Monday, April 30, 2007

Itinerary: Bicol


ITINERARY: Albay and Sorsogon (Bicol Region)
DATE OF TRAVEL: April 16-20, 2007

April 16, 2007

1. Manila - Legaspi
2. Cagsawa Ruins (which was recently ruined so this is Cagsawa Ruins part 2!) and Mayon Volcano
3. Hoyop-Hoyopan Cave
4. Satellite Market
5. Gaisano Mall

April 17, 2007

1. Legaspi - Donsol via public van
2. Check in at Vitton Resort
3. Whaleshark Watching in Donsol!!!
4. Sunset Rivercruise (river ride, trip to the mangroves and firefly watching!)

April 18, 2007

1. Dive: Ticao Island, Masbate (from Donsol)
2. Donsol to Bacon, Sorsogon
3. Check in at Fisherman's Hut

April 19, 2007

1. Bacon Church
2. Paguriran Island
3. Visit our friend JP's House
4. Sorsogon City Proper: checked out the market and Tia Berning's Handicrafts Store
5. Sorsogon City - Legaspi via public van
6. Lignon Hill
7. Check in at Tanchuling Hotel near Gaisano Mall

April 20, 2007

1. Legaspi - Manila

NOTE: We bought PINANGAT from the airport. It's a specialty in a town called Camalig which is near Legaspi. Gabi leaves with coconut milk. Yummy and Vegetarian friendly!!!:)

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Albay, Bicol



WHERE: Albay, Bicol
DATE OF TRAVEL: April 16 - 20, 2007
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Albay has lots of sites to see like the Cagsawa Ruins, Mayon Volcano, Hoyop-hoyopan Cave and more!

DESCRIPTION:
Cagsawa Ruins is an old church built in 1724 and was destroyed by the eruption of Mayon volcano in 1814. From the ruins you can see a good view of Mayon volcano, though most of the time, the volcano is covered by clouds. Usually, they say that the best times to view the volcano is early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

Hoyop-hoyopan Cave is a cave system that is very popular in the area. It was discovered during the time of the Japanese and was used as a hide out and disco during the time of Marcos' marital law. It has interesting stalactite and stalagmite formations. It is a good cave for regular tourists since it is easily accessible by a vehicle.


HOW TO GET THERE: We took a Cebu Pacific flight from Manila to Legaspi City. There are also buses to Legaspi City from Manila.

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Paguriran Island, Sorsogon



WHERE: Paguriran Island, Sorsogon

DATE OF TRAVEL: April 16-20, 2007
WHY YOU SHOULD GO:
FEES:
NOTE:

DESCRIPTION:
HOW TO GET THERE:
CONTACTS:
HELPFUL LINKS:
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:

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Sorsogon


WHERE: Sorsogon
DATE OF TRAVEL: April 16-20, 2007
WHY YOU SHOULD GO:
FEES:
NOTE:

DESCRIPTION:
HOW TO GET THERE:
CONTACTS:
HELPFUL LINKS:
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Caylabne Bay Resort, Cavite


WHERE: Caylabne Bay Resort, Ternate, Cavite
DATE OF TRAVEL: April 13-14, 2007

WHY YOU SHOULD GO:

1. It's a family-friendly resort! It has villas for every family and it offers a lot of activities (aquasports range from snorkeling to banana boat to kayaking and more)!
2. You will pass by the "magnetic hill" of Cavite on the way here!

FEES: P7,000/2 on regular rates but if you catch their promo, they offer rooms for two with breakfast for as low as P1,200!

NOTE: We stayed here for a night because we were invited to do a clean-up dive with the Philippine Navy for Earth Day 2007! The scuba diving trip was a special arrangement. Caylabne Bay Resort does not offer scuba diving as part of their facilities.

DESCRIPTION:
Caylabne Bay Resort is nestled in a cove of Caylabne Point. Surrounding it are the islands of El Fraile, Caballo, La Monja, Carabao and Corregidor! It has a total of 160 hectares and is about 90 kilometers south of Manila.

With Mediterranean style and a beach rolled into one, Caylabne is a charming resort. It offers a wide range of activities for each family member. Swimming, snorkeling, banana boat ride, kayaking and aquatrike are among the water sports one can enjoy. The beach is a great place to play volleyball and frisbee, too! There are beach chairs where one can chill while watching the sunset. The resort also has a mini-golf area, basketball, tennis and badminton courts, walking trails, restaurant and business center.

The sand is grayish but it's soft and smooth. There's also a small river beside the beach where one can hangout if the "small" beach proves to be crowded.

The rooms are comfortable and big. For just a few hours away from Manila, this could be a perfect getaway resort for the weekend.

HOW TO GET THERE:
BY PRIVATE VEHICLE FROM MANILA:
1. Drive along South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and exit at Carmona.
2. Continue west passing by General M. Alvarez (GMA).
3. Continue of Governors Drive passing by Trece Martirez City and continue to Naic, Cavite.
4. Follow the signs to Ternate town proper, passing by Muzon and a Caltex station on the junction that separates the road to Ternate and Maragondon. Take the right road (Ternate).
5. After the Ternate Municipal Hall, you will pass over a bridge and then Puerto Azul.
6. Continue southwest and follow the signs to Caylabne Bay Resort.

For other directions, click this.


CONTACTS:
Caylabne Bay Resort - +632 8138519-24

HELPFUL LINKS:
http://www.caylabne.com.ph/

TIPS:
1. Stop by the "Magnetic/ Gravity Hill" along Ternate Highway. Put your vehicle on neutral and see what happens.:P
2. The food was very limited for us vegetarians. It would be better if you call ahead of time and tell them about your food request/s in case you have special food needs.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Cliffhouse, Tagaytay


WHERE: Tagaytay City, Cavite

DATE OF TRAVEL: April 10, 2007

WHY YOU SHOULD GO:
Because you’re not forced to eat in just one restaurant to have a grand view of the Taal Lake and Volcano. Cliff House has many restaurants to choose from and offers an undisrupted view of Taal Lake and Volcano right in the middle of the complex.

NOTE:
Make sure you have your parking ticket validated by your restaurant of choice because if not, you will be charged P100 just for parking fee! This is good in a way because there’s not a lot of people crowding in the middle for endless photo-ops with the Taal Lake and Volcano.




DESCRIPTION:
Cliffhouse is a complex right in the middle of the main road of Tagaytay City. Its architecture is somewhat American in style and it offers a great view of Taal Lake and Volcano. If you want to chill out and enjoy the Tagaytay weather while you eat and drink, then Cliffhouse is the right place for you. There are many restaurants inside this complex though none of them are cheap. However, there are pastry shops and ice cream parlors. Some of the restaurants we know of are Buon Giorno, Cafe Breton, Fire Lake Grill and Domicillo
.

HOW TO GOT THERE:
It's just along the main road of Tagaytay. So from Manila, we just passed through SLEX (South Luzon Expressway) and exited at Sta. Rosa then went straight until the fake public market. After that, we turned right on the main road of Tagaytay and saw Cliffhouse on the left side.

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Caleruega Church, Batangas


WHERE: Nasugbu, Batangas

DATE OF TRAVEL: April 09, 2007

WHY YOU SHOULD GO:
1. Because even though you are not a “believer”, the whole place offers a spectacular view of Batangas and gives you a feeling of serenity and peace.

2. Because the Transfiguration Chapel's symbolisms are cool. For one, the fa├žade of the Trasnfiguration Chapel is a replica of the original chapel in Caleruega, Spain. The hut-shaped roof is designed in remembrance of the temporary sheds that the apostles wanted to build for Jesus, Moses and Elijah during the transfiguration. The seven grapevines entwined in the doors symbolize the seven sacraments and portray Jesus as the vine. The main altar is a carved tree trunk representing the “stem of Jesse”, wherein a fruit will spring from its stem and bear fruit. And many more.

FEES: Entrance is free. Parking is P30.



DESCRIPTION:
Caleruega is a house of prayer and renewal. It usually houses retreats, recollections, prayer workshops, youth camps, family encounter celebrations, leadership seminars, liturgy workshops, art, music and environment and agriculture-related activities. One can also go there for a day trip. Anybody is welcome to roam around Caleruega for some peace and quiet.




HOW TO GET THERE:
Brgy. Kaylaway, Batulao,
Nasugbu, Batangas

From Manila: (via South Superhighway)
1. Take Sta. Rosa exit
2. Proceed towards Tagaytay Market
3. Turn right at Rotonda
4. Turn left at the Evercrest Hotel
5. Follow the small signs that lead you to Caleruega

Public Transportation from Manila:

1. Go to BLTB or CROW Bus Terminal along EDSA.
2. When in Pasay already, board buses that go to any of these destinations: Nasugbu, Balayan or Calatagan.
3. Get off at Evercrest, Batulao, Nasugbu, Batangas
4. Ride a trike or begin your 2 kilometer hike towards Caleruega.





HELPFUL LINKS: http://www.dominicans.ph/caleruega/index/index.htm

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Ilog Maria Honeybee Farm, Cavite


WHERE:
Silang, Cavite

DATE OF TRAVEL: April 10, 2007

WHY YOU SHOULD GO:
1. Because their products are all natural. Their products are always packed fresh from their beehives to retain full nutritive and medicinal value.

2. Because as personally tested, their products really are among (if not) the best! And the prices are very reasonable (actually very cheap!).

3. Because you can learn more about bees and beehives by going to Museo Sa Ilog!

NOTE:
You may try our favorite products:
Propolis Bath Salt (works on small bites and skin allergy); Eucalyptus Bath Gel (works really well when you have a cold! it helps a lot!); Facial Moisturizer (really makes your skin soft-er!). :)





DESCRIPTION:
Ilog Maria is a honeybee farm in Silang, Cavite (along Aguinaldo Highway) that harvests honey, beeswax, pollen, propolis, royal jelly and bee venom to make all natural products that are not only cheap but also very effective. Their products range from sea salt scrubs to ointments to moisturizers to oil to soaps to candles to bath gels to everything else that can be made from their bees. While they don't have any other outlet (to keep their costs low and sell their items low as well), you can order their products online. They also have a museum and you may ask for a tour guide if there are 50 people or more. For more information on what they use on their products and why they are good for you, click on this.

HOW TO GET THERE:
From Tagaytay Rotonda (Taal Lake on the right), we turned left on Aguinaldo Highway (instead of going straight). We saw a small sign that leads to Ilog Maria on the right side and just followed it.

BUSINESS HOURS:
10am-5pm, Tuesdays-Sundays. They're closed on Mondays and most holidays.

CONTACT: (+6346)8650018, info@ilogmaria.com

HELPFUL LINKS: http://www.ilogmaria.com -- all the information you need is here! You can order their products online, too!:)

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Nurture Spa, Tagaytay


WHERE: Tagaytay City, Cavite

DATE OF TRAVEL: April 09-10, 2007

WHY YOU SHOULD GO:
Because even though you're still in the city (Tagaytay), you will really feel the slow-paced life inside the spa. It's lush vegetation and meditation corner make it a perfect place for relaxation and thinking
. This proudly Filipino Spa is perfect for anybody whether s/he visits it with friends, with family, with his/ her partner or alone.



DESCRIPTION: (from Nurture Spa's Website)
Nurture Spa is a Department of Tourism accredited destination spa located in Tagaytay City offering international standard spa treatments, Filipino, Asian and continental cuisine and comfortable overnight accommodations. Nurture Spa is proudly Filipino, offering a distinctly Filipino spa menu and unique Filipino accommodations in authentic native Ifugao huts.

The 2,800 square meter garden has 6 gazebos where guests can enjoy spa treatments; 9 indoor massage rooms, 4 "ulogs" or native huts, 7 air conditioned rooms, 1 restaurant, 1 coffee shop, 1 seminar room (good for 24 people), outdoor yoga/meditation area surrounded by lush tropical vegetation. We can accommodate a total of 15 outdoor treatments, 13 indoor treatments, and 22 overnight accommodations.


Nurture Spa formally opened in December 2002 and has been nominated for the 2005 Asia Spa Crystal Awards.

Nurture's natural ambiance, healthy yet delicious food, quality aromatherapy essential oils, international standard spa treatments and body-mind-spirit activities combined make it easy and fun for anyone to start embracing a "wellness lifestyle".


At Nurture you will enjoy a beneficial and therapeutic break from the stress of city life. Nurture Spa's Microvacation Packages are designed to meet your different needs. Whether your objective is to rekindle relationships or manage stress - the Nurture team is ready to give you a relaxing and rejuvenating experience that brings you back to your true nature. The Nurture Experience is not limited to Tagaytay, as we can bring the Nurture Experience right where you want it, be it at your home or at your office - through the Nurture SPArty.

Over the years, Nurture also gained the reputation as a choice for garden weddings, wedding anniversary celebrations, engagement and corporate functions.

Nurture Spa is owned and operated by CP Treasures of the Orient Inc., a Philippine corporation duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of the Philippines.


HOW TO GET THERE:
We drove from Manila to Tagaytay. From Tagaytay Rotonda (Taal Lake on the left), we went straight until we reached Magallanes Square. Then we turned right on Magallanes Drive (just right after the square). We just followed the signs going to Nurture Spa. It's quite hidden so make sure to look for Magallanes Square as your landmark. :)

CONTACT NUMBERS: (
+6346) 4830804-05/ (+63918)8888SPA

HELPFUL LINK: www.nurture.com.ph


PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:
For Charlie's post-birthday celebration, we decided to go to Nurture Spa. We love getting massages so much that it's really part of our "date" to get massages (especially FOOT!) every so often. No doubt a trip to a Spa in Tagaytay was something exciting for us. It wasn't really hard to look for the spa though you won't find it without knowing about it or without their map/ guide on how to get there. Anyway, when we found our way to Nurtue Spa, we were warmly greeted by the staff and were asked to register before showing us our room (they have nice rooms -- and bathrooms!). After maybe an hour or two of resting, we went to the massage room for our scheduled
Kambal Kamay massage, an hour massage that involves two therapists! Sounds, exciting right? Well it was good...but we probably expected more. It turned out that the therapists, although there were two of them, were doing the exact same thing at the exact same time. It was just like one therapist using her two hands. We would have liked it more if one was doing our foot, while the other was massaging our head.:P Maybe the P1,900 per person massage fee for an hour was too much for that. Anyway, we decided to explore the Spa afterward. We walked around their garden, the huts, the restaurant, etc. We think it's pretty cool how they have a space for yoga and meditation given that their space is not that huge. We expected it to be larger. However, one of the things we were sort of disappointed at was that there was no Tagaytay View (the lake, the tagaytay scenery, etc). If we didn't know it was located in Tagaytay, we wouldn't have guessed its location at all. It would have been nice if we had a view of the lake while getting our massages. In all fairness though, Nurture Spa will give you a sense of peace and serenity. Its lush vegetation brings you back to nature. Truly, it's a place where you can relax, unwind, think and nurture yourself. After some walking and some more picture taking, we headed to our room to change for our "date" outside the Spa. We decided to eat out (in Mushroom Burger actually because I haven't tried it yet at that time...It's true!!!), eat dessert at Sanctuario and drink coffee at Bag of Beans. So we told the guard that we would be back because we were staying there for the night. He nodded and told us not to worry because somebody will open the gate for us. We followed him and took our time eating and exploring the usual Tagaytay. It didn't take long before we got sleepy. It was a long day for us (we ate in Breakfast at Antonio's, explored Calaruega then ate lunch at Sonya's Garden before checking in Nurture Spa..oh and we drove from Manila) so we decided to head back early. We were back before 12 midnight. The guard, not so true to his word, almost scared us because it took about 30 minutes or more before somebody heard us. We thought we would be locked outside the Spa the whole night. Whew. So much for not worrying. We quickly fell asleep when we got to the room. It's a good thing we scheduled our Pawi Hand and Foot massage at 10 am already, so we didn't have to wake up so early. We checked out after our massage and left the Spa at around lunch time. Overall, it was a good experience but looking at their current rates, we think it's quite expensive especially for Filipinos (of course if you convert from dollars and compare it to the rates abroad, that's a whole different story). The massages are good, but nothing great nor different. Still, if you want to get away from the city and from all the stress, it would be helpful to come here...whether to think, to sleep, to rest or just to hide from it all. :)

--Paula

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