Travel Video: Camotes Islands

I know I still need a lot of practice when it comes to creating travel videos. This is my way of learning how to put all my video clips together. Someday, I will learn how to take better videos. For now, I hope you still find my video interesting enough that it would make you think about a trip to Camotes.

No Stress in Camotes

A month ago, I got a message from my friend, Shirly, asking if I want to spend her birthday with her. I missed her big birthday bash in Phuket last year because I had work. This time, I did not have vacation plans for November and my work schedule is manageable. It was so easy to say “Yes!”. She planned to go to Cebu which was convenient for me because we just have to meet halfway.

I booked an overnight ferry to Cebu. I specifically asked for a top bunk because I feel more secured when I can see everyone.

Good thing, I was also placed near the window so I can see what is outside.

I took the boat because it leaves Nasipit port at 7pm and arrives at the Cebu pier at 5:30 am the following. I have enough time to catch the 9AM fast craft to Camotes Island. Shirly took an early flight from Manila so we agreed that I drop by the airport to pick her up (with my cab from the pier) and proceed to the wharf which was just around one kilometer away from the airport. The cab driver got lost actually. He brought us to Island Mall in Lapu-lapu instead of the Island Central Mall in Mactan which was just across the more popular Marina Mall. Inside the mall was a ticketing counter of Jomalia Shipping. The wharf was just a walking distance from the mall. It was just near the Cebu Yacht Club.

We arrived Camotes at around 10:30 AM. Our tricycle from the resort was already waiting for us. We were booked at Sunset Vista Seafront Guest House. It was located in Esperanza, a quaint and secluded barangay in San Francisco, Camotes Island. Shirly said that we were easily sold at the “quaint and secluded” description because we both wanted the peace and quiet areas. (The tita blood in us is showing! Ha!)

Esperanza was a quiet fishing barangay.

Our first order of the day was to find a place to eat lunch. Our guest house was not serving lunch because their cook was on vacation. Good thing there was good pizza in the next resort.

We had nothing planned for the afternoon because we were chill like that.  Ha!  We took a nap and before we knew it, it was time for dinner.  We were there to relax. So, relax we did!

We did all the touring the next day. Here is our guide showing Shirly all the spots we would be visiting.

Timubo Cave

I learned that both of us were non-swimmers. Before we entered the cave, we asked the lady at the entrance if there was going to be a guide. She said no. We asked how deep the water was. She said the deepest part was 6 feet deep so we were both careful. So careful that we only dipped near the steps and never went further down. Ha! Better safe than sorry!

Lake Danao

It was a beautiful lake. There were kayaks and boats you can hire. We  just opted to sit in the grass and let the sun dry our clothes a bit.

Paraiso Cave

The cave was underneath a well-manicured garden.  Stairs, lights and railings were there to make it easier for tourists to access the cave pool.

Amazing Cave and Beach Resort

Yes, there was a cave in this area. I just do not have a picture. I have a video clip though. I will post my Camotes video on my Youtube channel once I am done editing it.

Mangodlong Rock Resort

After all the cave pool swimming, we were looking forward to the beach. We found one in this resort.  They also have a large octopus-shaped slide that dropped to the ocean.

Santiago Bay

If only we have known how nice and wide this beach area is, we would have booked a resort near this place. Next time, next time. We went on a weekday and an off-peak season so there were few tourists and beach-goers. This is the kind of vacation this introvert likes the most- peaceful and no crowds.

San Francisco Baywalk

We were wondering where the market area was since all we saw in Esperanza were small stores. We found our answer when we visited the Baywalk area.

Tulang Diot

Our last stop was Tulang Diot. It is a small island near Esperanza. It was not part of the usual tour package of the Camotes. You need to pay additional fee to get there but since our resort was just a short walk away from where boats were docked to cross to the island, we were not charged for the trip.  We just have to hire a boat. It was a short boat ride and, as a bonus, we have Moana on board!

The beach was pristine. For a Php5 environmental fee per person, the beach was kept clean and immaculate.

It was raining on and off when we arrived Camotes.  Since we were billeted in Sunset Vista, I have been looking forward to seeing the sunset. I was glad to finally see the sunset in Tulang Diot.

As a bonus, we also saw a rainbow. I hope you can see the rainbow in this photo.

What a beautiful way to celebrate a birthday! Happy Birthday, Shirly! Thank you for inviting me on this trip!

That Whirlwind Trip to Cebu

Mid-June, four of us in the family went on a trip to Cebu. We bought the promo tickets in February. Unless it is an emergency or an important business trip, we always buy tickets ahead of time. The trip was for medical reasons. Uncle has not had his regular checkup in two years. My aunt needs second opinion on her heart condition. It was a 6-day trip (including the travel time) but it felt like a short trip because we spent most of the days in the clinic. There was a long line in the cardiologist’s clinic. Most of my time there was spent waiting for our turn. Waiting for the laboratory results added to the waiting time. All the waiting made me think that I should have been a doctor. Ha! Then I realized that biology was my waterloo in school. Poof! Just like that I fell back to reality.

Of course, we made some small trips around the city. When I checked my photos, we visited many churches which was appropriate because we are there for the health reasons and God is the greatest healer.

This is the Basilica del Sto. Niño.

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 This is the San Pedro Calungsod Chapel.

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I was not able to take a photo in the right perspective but the design looks like a series of walls like these.

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We also went to Sto. Rosario Church which is near the University of San Carlos and Our Lady of Lourdes Church near my cousin’s place. I just did not take pictures anymore.

We stayed in my cousin’s house and I got reunited with a friend I met two years ago, Ewok.

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On a Saturday afternoon, after going to the clinic, we visited a relative’s farm.

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The farm is on a hill and one of the rooms had this gorgeous view.

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The clinic is not open on a Sunday so we took a trip to Sibonga to visit Simala. It was deemed to be a place of miracles and healing. It was a massive structure and there were many visitors when we went because it was a Sunday.

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Before we left Cebu, we took another quick trip to Sto. Niño Basilica. Beside the church is La Fortuna bakery. We bought some pasalubong there. (Tip: Buy masi, hopia and masareal.) Oh, I tried this new product- chocolate-coated dried mangoes.   There were only five pieces in a pack which costs P68.  It was delicious but I felt the quantity per pack is not enough to satisfy my sweet cravings. This made me think that dried mangoes dipped in Nutella might taste good, too!

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I took a photo of this iconic structure.

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And I wanted a photo here. IMG_9411 Till next time, Cebu!

My Year of Philippine Travel

I traveled a lot in 2011 that some of my friends have labeled me “laagan“. Laagan  is a Visayan term for wanderer. The word describes someone who can’t stay put.  I know a lot of travel bloggers who went to a lot more places than I do. Compare to them, my trips looked mild. Nevertheless, I felt I traveled more this year compared to my trips for the past 30+ years.

2011 was the year I started to fulfill my travel dreams.  I am hoping to see new places this year.

Dalaguete, Cebu

This is a town in Southern Cebu. My paternal grandfather came from this quiet town. Their town fiesta (300+ years!) is on a February. My cousins invited me to come along and coincidentally, we had a Cebu Pacific trip scheduled on those dates. (Dalaguete is pronounced as “dalaget”.)

Cebu City

We always visit the Sto. Niño whenever we are in Cebu.  However, it was my first time to check out Magellan’s cross.

Davao City

Although I spent 4 years of my life in this city, it has been 8 years since I last set foot on this place. I attended some important matters in Davao in April and I squeezed in some touristy activities by visiting Jack’s Ridge and People’s Park.

Masao, Butuan City

Butuanons (and several acclaimed historians) claimed that Magellan landed here and not in Limasawa.  For us, Butuanons, this is also our beach.

Checkout the sign: Do not "ride' the boat. If you want pictures, use ground area. (rough translation)

Luneta, Manila

My quest to visit the Rizal monument remained a dream. More stories on this post.

Magallanes, Agusan del Norte

The oldest tree in the Philippines can be found here.  One can reach this place via a 30-min boat ride.

Camarines Sur

It was the first time I traveled with friends. We had so much fun that we are planning another trip this year to another Philippine destination. There was so much to see in CamSur that I wrote 4 blog posts about this trip: here, here, here and here. 😀

Legazpi, Albay

The two-hour trip from Naga city was all worth it. Mayon Volcano, the world’s most perfect cone, was magnificent.

Bit-os, Butuan City

One need not go so far to see new places. Even a small city like Butuan has hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

Intramuros, Manila

It was a short yet memorable visit. I will explore more of this place next time. I should join  Carlos Celdran’s walking tour .

Tagaytay City

The short trip with relatives was still fun.  Taal Volcano is always fascinating.

Bantayan, Cebu

Bantayan rekindled my love for the beach.  This place is paradise. I hope Bantayan does not get too commercialized.

Cebu City

I traveled to Cebu again and explored it on my own.  I walked to the Plaza Independencia early in the morning before my trip back home.

Lakewood, Zamboanga del Sur

We braved the roads during Sendong to attend a friend’s wedding. I would have taken pictures of Pagadian. The city’s unique features are the inclined streets and angled tricycles. I failed to take photos because my mind was in CDO and Iligan. We went to Lakewood and the place was beautiful. I relaxed a bit before traveling back again to Cagayan de Oro. We traveled during the night along Lanao del Norte.

I will travel more this year.

I end this post with this video.

Tara na!

Ten things I love about Bantayan

I was supposed to write a chronological post about my experience there but I always end up looking at photos instead. I get sidetracked every time. Bantayan is such a beauty. I get mesmerized by looking at photos which consequently brings me to dream land and I start reminiscing the 3 days I spent there without writing them down. My thoughts run faster than my typing speed.

So I come up with the list of things I love about Bantayan Island.

1. The BEACH!

Of course! What else could it be? We stayed in the town of Santa Fe and the beach there is gorgeous. Do you see the sand bar? In the morning, when the tide is low,  that large area with water is all sand like this one below. 2. Bantayan Sunrise

We woke up early to catch the sunrise.  The cool morning breeze jolts us up. No need for coffee to perk me up. It is worth waking up early.

3.  The Bantayan Sunset

The sunset was also beautiful. We were fortunate we were near this area when the sun set. 4. Empty beach

I am quite selfish when it comes to personal space. This may be the reason why I was not a beach lover before because the beach near my city was always crowded. I like the comfort  wide open spaces bring. It is like owning a beach.  What I like most is that we can just leave our things on the sand and swim to our heart’s content without worrying about our belongings being stolen.  Well, there was one little scary moment when a dog sniffed on our bags on the sand while we were in the water. The dog went on his merry way afterwards. No harm done.  Mental note: Do not bring food on the beach.

5. Affordable food on the street

I like it when I can spend less that P100 for a meal. I had chicken barbecue, puso (rice in basket of coconut leaves) and softdrink. I think it only cost me around P60 for that meal.  Another meal I had is grilled chorizo on a stick.  One stick only costs P15. Not bad. I had fresh pineapple for dessert. Sweet deal!

Chicken barbecue and puso

Chorizo and pineapple

6. Clean streets

I like walking especially in streets that are not familiar to me. It is an opportunity to explore. Walks are lovelier on a clean street. 7. The small town charm

Bantayan town proper is small yet charming.  Key establishments surround the town plaza. The church, municipal building , market and port are all accessible by foot from the town plaza. 8. Danggit!

Danggit is a fish.  When one mentions danggit and Bantayan, the term danggit often refers to dried danggit. It is a boneless dried fish. It is cooked by frying. It is best eaten when it dipped in vinegar and paired with rice.  Our hotel served danggit for breakfast.

But that was not enough for me, I had to bring danggit home. Thus, we trooped to the market to buy a kilo. A kilo costs P400.

Other dried products were also available. I also bought dried squid.

9. Getting the tan

I am Filipino. I have brown skin.  I love it that way. After my trip to Bantayan, friends and family have noticed that I got darker than my usual brown color.  The thing is, I don’t fret over dark skin unlike some Filipinos.  My only concern is sunburn. I did not get it so I am fine. It has been 3 weeks since the trip, my cousin still teases me that I am dark. I do not mind. I love my color.  My father often told me before that I was red when I was born. Now, I declare I have the tan of Victoria’s Secret model.  I do not need to post a whole body shot to prove it.  My tanned legs (uhm, logs!) are enough proof. HA!

10. Zero-talent photography

I do not need photography skills to capture perfect photos.  Bantayan is just perfect that way.

 

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