No Filter Needed : Coron Islands

I had an opportunity to explore the Calamian Group of Islands last week. A 45 minute-flight from Manila took us to paradise.

The Calamian Islands or Calamianes is a group of islands in the Philippine province of Palawan. Amongst its numerous Islands, we visited the following major ones:

  • Busuanga Island
    • This is where the airport is located. It’s 40-min drive to Coron Town
    • It is the largest Islands in Calamian and the second largest island in Palawan
    • It is known for recreational diving, this is where you will see WW11 Japanese Ship Wrecks
    • Beautiful Coral Reefs are also seen here
  • Coron Island
    • This is where you see Kayangan lake
    • Twin Lagoon
    • Beautiful rock formation
    • The pristine white sand of Banol beach
  • Calauit Island
    • It is a wildlife sanctuary and game preserve area
    • Known as Safari park

We also did the town tour which includes climbing the freaking 721 steps to Mt. Tapyas summit- the second tallest mountain in Palawan. This mountain has its own story to tell too.

Our trip was made convenient by Be Cool Travels and Tours. Our Agency was all accommodating and thoughtful of our needs. We traveled with kids and they made sure to book us in a hotel with swimming pool.

There was a little adjustment to be done because of overlapping schedule at the hotel due to cancelled flights because of heavy rain the day before we came, but everything was handled accordingly. So much of my talking, please enjoy snaps from my trip.

All these pics were taken through my mobile phone only. Natural lights and clear waters made the difference. As they say, #nofilterneeded!

Feeding these big guys at Calauit

Feeding these big guys at Calauit

Big Cross at Mount Tapyas with the best bru

Big Cross at Mount Tapyas with the best bru

 

Shameless Pose at pass Island - my favorite place

Shameless Pose at pass Island – my favorite place

Breathtaking Pass Island

Breathtaking Pass Island

Banol Beach is LOVE

View From Kayangan View Deck

View From Kayangan View Deck

 

Natural Wonders!

planning to get on the plane and travel to Coron yet? wait, there’s more:

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The Cleanest Lagoon in Asia

View From the Hotel - not a bad view to wake up to

View From the Hotel – not a bad view to wake up to

I hope you had fun!

As for me, I went home with a burnt skin, happy heart and a renewed spirit!

-Simplymesmc

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I Travel With My Childhood Friends

I know this is a chestnut, but still my favorite quote on traveling: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine

About 5 years ago, during the start-up period of this blog, I wrote about one of my life’s blessings which are my friends. For those who have read my blog 3 years ago, you might have remembered (or not!) one of the travel adventures I did with my childhood friends too. So basically, you have an idea that I maintain a 25-year-friendship with my solid core.

Okay, for new subs, to give you a little backgrounder, I grew up being friends with a lot of people – Yes, generally I am friendly but I think everybody will agree that amongst all your friends, you have a core group. The group that you could go silly with or serious with or sneak out at night with. The ones who are with you through ups and downs. Yes, I have a solid foundation. I have been friends with my 4 girls who I fondly call “bru” ( short for Bruha – a Tagalog for witch) for 25 years now. Needless to say, I met these girls in grade school (First Grade to be exact).

I love traveling a lot and some of you have seen that in my series of posts already. Indeed, traveling makes me discover the unknown, thus, changes my perspective as a human being. It makes me humble having to realize that my niche in this world is just a tiny spot in this vast universe.  I am glad that in the last 3 years, I get the privilege to explore the world with one of my best brus , Joan. We went to Bohol, to Singapore, Hong Kong , Macau and our supposed travel to Malaysia (please read my “Why Malaysia Made me Cry’ here.)  not to mention our local travels together. Amongst all the places we’ve been to, I love our recent travel to Hong Kong and Macau.

Why? Well, not so much with the place, ( don’t get me wrong, the country is good but I have been to other better places.) still my favorite  because we went along with another bru, Anna Marie – plus, they brought their kids (and husband). Yes, some of my friends have kids already and I am glad that we are turning the pages of the unknown world together. What makes me a little emotional is this: We were the kids’ age when their moms and I met. (oh boi, times do fly so fast).

Beholding the world in the eyes of my little God-children and looking at how happy they were in every Disneyland rides while, us, adults have gone crazy, in every expenses, responsibilities and “adulting” stuff that we talked about, I realize how lucky I am to have explored life with my childhood friends whom I consider my family ( by choice).  I wish and pray that these kids, 6-year old Liam and 7-year old Eanna, find a solid friendship as strong as their parents’ (and God-parents’).

I wish the same for my future little ones.

Soon, when they grow up, we will tell them how nice it is to turn pages of life, explore the world and rediscover oneself together with your solid friends. Just like their moms.

You may read my HK and MO travel thru the links below:

Four Days in Hong Kong
Day Tour in Macau

 

 

Big Three Zero ( Tagaytay)

So, It was my Bday! And what better way to celebrate my #dirtythirty than have it with family?

Big sis with her Boyfriend, ‘lil sis and myself drove all the way to Tagaytay City to celebrate my #threezero on #10thofJuly.

A short background about Tagayatay City – ( source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tagaytay )

Tagaytay  is the Philippines’ most popular tourist destinations because of its outstanding scenery and cooler climate provided by its high altitude. Tagaytay overlooks Taal Lake in Batangas and provides one of the iconic views of the Philippines, the view of Taal Volcano Island in the middle of the lake, viewable from several vantage points in the city.

Tagaytay is relatively close to the capital city of Manila, only 55 km (34 mi) away via Aguinaldo Highway, providing an easy escape for the locals from the heat of the big city.

It is always great to have an escape from your daily routine at work, especially when it’s spent with your family and have it on your Big day!

As brainyquote.com say, Cakes are special. Every birthday, every celebration ends with something sweet, a cake, and people remember. It’s all about the memories.

I thank God for thirty good years full of wonderful memories with people I really care about.

Today, I’m making more memories with my sisters, one of the greatest gifts I ever have.

Sky Ranch Tagaytay

Sky Ranch Tagaytay- It was a rainy afternoon, so fog is all over

Bulalo to beat the rainy weather

Bulalo to beat the rainy weather

Sky Eye covered with fogs

Sky Eye covered with fogs on a Saturday afternoon

a visit to lady of Manaog Shrine

a visit to lady of Manaog Shrine

Sisters goofing around

Sisters goofing around

Smile with sissies!

Smile with sissies!- At the Most Beautiful Starbucks place in the Philippines – Starbucks Twin Lakes

Dinner at Carlo's

Dinner at Carlo’s-Pizza and pasta are great

The cold didn't bother us

The cold didn’t bother us

Breakfast at the hotel - affordable and yummy beef tapa

Breakfast at the hotel – affordable and yummy beef tapa

They know I'm not into sweets so I'm having a mini cake on my Big day

They know I’m not into sweets so I’m having a mini cake on my Big day

Our Road to Big Three – Zero ( Singapore)

With us turning 30 this year, also marks the 24th year of our friendship.

It has always been a part of our bucket list to travel abroad before we reach 30. Amongst the “brus”, as we call one another, only Annalyn has the chance to go out of the country for several times already with her family.

It was Joan’s and my first time to travel a foreign land and SG is our first destination.

Sharing with you our Singapore Adventure- The first destination on our road to big Three Zero!

Singapore Flyer: The world's tallest Ferris Wheel

Singapore Flyer: The world’s tallest Ferris Wheel

Tourist Unlimited Card that we purchased that could be used in MRT, LRT and bus

Tourist Unlimited Card that we purchased that could be used in MRT, LRT and bus

Bugis Junction Area

Bugis Village Area

Trying out local food with my Bru

Trying out local food with my Bru

A pose with Merlion, ofcourse

A pose with Merlion, ofcourse

Marina Bay Sands at night

Marina Bay Sands at night

Obligatory Selfie at Universal Studios Logo

Obligatory Selfie at Universal Studios Logo

Goofing around like true-blue foreigners :-)

Goofing around like true-blue foreigners 🙂

In a land of Far far away

In a land of Far far away

Giant grove at gardens by The bay

Giant grove at gardens by The bay

We were like Kids again

We were like Kids again

We saw panda bear

We saw panda bear

Taken by my beautiful travel buddy

Taken by my beautiful travel buddy

Singapore Botanical Garden

Singapore Botanical Garden

Life’s Best: Travel and Girlfriends

Traveling is one of my hobbies. It gives me a bizarre experience, a feeling of independence and a chance to appreciate world and its beauty.

When I’m not travelling, I love spending time with my friends. Being with them makes me feel happy, at peace and our time together could take us down memory lane. – remembering everything that we went through as kids, as teeners, asstudents, being adults, and for Joan, Motherhood.
I recently got the chance to hit two birds In one stone – an out of town vacation with two of my treasured girlfriends, Annalyn and Joan.

I practically grew up with these ladies, along with other childhood friends. 10 years of being classmates, a lifetime of being friends, and now, travel buddies. What else could I ask for ?
In an ordinary blog, I would probably be sharing with you my travel itinerary, budget breakdown and practical tips on exploring Bohol island, but now, I will give you a snap shot of my treasured moments with my girlfriends of 24 years at the beautiful island of Bohol.
This is just a start of our travels together.

The next time I reminish with them, this travel is surely a part of of wonderful memories that we will always go back to.

Lunch by the floating restaurant in Loboc River

Lunch by the floating restaurant in Loboc River

what's a trip to bohol without a visit to  our little friends?

what’s a trip to bohol without a visit to our little friends?

Butterfly sanctuary

Butterfly sanctuary

Driving an ATV

Driving an ATV

chocolate hills which we jokinlgly call Pandan Hills because it was green when we were there

chocolate hills which we jokinlgly call Pandan Hills because it was green when we were there

Camera 360 Camera 360

Joan and Me on snorkeling DAy

Joan and Me on snorkeling DAy

With Annalyn : this is has been here a couple of times already but for us, she didnt mind going again.

With Annalyn : this girl has been here a couple of times already but for us, she didnt mind going again.

Man-made forest at the background

Man-made forest at the background

Shell Museum

Shell Museum

I love these girls

I love these girls

just like the old times

just like the old times

being in a beautiful place with eautiful people

being in a beautiful place with eautiful people

My “Magayon” Experience

It was just a spur of the moment invitation and I didn’t let it pass, I immediately said yes. An invitation from my friend/ housemate has finally crossed out one of the many things in my bucket list:
• Visiting Bicolandia specially seeing Mayon Volcano. —– Checked 🙂

I’ve only read it from my geography books back in grade school that this Mountain is known for its perfect cone. I at last came face to face with what Bicolanos call “Magayon” – (Bicol word means beautiful).
Mayon last erupted in 2010 but it has maintained its perfect cone.

I was lucky it was not foggy during my visit and I Was able to see “her” in full. The 12 – hour bus ride to Bicol was all worth it.

Mount Mayon- known for its perfect cone

Mount Mayon- known for its perfect cone