Archive for the ‘Visayas’ Category

The morning after our Apo Island trip

It was our last day at Dumaguete and we have yet to tour the city and its nearby municipalities. I contacted Robert (09196217006) prior the trip, to arrange for a tour. He was recommended by Hotel Palwa (he provides car/van rental and tour packages).

Last Day at Hotel Palwa

A breakfast at Hotel Palwa will cost P80.00 per pax (quite expensive)

Robert picked us up past 0700H. He was friendly and modest.  He’s a great guide to begin with and he gave us all sort of information about Dumaguete. We will ask for his services again upon our return.

We visited the following places –

Twin Falls at Valencia

Geothermal heat generated at the town of Valencia

The Rush Zip-line Tierra Alta Valencia(600m)

Sanz Rival at Dumaguete

Twin Lakes of Balinsasayao

After the tour, Robert dropped us off at the airport.

-The End-


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Breakfast was served around 0630H at the rooftop of Hotel Palwa. The light meal consist of your choice of eggs (scrambled, sunny sude up), toast and either iced tea or coffee.

After breakfast, we hailed a tricycle to take us to the bus terminal of Ceres. We dropped off at the Malatapay Port. The travel time will take approximately 30 minutes and the fare is no higher than P40.00 (I don’t remember anymore, sorry!)

We arrived at Malatapay Port around 0830H. The walk from the main road to the port will take only less than 10 minutes.

We were met by Robin (09202625385). He was our contact for our day trip at Apo Island. I arranged with him to guide us and for our lunch. He arranged  for us a boat that will take us to Siquijor Island which was earlier cancelled (see earlier post). Boats hang around the port area and can be rented as well (small banca – P2,000 and P3,000 for big banca). The boat ride took only 30 minutes.

Apo Island is a volcanic island covering 12 hectares in land area. It is located 7 kilometers off the southeast of Negros Oriental.  It is considered as one of the world’s best known community-organized marine sanctuaries and as such it has been well documented by the global science community. The project was started when Dr. Angel Alcala, a marine scientist from the Silliman University Marine Laboratory explained to the local fishermen the importance of creating a marine sanctuary in the area. Initially, there was hesitation on the part of the locals; but after a 3-year dialogue, Dr. Alcala was able to convince the island community to establish the sanctuary. Assisted by the staff of the SU Marine Laboratory in 1982, the local fishermen selected an area along 450 meters of shoreline and extending 500 meters from shore as the sanctuary site.Since then, the project initiated on the island led to the creation of hundreds of other marine sanctuaries in the Philippines.

(for complete information – click here)

We paid an entrance fee of P100 and an additional P50 to snorkel at the marine sanctuary. Robert also provided our snorkeling equipment, life vest and booties (with corresponding rental fees).

See videos below of Apo Island’s turtle sanctuary

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Our van dropped us off at Cebu South Terminal around 1300H. We ate lunch first in a nearby carinderia. Afterwards, we took the 1400H Ceres bus (direct route) to Dumaguete via Oslob (P300++).

The trip took at least 5 hours (including the ferry ride). Ceres is using Maayo Shipping Lines Bato-Tampo to cross the Tanon Strait. We paid another P70.00 per pax for the ferry.

We arrived around 1900H at Dumaguete City and proceeded to Hotel Palwa (I booked our first night the day we arrived at Cebu). Its a good thing that they still have vacancies since most accommodations are booked by professors, students and attendees. Siliman University had an ongoing event during that time.

We booked 2 family rooms + 1 extra bed for 1 room. Hotel Palwa is strategically located at the heart of Dumaguete City. All rooms are air-conditioned, cable TV, and hot/cold shower. The hotel also has Wi-Fi.

You can walk to the Cathedral Church and Rizal Park with less than 10 minutes. Other establishment near are Mcdonald’s, Shakeys, Jollibee, Greenwich, Mang Inasal, Chowking, Joe’s Chicken, Sansrival, RCBC, China Bank, Allied Bank et al. If you have a smaller group (and with a tight budget), there are other accommodations around the city. Click here for more information.

After arriving at Hotel Palwa, we left our things and look for a place to have dinner.  The front office recommended us to have it at Hayahay. We hailed 2 tricycles to take us there.

Fact: The fare for a trike ride costs P8 per person. It varies depending on the distance of your destination.

Hayahay is a very famous open air restaurant located at the Dumaguete Boulevard. The menu includes fresh seafood to different local dishes. It was reggae night.

Feedback – Long service for the food to arrive and it was quite expensive. However, the food was worth the wait.

After dinner, we head back to Hotel Palwa for a goodnight rest.

~ End of Day 1 ~

Next – Apo Island: a marine haven

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Thanks to Cebu Pacific’s seat sale last August 2010. We were able to book a flight for Dumaguete.  Our group was originally compose of 6. 4 persons joined later on. However,  1 person from the original group was not able to join (with the final count of 9 persons)  . Our trip will consist of the following: Day 1 at Apo Island; Day 2 at Siquijor Island; Day 3 at Dumaguete.

We were forced to land on Mactan International Airport on Cebu, due to heavy rains and zero visibility on the vicinity of Dumaguete Airport.  The weather didn’t improve and we were given 2 choices:  (1) return to Manila and wait for the 1400H flight (un-guaranteed seats); (2) or drop off and take a boat / bus ride to Dumaguete. We decided not to return to Manila and take our chances in Cebu. O_o

Diana discussed with the airport’s tourism information center on what are the available options for the group.  They proposed the following: (1) Stay for 1 night, then tour Cebu. Leave for Dumaguete the following morning; or (2) A day tour on Cebu and after take a bus bound for Dumaguete. The group agreed to take option 2. Due to this unwelcome turn of event, our Siquijor trip had to be removed from the original itinerary. The tourism information center provided us the day tour package for Cebu (P1,800/van for 3 hours)

We toured the following places at Cebu:

Lapu Lapu Monument (Mactan Shrine)


 The marker on which Lapu-Lapu slained Magellan on August 27, 1521 was said to be erected on 1866.

Taoist Temple

There are said to be 81 steps representing the 81 chapters of the Taoism scriptures. When you reach the top, you can light joss sticks and have your fortune read!

Heritage of Cebu Monument

Fort San Pedro

Magellan’s Cross

After the day tour, The van drop us off at the south station. We took our lunch first and rode the next bus going to Dumaguete.

~The End~

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Is it possible to have summer weather in July? The answer is yes!

Concepcion is located in the northern part of Iloilo between the municipalities of Sara and Ajuy.

To reach Bolobadiangan, Concepcion, either rent a van from the airport (P1800-P2500) or take the bus. Go to the Boracay/North Panay Bus Terminal in Tagbak, Jaro (known as Tagbak terminal). HPQ Trans is the only bus routing Concepcion (P120 one-way ride – currently for 2011). The trip will take 2-3 hrs.

Sandbar Island Beach Resort is 30 minutes away from the mainland. I contacted and arrange with kuya sanny (09068197516) for the whole trip (round trip boat service, accommodation, island hopping). You can borrow cookware and utensils from the resort. They also offer to cook for your group for a minimal fee.


Tip: Sandbar Island doesn’t offer the conveniences found in other modern resorts. Energy are gathered thru solar panels and stored in batteries. This is used for lighting in cottages. Buy all the necessary provisions before going to the resort.  Fresh fish can be bought from the mainland or from neighboring islands. Sometimes, fishermen will drop by early in the morning, offering you to buy their prized catch.


After lunch, we hop to kuya sanny’s boat and proceed with the island hopping O_o

Agho Island – entrance is P200 per group

Pan de azucar island

giant clam conservatory site at the sandbar island beach resort.

On day 2, we enjoyed and relaxed on the natural and unadulterated waters of concepcion

It was time for us to leave, and we hope that we come back some day…


Tip: Upon return to Tagbak terminal, you may proceed to SM Iloilo (take a “Leganes” jeep P10 fare). SM City Iloilo has its own Traveler’s Lounge with a wide variety of services: bus, ferry, airline and hotel booking services, baggage deposit (P30 per compartment). It has also a CR and showers for travelers as well.


@ Iloilo airport prior to departure for manila O_o

-The end-

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