Tag: philippines

Cagayan De Oro: White Water Rafting

Cagayan De Oro: White Water Rafting

Release those endorphins by trying out whitewater rafting in Cagayan de Oro. Travel, Budget and Experience Guide.

Siargao Island: Never Wanting to Return to the City

Siargao Island: Never Wanting to Return to the City

I want more of Siargao, I want to settle there and get a dog.

Palawan Series: Puerto Prinsesa, El Nido or Coron?

Palawan Series: Puerto Prinsesa, El Nido or Coron?

If the Philippines will join a beach or island universe competition our main representative should be Palawan. Recently The Best Island In The World in the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards.  Most islands are undeveloped and untouched. Although recently, locals have been telling us that majority of the islands are being bought by private large corporations. Hopefully, capitalism won’t spoil Palawan and its natural resources.

Map from Go Destinations


Astonishing seascapes, rock formations, lagoons, powder white beaches, jungles, diverse marine, and wildlife may it be under the sea or in its forest. It is a dream destination to all of us. There’s so much to do and I know that this article won’t be able to do justice, but I will share what I know and my experience of Palawan. Every year I make sure to return because I want to be reminded of that such place do exist. Living in the city can be numbing and will leave you lifeless if you stay too long.


First to See: Puerto Princesa, Palawan: A City Inside a Forest

Puerto Princesa is a coastal city and the capital of Palawan. The main town already has a lot of developments and buildings that leads to congested traffic in most parts of the city. Now, going a bit farther away outside the main town never fails to amaze me. To explore Puerto Princesa you may need to take 4-5 days to really enjoy the place. The Department of Tourism (DOT) has various international promotional campaigns hyping it as the eco-capital of the country. It has a thriving restaurant scene and in its outskirts, there are various outdoor activities that you’d definitely enjoy.

How to go to Puerto Princesa?

On an average, there are 13 flights that go in and out of Puerto Princesa by local commercial flights coming from Cebu, Manila, Caticlan, and Davao. Make sure to keep an eye for promo fares as there are plenty to choose from.

Popular and one of the cheapest way to go around the city is thru their unique tricycles or you may take jeepneys.

Where to stay in Puerto Princesa?

Every time I’m in Puerto Princesa I always stay in a quaint bed & breakfast called The Green Space. It’s just 5 minutes away from the airport and walking distance to good restaurants around the city. It’s very clean, nice and spacious.  They only have 10 rooms and their beds are perfect! They make sure that each linen that they use has 400 and above thread counts. Each room comes with a set breakfast which is fairly reasonable. A room will cost you around 1,900php-2,200php (40USD) that can accommodate up to 3-4 people. I highly recommend this place.

Should you want to check out other options CLICK HERE to check out the TOP 10 Puerto Princesa accommodations that fit any budget.


What to do in Puerto Princesa?

Popular for its subterranean river tour in Sabang or underground river tour known by most, it is considered as one of the 7 Wonders of Nature. The underground river is flooded with many tourists but you cannot blame the hype because its limestone formations is an incredible sight. However, the actual boat ride thru the caves is quite short. The boatmen serve your guide as well. They’d tell you random corny yet quirky jokes during the ride but nevertheless, it was fun.

The tourist boat that’ll take you thru the underground river


You’ll go thru a forest reserve prior to embarking on your tour boats and there are a lot of monkeys around the island and thru the forest. Be vigilant as they tend to steal bags that contain food. This little fellow stole our bag and we actually have all our money and phones inside. Good thing he dropped the backpack.


Cost is 1,000php-1,500php (20-25 USD) depends on the agency or how you can frugally organize this tour.

Logistics and prerequisites: Go to Sabang Port which is 2 hours drive from the city. Make sure to rise up early and book a van or jeep to go to Sabang Port. From the kick-off port, you will ride a boat going to the underground river Park. The average travel time is 45 minutes or so.

Book at least 2-3 weeks advance prior to your flight to Puerto Princesa as I have mentioned that there is a high influx of tourist for this tour. You may opt to coordinate with local tour organizers.

The Sabang Beach is beautiful in the morning as the forest background creates this mist of fog during sunrise.

Sabang Beach/Port during sunrise
Sabang Beach
Sabang Beach

Island Hopping in Puerto Princesa

The best bet is going to Honda Bay. Made up of numerous smalls islands each is unique and rare.


Starfish Island, Luli Island, Cowrey Island to name a few. You may do snorkeling, go free diving or play beach volley or take as much selfie as you want.

Starfish Island.

The whole day trip can last the whole day so make sure to plan early and return back to the city before dusk.

Logistics: Boat rentals are normally 1,500php (30 USD) then split it among your group. Don’t forget to tip the boatmen as well.


Explore the City and Eat

Entrance to the Badjao Restaurant

6 years ago as a first-time visitor, I asked my tricycle driver if he could bring refer a 1st-time tourist to any of the restaurants in the city that could best represent Puerto Princesa. Confidently he smiled at me and said: “Okay ma’am ako bahala alam ko na po!” (Okay sure, I know where to take you!). He drove me to this Restaurant called Badjao, at first I was reluctant coz’ he was driving thru a secluded place to my surprise there’s actually this serene restaurant. A floating restaurant actually built in a mangrove area offering picturesque views of Puerto Princesa’s seascape. Perfect for lunch to mid-afternoon venues. Serves fresh seafood and other local Filipino dishes.

There are a lot of restaurants and eateries to choose from so make sure to talk and ask the locals which ones are their recommendations. Below are some of my other recommendations;

Puerto Princesa has a lot of activities to offer although it could get crowded with tourist, but it does not yet tarnish the experience and enjoyment of the place. You’ll get the convenience of the city and nature that co-exist well together as one.

Second to See: El Nido, Ageless Towering Limestones to Sugary Beaches


8 years ago it was a sleepy fisherman’s village. Electrical power comes only after 5 pm until it will get interrupted again at 9 am the next day because it was just run by a generator. As tourism boosted and the majority of the visitors are coming from European countries you could see that foreigners outnumber the local tourist. Main streets are cramped with tour agencies, souvenir shops, restaurants, bars and mini convenience stores.  In any case, it added convenience and livelihood to the community and its visitors. These small proprietorships didn’t tarnish the beauty of the town but even complemented the place. Electricity now runs 2/47 with fewer interruptions.

Town of El Nido

I normally stay for four to 5 days whenever I’m in El Nido. The town centre is so easy to get around with because it’s quite small and everything that you will need is within a block’s worth of walk. Locals are very friendly as they greet and smile at you as you pass by them.  Most restaurants are owned by the French and Swedish folks who loved the town so much that they decided to make it a home.

View from the main town

El Nido is a gateway to bacquit archipelagos. Limestone verticals, cliffs, bays, secret beaches that you have to go thru underneath a limestone to get to the other side


How to go to El Nido

Once you leave the Airport in Puerto Princesa, you will see the shuttle vans waiting outside. They will take you to El Nido for P500 (10USD) within 3-5 hours. Don’t expect too much leg room though but these vans can take you to El Nido pretty fast. If you’d like more room and is not pressed for time you may opt to take the bus which will cost you roughly 350php (7 USD). Chartered flights are available for the few discriminating travelers.

Where to stay in El Nido?

A lot of accommodation of options for those who are frugal travelers like me. There are air-conditioned rooms with decent toilet & bath for as low as 500php-650php (12USD).

I normally stay at  Ricgem Place (click here for rates/availability) it’s reasonable and the accommodation is better than the most budget alternatives. Moreover, the owners are pretty flexible when it comes to checking in earlier and checking out a later time. I recommend this place for travelers on a budget yet would still want privacy and AC in their rooms.  It’s simple, basic and clean. Consider renting rooms in town will let you be close to restaurants and beachside bars, but also closer to the everyday sights and sounds.

Here are the TOP 10 consumer rated El Nido accommodations/lodgings that can fit any budget (click this link)

If you want some cash to splash consider getting an accommodation in the archipelago itself. There are pretty plenty to choose from. To name a few that’s pretty popular are:

It’s very easy to book accommodations and plenty to choose from it will be just a matter budget allocation and availability of the place. Research, compare and read POV of travelers who stayed at your chosen place.

What to Do in El Nido?

Normally they subdivided normal tours from Tours A, B, C, and D. You may book ahead thru agencies or book directly when you arrive in El Nido as there are quite a number of local tour agencies that you could talk to and will arrange everything. Tours can range from a low as 900php (20USD) to 1,200php (25USD). All packages come with a guided tour, safety equipment, buffet lunch and boat transfers. All boats are manned by a ship captain, lifeguard, and 1-2 ship caddies.  Island hoping starts at 9 AM and ends at 5 PM.

Tour A

Tour A is one of the best and most popular because of the variety of areas that you could go to in one day. During the day, you will discover beautiful lagoons, beaches and snorkeling spots. I suggest you start your Day 1 with Tour A as this is more physically demanding.

  • Small Lagoon
  • Big Lagoon
  • Secret Lagoon
  • Shimizu Island
  • 7 Commando
Seven Commando Beach


Tour B

  • Snake Island (intertwining sandbar)
  • Pinagbuyutan Island
  • Entalula
  • Cudugnon
  • Other snorkeling sites

**Quick Tip: Make sure to bring lots of cash as ATMs are limited

Lunch buffets are served and cooked by the boat crew. Freshest catch grilled right in the boat, proteins either grilled or stewed and fresh tropical fruits to end every meal.

Tour C

  • Helicopter Island
  • Matinloc Shrine
  • Secret Beach
  • Star Beach
  • Hidden Beach
Front dock of Matinloc Shrine

Tour D

  • Cadlao Lagoon
  • Ipil Beach
  • Paradise Beach
  • Pasandigan Beach
  • Natnat Beach
  • Bukal Beach

Ice cream vendors riding small boats will randomly appear right in the middle of the ocean.

The restaurant scene in El Nido is pretty strong. I recommend trying the following places:

  • Trattoria Altrove (one of the best brick oven pizza!)
  • Art Cafe
  • Squiddos
  • Bella Vita El Nido

If you enjoy going out a night there are lots of sunset sessions that happens beachfront playing loud music from dub, house to reggae from bars offering happy hours.

El Nido by its true nature is an eclectic town from its people, commerce, and archipelagos. Make sure to do your research ask other tourist and guides. Wrapping it as schizophrenic travel spot and to those who are fickle and who’d like to have options. This place is for the adventurous. Stunningly presented in its entirety as you leave this place it will keep calling you back because you will never run out of things to do.

Third and Last Place to See: Coron,  Ultra Blue Waters

Coron is the last place to see in Palawan as each destination will definitely overpower the other if not followed by ranking. The beauty of Coron in its truest nature will overpower Puerto Princesa and El Nido. They are both beautiful, but not in equilibrium as this place is.

This place is a tropical heaven on earth. It’s not difficult to understand why the Forbes Traveler Magazine listed Coron as the top beach destination in the world. Located in the Calamian Islands in the northern part of Palawan. Remarkable marine live, sunken WWII Japanese shipwrecks, stunning lagoons, limestones, nature reserves, marine gardens, turtles, white perfectly white powder sand beaches.

How to go to Coron?

Coron has a functioning airport for commercial flights so it’s relatively easier to travel here than in El Nido. From the airport you book a van taking you to the town or to your nearest booked accommodation. Check our local commercial flights that’ll take you to Busuanga Airport.

Where to stay in Coron?

When I went there with my friends we decided to rent a local’s house thru Airnb as we’d rather cook our own meals by ourselves so to save some money and also seize the opportunity of getting fresh seafood and produce from Coron. We were able to get a whole bungalow house with good AC,  a functioning kitchen, and a wonderful front porch for just 4,000php (80USD) splitting the cost to amongst us in the group. It’s a good way to live like the locals and a great way to save a few bucks especially if you’re traveling in a group. Get 1,000php/20 USD worth of credits free when you sign up in Airbnb CLICK HERE.

Just like in El Nido you have options to stay inland or to one of the island resorts let know that staying in a private resort will cost you roughly  20,000php-50,000php (500-1000USD).

Here are the TOP 10 CORON updated list of accommodations/hotels that can fit any budget.

What to Do in Coron?

To go around and to go island hopping, of course, you’ll need to hire a boat within the Coron Bay that’s on the near opposite side of  the public market. A boat will cost you 1,500php-2,000php (30-40 USD). Boat fee will exclude island entrance fee. Prepare 50php-100php (1-2USD) bills as each islands does have an entrance fee.

You may do these tours:

  1. The Coron Island Tour (beach, snorkeling)
  2. The Malcapuya Loop (beach, snorkeling)
  3. The Culion Tour (historical tour)

The tour of Coron is very relaxed and more calming as compared to El Nido’s erratic activity options. Coron is the best place to go scuba diving and snorkel as there are plenty of fish, corals and live shells. There are also a lot of sunken Japanese was ships due to the bombing of the US in WWII.

Lakes and its lagoons

Stunning formations erupting from the sea waters of Coron. Hidden among these cliffs are 13 mysterious lakes, the two (2) most famous ones are the Kayangan Lake and Barracuda Lake. The rest of the other lakes are protected sites not available for tourist activities.

View on the way to Kayangan Lake

A short but exhausting trek across a steep rainforest will take you to Kayangan Lake, covered limestone hills, the crystal clear lake is so enchanting that you could spend hours swimming in its preserve.  Perfect temperature for swimming.

Kayangan Lake boardwalk

The water is interesting as it’s mix of salt and spring water but make sure to wear a life vest for safety reasons as it could get really deep.

Barracuda Lake. You either have to climb the ladder to go to the other side then do a jump or swim right under the boulders.

White Sand Beaches. 

Imagine ideal postcard beaches with electric blue water as it meets the perfect powder white sand. Everything marries well together in symphony.

Beautiful white-sand beach and ultra-turquoise waters, which serve as a sanctuary to Dugongs and sea turtles.

Time is not in a hurry in a place like Coron. Ask your boatman to park the boat and take an afternoon nap amongst the Talisay trees while splashes of sea water sing you to your slumber.  When you wake up from your nap you’d see the perfect blue sky with stunning seascape, wanting never to return. A vacation so ideal that you will dream about it for months to come.

Clownfish are everywhere

**Quick Tip: Make sure to bring lots of cash as ATMs are limited

Limestone Formations

There are other activities available to do in Coron like trekking, hot springs, exploring coral gardens, scuba diving and visiting Calauit Safari. These are optional activities. You have to explore the islands and lakes before anything else and then if you have more time do the other activities.

Coron sunset

For perceptive travelers who are willing to go great distances for the rewards of clear waters and pristine white beaches. Palawan is unpredictable regardless of how many times you’ll visit the place.

In conclusion, I am not recommending you to choose one from the other but rather see all three places in succession.

Go forth and wander. Experience and tell its story when you return home.


Make sure to visit this other travel journal on Palawan.

Travel tip:

You may book via Travelbook.ph as shown on the upper right part of this article. Travelbook.ph shoulders the 12% VAT on your hotel bookings! Guaranteed cheap prices and you earn points that you may later be used for your future travels. Don’t have a credit card? you can also pay at the hotel of your choice when you arrive.


Do you want to collaborate? or recommend other places? Comment on the line below or send us an e-mail over at fatgirlsdayoutph@gmail.com

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Vigan City: A living museum

Vigan City: A living museum

Antiquated houses, cobbled narrow streets, calesas and friendly faces peering out of large windows, a place where time stalls

Bohol Island: I Have Fallen In Love Twice

Bohol Island: I Have Fallen In Love Twice

More than just Tarsiers and Chocolate Hills



When you’re in Caramoan, you’ll feel so close to the ruggedness and yet calming sway of nature. Like secluded and beautiful places in the Philippines, the travel going to these Peninsulas is a challenge, but then when I witnessed the unspoiled beauty of this island all my struggles paid off.

Caramoan Island (also known as Caramoan Peninsula) a 4,000-hectare limestone forest is located in the lower eastern part of Camarines Sur in the Bicol region of the Philippines. It is gifted with rich and diverse marine life, caves, white sand beaches and serene lakes.

The seclusion and unexploited tourism are what makes it quite extraordinary. What you would expect to do in El Nido, Palawan you may also do so as the limestone formations, trek trails, seascape is comparable.

The entire cape of Caramoan is virtually an escape a tropical Eden. Filled with marine life, exotic islets, dive spots for unique corals, pristine beaches, underground cave, lagoons, freshwater pools and towering rock formations. Because of these features and not to mention the seclusion producers of the international franchise Survivor choose Caramoan as the main setting to shot their shows.

Undeniably the show helped put Caramoan on everyone’s radar that led to creating a Yin Yan Effect. They created a tourist economy, but at the same time, most of the best islands are closed to the public whenever they are filming.

I’ve been to other gorgeous islands and places around the Philippines, but Caramoan Peninsula will always be part of my top 3.


Transportation and Logistics

Manila to Caramoan/ Manila to Sabang Port Route

By Air:
It is a 45-minute flight from Manila Domestic Airport to Naga City’s Pili Airport.


By Land:
It is an 8-10 hour drive from Manila to Sabang Port depending on how bad Manila traffic is.  From Sabang Port, you’ll need to take a commercial boat bound to Guijalo, Caramoan Port which usually takes about 1.5-2 hours.

  • There are buses available Naga City from Pasay and Cubao terminals
  • Trips going to Guijalo Port from Sabang Port start at 5:30 am to 2 pm. It takes up to one and a half to two hours, depending on the speed of the boat. It will cost you 120php/pax.
  • You can also take a night trip bus bound for Naga City from Cubao or Pasay terminals. Travel time takes up to 8 hours.

Transportation Cost

  • Bus w/AC Manila-Sabang 700php-800php or 14-16USD (one way)
  • Sabang port pump boat transfer to Guijalo Port in Caramoan 120php or 2.5USD
  • Guijalo port environmental fee 30php
  • Tricycle rental 300php or 6USD (split amongst the group)
  • Boat Rental for island hopping 1,500php-2,500php or 30/50 USD

Although if you do have a private rented vehicle you can go directly to Brgy. Paniman in Caramoan as the jump point for all island hopping.


Option A: Mid-Priced

Gota Beach has white powdery sand that’s cool even under the noonday sun. It has a wide beachfront, and gradually slopes down for about 50m. Since it is in a deep cove, it is protected from strong currents.  There are limestone cliffs on both sides of the cove, and the whole beach area has been cleared of rocks, making it a giant swimming pool.



Stayed in one of the Villas at Gota. Beaches are with fine sand. Great picturesque views. Quiet and serene surroundings. Resort staff very helpful. Wifi not so good if you are far from the main admin clubhouse.



2,500.00php or 51USD/night

  • Standard Occupancy 2 Pax
  • Air-conditioned room with TV and DVD player
  • Private toilet bathroom with hot and cold shower


2,750.00php or 56USD/night

  • Standard Occupancy 2 Pax maximum of 3 pax
  • Air-conditioned room with TV and DVD player
  • Private toilet bathroom with hot and cold shower
  • With mini ref, receiving room, and dining area


3,000.00php or 61USD/night

  • Standard Occupancy 2 Pax maximum of 3 pax
  • Air-conditioned room with TV and DVD player
  • Air-conditioned room with TV and DVD player
  • Private toilet bathroom with hot and cold shower
  • With mini ref, receiving room, and dining area


Option B: Pricier

Hunongan Cove is also run by the province of Camsur.It is more private and the view is more beautiful than Gota Village. They do not have a credit card for online reservation or payment so you will need to either transfer via bank deposit or pay cash upon arrival. Their service needs to improve though as a few feedbacks from people that food service was pretty bad and the electricity distribution is intermittent.



Despite the bad service representation,  you will manage to enjoy your stay as the place was really beautiful and very nice place for snorkeling as it has lots of different kinds of sea creatures and the mountains also and rock formation is a big plus.

5,000.00php or 100USD/night

  • Standard Occupancy 2 Pax
  • Air-conditioned room with TV and DVD player
  • Private toilet bathroom with hot and cold shower

7,500.00php or 153USD/night

  • Standard Occupancy 2 Pax maximum of 3 pax
  • Air-conditioned room with TV and DVD player
  • Private toilet bathroom with hot and cold shower
  • With mini ref, receiving room, and dining area


6,500.00php 132USD/night

  • Standard Occupancy 2 Pax maximum of 3 pax
  • Air-conditioned room with TV and DVD player
  • Private toilet bathroom with hot and cold shower
  • With mini ref, receiving room, and dining area

10,000.00php or 200php/night

  • 2 Fully Air-condition rooms with TV and DVD player
  • Standard Occupancy of minimum of 4 pax and maximum of 6 pax
  • 2 Private toilets, bathroom with hot and cold shower
  • Kitchen and dining area, large living room

You may directly reserve to via:


Address: Manila Liason Office

Mobile Number:



Address: CamSur Provincial Tourism Office

Mobile Number: (+63)920 967 2942

Telephone Number: (+63) 54 4773344

(+63) 54 4773347

Email: villadelreyreservation@gmail.com

Option C: Budget-Friendly Options and Alternatives

  1.  Island View Lodge (1,4oophp or 27USD)
  2. La Casa Roa Hostel (900php or 17-18USD)
  3. West Peninsula Villas (1,700php or 34USD)
  4. Homestay options at Paniman Beach. Paniman Beach is where is a small town where locals reside. While fishing is the primary source of income of the locals in Paniman, providing island hopping tours to visitors and tourists supplements to their income.

If you have a few bucks to spend I recommend Option A and if you’re on budget Island View Lodge is your best bet.

Island Hop Guide

There are several ways to visit the islands. You can do it on day trips or simply stay overnight by pitching a camp site and then move on to the next island when you want. Best and safest time to go there is from February to early June. Since the Bicol Region is a pathway of storms, northeast monsoon prevails from October to January causing dangerous sea waves.

There are several islands around Caramoan, but I’ve shortlisted a few jump points that you shouldn’t miss during your visit.


Lahos Island

It has a Beautiful white sandbar in between 2 jagged rock formations. It’s gorgeous and comparable to El Nido’s pocket islands. A popular destination for most tourists, so it could get pretty crowded. Be careful when you swim as the drop on the sea floor was abrupt and the waves may often time to be too strong for snorkeling


Matukad Beach

Larger than Lahos Island, we did spend lunch and more time here. It’s fine white sand is smooth to the feet. Upon the jagged rock is a Lagoon with 2 giant Milkfish and oddly enough that Milkfish may only be found in freshwater. Locals believe that the lagoon is sacred and those 2 giant Milkfish are actual enchanted creatures.


Cagbalinad Island

What I love about this island is the huge rock formation, perfect for photo ops. However, the rock has a rough surface so be careful when climbing.  Cagbanilad Island is more known for snorkeling activities within its perimeter. Just a few meters away from Cagbanilad’s shore are corals and schools of fish!


Cotivas Island

Has a long sandbar. Perfect place to have lunch and lounge around. It is one of the islands which has nipa huts perfect for lunchtime. You have to pay a 50php entrance fee to the caretaker.



Cotivas Island has a very long sandbar during low tide. You can enjoy this in solitude while the aquamarine waters rush to your feet, the lush green island as your backdrop.

Minalahos Island

The clear blue water, rock formations, islet, and view are like being in El Nido, Palawan


Make sure to discuss and plan your day plans with your hired boatmen so you’d be able to plot your activities for the whole day to maximize your trip.


Caramoan Islands is gorgeous in all of its glory. It remains to be an underrated travel destination compared to Palawan, Davao, and Cebu. If you adore beaches and beautiful seascapes and you have not been to Caramoan then you are missing out on something incredible.

You will find beautiful azure blue water that mixes with emerald green. The whole island boasts of rainforests, mountains, karst cliffs, primitive caves, stunning rock formations and virgin beaches. One of the unique moments I had in Caramoan was it was my first time to witness a moonrise. The moon casts dramatically and shimmers its rays across the ocean. I have no words to describe. One of the best nights of my life.

Its charm will always be its seclusion and rawness and in our busy lives in the city, we are in dire need to get away and mute our environment. Caramoan offers that sanity at our dispense anytime that we’re ready.

As we always say, go forth and wander when you return home to be your own storyteller.


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World Street Food Congress 2017: Why Philippine Street Food Was Misrepresented

World Street Food Congress 2017: Why Philippine Street Food Was Misrepresented

Our experience and insight to the recently concluded World Street Food Congress

Camiguin Island: Hauntingly Bountiful

Camiguin Island: Hauntingly Bountiful

Camiguin will always be one of those places where you could confidently say that nature in its own way is in worship to a greater being.