This is my 4th travel of the year and my 1st backpacking travel. Most Malaysians I know have never backpacked before, probably because travel is meant to be luxurious. In fact, I hardly know of any Asians doing backpacking; either that or I have a really small social circle.
When I told my friends and family about my plan to backpack in Philippines for 21 days, they thought I was crazy!
“It’s so dangerous for you to do this – you are a girl!!!”
“What if you get kidnapped?!”
“Why do you need to do this for so long – isn’t 5 days or 10 days enough for you?”
“What happens if we can’t contact you?!”
Like I said, backpacking is something unheard of in my country. What more, I’m a girl.
That being said, I was so glad that I did it! No regrets, in fact I can’t wait to do it again 😀 😀 😀
So, here’s a journal of my travel in the Philippines! Enjoy 🙂
My travel dates were from 4th Sept – 25th Sept (will share my itinerary with you guys at the end of this 21 days travel series) and my first island was Camotes Island – 1 hour van ride from Cebu City and 2 hours boat ride from the Danao Port.
Van ride – PHP50
Boat ride – PHP85 including terminal fee of PHP5
FYI, PHP100 = RM7.50
This was my first ferry/boat ride after 10++ years, so I was SUPER excited about it!
Like a 10 year old kid! Lol. The locals were staring at me and could very clearly tell that I was a tourist! Haha..
Once there, a welcome sign for Tatika (my travel buddy) was held by the tricycle guy, whom we refer to him as “Kuya Agie” from then on. He was such a nice guy because he recommended us to a few resorts before we settled for Aizawa Beach Resort. Our initial accommodation was like crap and we were so thankful we managed to get this one! The people here are just so NICE!
We were first quoted PHP1.2k p/night before we bargained for PHP1k p/night. See, the Chinese in me does come to use sometimes 🙂
This is what we see right in front of our beach resort. Pretty bliss I must say!
..while this is how our resort looks like from the beach 😀
Unpacked, walked along the beach and settled down for dinner. It was 7pm when suddenly the entire town was pitch black.
It was only about 6-ish in the evening but it was already dark. While we were eating, we experienced a black out and was later told that there is a scheduled black out at 7pm in the entire island for 45 minutes EVERY SINGLE DAY. Man, how do people deal with this?!
What if I’m watching a soccer match and then it blacks out during the goal? -_- Lol.
Jokes aside, we experienced a few more blackouts during the nights and sometimes even in the afternoon. We just learnt to deal with it. I’ve also learnt to live with the basics – no internet (extremely slow), no hot shower, no hair dryer, no air-con – you get the drift and to really just live for the moment. Enjoy the breeze, talk to the locals, sweating in our sleep… haha.. everything is an experience that you cant get back home and I appreciate that!
It was also in Camotes Island where I learnt how to adjust my body clock. The freaking sun rises at 5.30am which means that it was crazily bright by 6am! I had a tough time at first but since every thing starts early, I was left with no choice. Tatika and I got ourself an island tour at 9am with Kuya Louie, the cousin of Kuya Agie.
It was PHP500 for the 2 of us in a motorbike from 9am to 4pm. It is also by far the cheapest island tour we have been to in our 21 days travel and also the most interesting island tour than the others we been to.
Destination 1 – Mangodlong beach
Entrance fee : PHP20 per pax
This place literally blew me away! One of the best beaches I’ve ever seen in my life!
LOOK AT THIS! Just.look.
It was insane!
The skies were perfect.
The sand was white.
The water was in different shades of blue and green *hyperventilates*
I was just in awe!!!
It was just…..PERFECT!
These pictures looked like they were taken in Bora Bora or Maldives but was only taken with my humble Samsung Note 3 with no edits! Absolutely stunning, right?!
LOVE LOVE LOVE!! ❤
It was a shame that it was our first destination, hence we didn’t want to spend too long in this place. We came back the next day only to find out we came at the wrong time! The tide was so low, we couldn’t even take a dip! Meh.
This place is THE place to be for a honeymoon holiday. So serene and scenic 😀
It costs about PHP1,500 to PHP2k ish for a night. Pretty reasonable for a honeymoon holiday, eh? 🙂 The only consideration factor is the travel time. If you are okay with 4 hours of air travel, 1 hour of van ride, 2 hours of boat and then another 30 minutes of tricycle, then you really SHOULD consider this place for your next vacation!
Destination 2 – Paraiso Cave
The entrance fee was about PHP20 and we were then led to an opening of a cave. From the outside, it looks nothing like a cave. From the picture above, it looks like just a garden. Anyway, I thought we were doing some trekking but we were led to a very clear pool of water, very swimming pool like! The water comes from the drips of the stalagmites and stalactites and it’s not dirty or murky at all!
Best part of it all?
We were the ONLY ones there. SWEEEET!
Soaked our feet while we listened to Tatika’s playlists.
What was I thinking when I was slogging away in front of my office desk until 10pm and during the weekends? Haha.
Destination 3 – Danao Lake
This was my least favourite among all the places we been to because we didn’t do much but to sit down and look at the view. Well, can you blame me after the 2 amazing attractions? Haha. There was the option of canoeing but it was a bit too expensive for us (backpacking budget!!) about PHP200 to 300 and so we decided to just walk on the trail. Mehh, nothing much.
Or probably because this was the time I found out that my polaroid camera was soaked in water and it wasn’t functioning anymore, hence the lack of mood to enjoy the surroundings. Lol.
Destination 4 – Timubo Cave.
Slightly similar to Paraiso, this was also a cave where you can swim in but with a wider area. It costs about PHP45 for the entrance fees (cave and the entrance to the areas). The swimming area was slightly deeper inside the cave, which means that we need to walk a bit before reaching. It does give you the feeling of caving! Hehe..
We were told not to swim far away because there might be snakes. It was also more crowded than Paraiso because there were other tour groups.
Destination 5 – Buho Rock
The main attraction of this place is its cliff jumping activity. About 3 storeys high, an approximately 40 ft high, people free jump into the water. While I was freaking out, Tatika was brave enough to jump twice! I didn’t even dare to stand at the edge to take pictures. That was how scared I was!
There were two cliffs. One was at the far right and the other was below the stairs. Two different heights. Told you I was freaking out because these were the only pictures I took! Haha…
Took this while we were on the way back. I know this may look like an incredibly stupid thing to do, but this was the closest contact I have with a cow. Lol.. The locals were laughing at me when they saw me snapping profusely. Even Kuya Louie was laughing at me! The embarrassing things I do! 😀
Decided to rest and relax the next day.
Woke up to this beautiful view and did some reading before we make a spontaneous decision to visit Mangodlong beach again to our disappointment.
Oh, something worth mentioning about was how this humble resort managed by a group of reggaes caught our attention. During the night, you can hear these group of guys either playing the drums or guitar. Occasionally, they have an acoustic session with random tourists (like us!). They just call anyone who were along that beach area to join them for a sing along. Pretty cool, I must say!
These people are just so superrrrrrr friendly! Hospitality of these Filipinos are top notch!!
So, we had to leave very early the next morning. Checked out and paid for our accommodation the night before because we were leaving at 4am to catch the 6am boat to Ormoc. To our dismay, we found out that there was no boat for the day because the boat owner’s son was getting married. Our very awesome Kuya Agie & Louie suggested that we try to take a boat from the other town – Tudela – which took us another hour by bike. They actually accompanied us all the way until 6am before suggesting us the alternative. Gotta give credit to these 2 gentlemen because they even followed up with us if we have arrived to Ormoc city safely!! These people are soooo nice, omg!
What an awesome 4 days 3 nights of adventure in Camotes Island! 😀
More on Kalanggaman island in the next post! Stay tuned.