Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas at Baguio

Disclaimer: This post will be photo heavy.

This Baguio trip was planned months before Christmas and we were all excited because it will be the first time that we will not spend Christmas at home. Few days before the trip, we were buying jackets and scarves. It was so hard for me to pack because I realized that almost all of my clothes are suited for the beach (that's why I have to buy). I am a beach person, not a cold weather person!

Dec. 23. We left Manila a few minutes past 6am and the trip was fast. We arrived there at around 12 and we immediately settled at our little home for the Christmas at Camp John Hay Cabins, just a few minutes from Manor. 

Setting up the tents for the kids
There were 16 of us so someone really has to have roles for the trip. We even had a planning a few weeks before the trip haha! As for me, I am either one of the coordinators or the money keeper every family trip and this trip, I volunteered to hold the money. During the planning, we all agreed that we will be buying from the market and just cook at the cabins because it's such a hassle for us to eat out (with all the kids!). My afternoon was spent at the market with Kuya Mark, Sining, Ate Lyn and Ate Reshel. It was so exciting to see fresh veggies around. 

The whole market experience was supposed to be great but we encountered super bad traffic in the city :/ I got traumatized (CHOS!) and swear to never go out of John Hay haha!

On our first night, we had bonfires and drinks to enjoy the cold summer night in Baguio. The cabins was such a nice place to stay and I think we got one of the bigger cabins :) Yay for us! 

Dec 24. I love waking up to the very cold breeze in Baguio. It's so hard to wake up actually but with all the kids playing as early as 6AM, there is nothing left to do but get up and play with them. Di ka rin naman makatulog sa ingay nila! :/ Anyway, after eating breakfast at home, we had tsokolate, turon and bibingka in Chocolate de Batirol.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Surigao Adventure Part 2: Surigao City/Butuan

Part 2 of our Surigao adventure was supposed to be Siargao - Sohoton trip in Surigao del Norte but unfortunately for us, we were stuck in Surigao city because all ferries are cancelled because of Typhoon Ruby. So I'll just tell you how we killed time and made Surigao City fun (for us). 

If you read about my Surigao del Sur trip, we came from Hinatuan bus terminal. There's no direct bus going to Surigao city so we have to go back to Butuan. The ride was again 5 hours from Hinatuan then we rode a bus in Butuan's bus terminal headed for Surigao City. Travel time was around 3 hours. 

When we arrived Surigao at 7pm, we hired a habal habal driver to take us to a good hotel near the port. We were still very hopeful during that time that the weather will get better and we will be allowed to cross to Siargao. We stayed at E.Y Suites and it was so-so. It was okay for a night but if you're staying longer at Surigao city, I do not recommend this hotel. We slept early that night because we were too tired from the 8 hour travel we did. 

The next day, we woke up early (5:30am) to check on the port's situation. We arrived the port and we saw that trips are cancelled but we were still very hopeful so we stayed there for a few hours. We made friends with the stranded people there and most of them are stuck there for 2 days already. We left at around 9:00 because we got hungry and we decided to just give up and try again the next day. After breakfast, we looked for a better place to stay for the night and we found the best hotel ever in the whole wide world. Char! We stayed at The Grande Suites in Surigao City. Okay. Here's the best thing about this hotel, for the price of 1380, we had free dinner and breakfast (which were both yummy, mind you!), free ride anywhere in Surigao (as long as Kuya Kent, the driver, is there), free wifi and super nice rooms. They even upgraded us from Standard to Deluxe for no particular reason. Plus, the staff are super friendly and funny :) It was one of the best staycation I had just because of the staff there.

Anyway, after settling in, we decided to visit Mabua Pebble Beach. The winds are getting stronger but this did not stop us. What is amazing about Mabua is the pebbles in the beach. People doesn't even know where the pebbles came from. We just stayed there for a while to have pictures then left afterwards because there is nothing left to do. Also, the waves were getting stronger because of the storm so we had to leave for our safety. Kuya Kent told us that if there's no storm, we can see Samar and Leyte from where we are standing so that's how near we are from the storm which kinda scared me.

The rest of the day was spent at our hotel because it's raining and the winds are really getting stronger. We just watched the news the whole day and updated ourselves with the storm. We really felt unfortunate that we are stuck in Surigao but also fortunate that we found a good hotel with the most friendly staff. 

The next day, we tried going to the port again but still no trips for us. We gave up on our Siargao dream but we promised to be back. 
The faces of people that will be back!
We just decided to hear mass at their cathedral even if it's in Bisaya. 

The closest to Siargao that we can get

Monday, December 15, 2014

Surigao Adventure Part 1: Surigao Del Sur

I love piso fares just because I get to travel cheaper here in our country. I suggest everyone to grab the opportunity when piso fares are being held. So Last June, Cebu Pacific had a piso fare and I booked for Butuan with Ter. Honestly, I have a very limited knowledge on what to see in Surigao but I booked anyway. When I researched about it, I got real excited because there are numerous places to discover :) This will be the first time I will blog in details (itinerary, budget and all) just because I had a hard time researching about Surigao del Sur-Norte trips. I hope this can help someone in the future.

We only have 6 days to visit both Surigao del Norte and Sur. At first, I thought it will really be easy but we didn't know that Surigao del Norte and Sur are very far from each other. Plus you have to travel back to Butuan to travel to both provinces. We planned on going to Surigao del Sur first then to Siargao. What we did was go to Britania group of islets first then see the Enchanted River and Tinuy-an Falls. I will post detailed IT and budget at the end of this post.

So we arrived Butuan then headed for Butuan's bus terminal. Just ride a multicab in the airport that is headed for the bus terminal. Ter and I preferred riding the bus rather than the van because vans get really packed and hot.

We arrived the bus terminal and rode a bus going to Tandag. Just tell the conductor that you will go to Britania group of islands. If they don't know that, just tell them to drop you off at Brgy. Salvacion at San Agustin. Travel time is around 5 hours going to Britania so ready your butt for the long ride!

We reserved one night at La Entrada and it is one of the best resorts ever! We arrived there at around 7pm already. Good thing their restaurant is still open because we haven't had dinner yet. The food was great and the price is reasonable! Everyone was really friendly there. I SWEAR! The rooms were nice and we were assigned in the area where it was surrounded by mangroves. We didn't see it when we arrived because it was so dark already but the following day, the beauty of the mangrove trees greeted us a good morning :)

Mangrove trees around the restaurant and rooms

We asked if tours will push through but they were  unsure because typhoon Ruby is slowly entering PAR. It was very unfortunate that Typhoon Ruby joined us on our trip :/ While waiting for the confirmation of tours, Ter and I just took photos of the islands (because we thought that that's the closest we can get to Britania group of islands) 

Good thing the administrators of La Entrada allowed us to see 2 islands of the Britania group of islands. Normally, there are 4 islands available for tour but we are super okay with 2. 

Vitamin SEA