Say,in Angkor Complex for example, the temples are amazing but it's difficult to take photos without photo bombs.
Full Article >>>here
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ROYAL_PALACE Phnom Penh



Cambodia
Ah.Angkor Wat! At last. Welcome to enchanted land.
To say that it was one of our most anticipated part of the trip would be an understatement.I was holding back the excitement since landing in Vietnam and being here finally is indeed a dream come true.I never felt lucky being a citizen of Southeast Asia.

This region is awesome, and Angkor Wat and the whole Angkor Complex is Shockingly Amazing!

In this SERIES
**GOLDEN TEMPLE VILLA Siem Reap: Small hotel with a BIG Statement
**KHEMER SOUR SOUP, Cambodian Noodle w/ Curry at PAI SAN RESTAURANT Siem Reap
**the "Mother of All Temples" that is ANGKOR WAT
**The "annoyingly annoying" RESTAURANT BARKERS at Angkot Wat
**the "Forest of Face Towers" that is BAYON TEMPLE
**INSIDE ANGKOR THOM: climb up BAPUON for an amazing view


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SIEM REAP TRAVEL SUMMARY: 
$15 Day Tour of ANGKOR COMPLEX via Tuktuk
So here is the short summary of our day tour of Angkor Complex.

$15 was all that's needed to rent the tuktuk.I contacted the same driver who took us to our hotel the night before and sealed the deal.There were 5 of us all in all and believe it or not, we fitted in one (1) tuktuk.lol

Read Full blog post >>>here
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How to get to SILOM BANGKOK from Suvarnabhumi International Airport vice versa
Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport is an engineering marvel.Airport palang mapapa-Amazing Thailand kana.We in the Philippines could only wish we have an airport this good. In time I guess.

Flying in and out of Suvarnabhumi is easy.It is an aviation hub so there are so many direct and connecting flights to many destinations worldwide. To get to downtown Bangkok could be a feat though because Bangkok is a cosmopolitan city.

Read the rest of my blog entries on Bangkok + Thailand >>>here
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the GRAND PALACE Bangkok deserves the title "Grand"

I have already declared many times how I deliberately held back going to Bangkok due to some "silly" reasons.The remarks of some people I know that the city is nothing but another urban chaos like Metro Manila has helped me dismiss it through the years.But the thought that Thailand receives millions of tourists (24million in 2012) haunted me.There must be something that sets it apart from many other destinations that it is so popular.

Yes,Bangkok is Metro Manila five years forward but embedded in this urban jungle are wonderful pagodas,Buddha statues,temples and palaces that makes Thailand deserving to use the word "amazing" in its tourism campaigns.

The GRAND PALACE is only the introduction.
Full Article >>>here

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One of the most searched (google) post I have of my Thailand Series is that of
shabu-shabu dinner at MK RESTAURANT Siam Square

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PATTAYA PLEASURE: 
A day at the beach of KOH LARN
I am also wondering why with the title.I only took clue from a friend who mentioned in his comment that he doesn't want anything else but Pattaya pleasure.I have no idea what exactly he was referring to but I reckon it has something to do with the city's notorious popularity with night parties and sex trade.

People of course define "pleasure" in different ways.Would have loved to watch "live shows" but we were just here for a day tour so we went to the beach of --- KOH LARN (Coral Island) ---instead.

Full Story >>>here

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CEBU CITY
to say The HENRY HOTEL Cebu is "Like No Other" is an understatement
I know it's the onset of the rainy season and for somebody like me who dreads turbulence on a plane ride, flying to Cebu alone seemed like a bad idea.For some weird reason, I felt like Cebu (having been there several times) couldn't excite me anymore. I was wrong yet again.After this solo trip, I have seen Cebu with fresh eyes. My accommodation in Cebu City, The Henry Hotel in Banilad changed that mood.

Story >>>here

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WHERE TO EAT IN CEBU CITY:
LARSIAN ihaw-ihaw + Brownie Cup at LA MAREA + CASA VERDE Baby Back Ribs

And I even tried something for the first time, FREEDIVING in Mactan Island!

FREEDIVING at Kontiki Dive Resort Mactan
Never in my wildest imagination that I would also try something close to scuba diving which I consider one of my dreaded activity. Well, not that close but one that I consider dreaded just the same---freediving.

Sounds so simple ayt? Yeah right.But I panick when I see deep, dark undersea cliffs. Pakiramdam ko lalamunin ako ng dagat.

Story >>>here
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photo credits to Doi Domasian


BUSUANGA
Mt.TAPYAS and MAQUINIT HOT SPRING on a rainy 1st day in Coron
It was one of those trips I was excited but hesitant to take.There was an approaching storm in Luzon ---a record 4th consecutive Chuseok vacation with a storm about to hit the Philippines---so I was really worried.The concern was that planes to Coron are small as the airport in Busuanga can't even accommodate Airbus A320's. Say hello to a shaky ride. And it was as I expected, which made me very uncomfortable throughout the flight especially during takeoff and landing.

All gloomy when we landed.There's nothing to do at the airport so we just picked our bags and got out as quickly as possible.There are many passenger vans parked in front of the arrival area. It started to rain a few minutes after we set off so the Grand Entrance that I was hoping didn't happen. Sayang, gusto konpamandin pagdating palang sa isang bagong lugar "Wow Philippines" na kagad.

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CORON ISLAND

There are many Island Hopping Packages in Coron reflective of there are many destinations to choose from. Rates for these tours are standard even among different tour agencies. This also means some of the tour combinations vary from one agency to another. Quite confusing.

Since we only have two days for such activity, what we did was to rent a boat so as we can streamline the destinations to our liking.

We rented a boat worth Php 2,000 for a whole day tour which started 9am and ended 5pm.
This only covers for the boat rental, meaning, we had to:

1.Buy our own food
2.Pay for entrance fees

Full Aritcle >>>here
ALL CORON Articles >>>here
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MALCAPUYA ISLAND
Beach finally!!!!
And this is what I mean by beach in contrast with that of Atuayan where we went the day before.
Kung me advantage si El Nido kay Coron, that's because beaches abound in El Nido. But this one is really a standout ---MALCAPUYA ISLAND.

Going to the beach on a stormy weather has never been this good. And when I said stormy, I really mean stormy. The boat ride from Coron Town which usually takes 1.5 hours on a clear day took us three (3) hours to navigate because of strong waves. Not Calaguas level, read, the "sugal buhay" boat ride to Mahabang Buhangin CALAGUAS ISLAND but almost similar. I was not very nervous though because I know our boatman was careful and experienced. Heavy downpours while we were in the middle of the sea had us all wet even before reaching the island.

Full Review >>>here
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MALCAPUYA Coron
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EL NIDO vs CORON: Which is Better
The never-ending discussion and my take on it deserves a separate blog entry.
EL NIDO vs CORON: Which is Better?

Most of my trips were on the first half of the year. The second half was mostly quiet with hotel staycations on the side. Have to save money for my next big trips.

This 2014, I am soooo looking forward to more travels. To date, I have only booked five destinations, all personal (non-sponsored) trips so it's gonna be quite though on the budget. All are International trips, Indonesia (Jakarta and Yogyakarta) in January, China (Shanghai and Beijing) on May and Taiwan on September.


Still waiting for your time to wander? The world is waiting, all you need to do is jump in!
Let's travel more in 2014!!!


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ALSO Read : 
Pusangkalye in 2013: HOTEL/RESORT Reviews + Staycations

2 comments:

  1. I visited Corregidor like 4 times already and never get tired of it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. wow... saya... more travels to come... ;)

    ReplyDelete

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