Category Archives: #Navi2014

Bucket list in blissful Boracay

That exactly was the first word I interjected when I saw Boracay’s enticing blue water. The island is such a beauty no one can ever resist and a destination no one can ever ignore. It boasts of pristine water and powdery white sand—it’s no wonder why people keep going back to this paradise.

It was my first time on the island last month. Before, I could only see it in photos and read about the place over the internet, and it took really long before I got to visit the island, so when I was there, all I did was focus on my precious vacation.

I want your Boracay getaway to be perfect just as mine was, so I prepared this Boracay bucket list for you.

1. Travel as a group.

Plan your vacation with your family, or your friends. Either way, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it a lot. Activities on Boracay are not meant to be done alone, so don’t go there alone (unless you’re King/Queen Congeniality, or the Master of PR who has a knack on making new friends anywhere you go). Spend your vacation with the most precious people in your life and you’ll surely have one of the best travels ever. Moreover, it helps a lot in cutting down costs, as you can bargain for lower rates for activities and food.

2. Cook
Nothing’s more delicious than the food cooked with love by your family, or your friends. You can do other things while preparing food like talking about funny stories, cracking jokes and planning your itinerary for the next day. And it’s less expensive than dining out.

3. Scream while riding the flying fish…

…so the operators will know when to slow down. I must admit, it was more nerve wracking than Star City’s Star Flyer. The sharp turns and the speed will surely throw you off the ride if your grip is not strong enough…and yeah, if you don’t cry out, “Kuya, slow down!” My legs and arms were aching after that and I’m not sure if I’ll do it again when I go back. There was only one thing I had in mind during the entire ride: I must not get thrown into the water. It was extreme, but I still recommend it because it’s something you don’t get to experience every day. And with that, here goes the next one.
4. Do something crazy.
Yes, something crazy—anything like exclaiming, “GOOD MORNING, BORACAY!” from the veranda of your hotel.

5. Ride the banana boat.

After the exhausting flying fish experience, we went for something a little less extreme—banana boat. We just sat, relaxed, enjoyed the view and savored the wind touching our skin. But (SPOILER ALERT), be prepared for the unexpected sharp turn towards the end, because you will inevitably get thrown off the boat. That’s the climax.

6. Spend three hours on Puka Beach.

If you’re a nature lover, you’ll surely enjoy this area a lot, because of the few establishments—a great place to commune with nature. There are sheds where you can lie under while listening to the melodic sound of the waves rushing to the shore.

7. Close your mouth while sailing on paraw.

Don’t forget that, because the waves will hit you straight in the face and you’ll get wet all over. Salt water is the last thing that you ever want to drink. But, it was definitely an exhilarating experience, sailing on paraw—it was like riding the waves while the wind carries you.

8. Go on a night out.

Don’t leave Boracay without hitting the bars and the clubs. You can drink till you drop, or just chill out with a bottle or two of beer. Listen to an acoustic band, or groove to the DJ’s reverberating music. Watch the fire dancers and have your photos taken with them. Dance. Some of you may not be party goers, but don’t worry. There are a lot of options to choose from.

9. Enjoy.

You went on a vacation to enjoy and get replenishment of energy, so focus on that. Forget about work. Forget about the people and the things that stress you out. Forget about the hassles of life. You’ll have enough time for all of those things when your vacation ends. Just indulge in the activities on the island, savor the luscious food, revel in the exciting night life. You’re not living a fantasy; you’re living your life, so don’t waste your getaway by worrying around. Just enjoy.

Final reminder:

Please bear in mind that it’s our responsibility to protect and care for the environment. You don’t need to be a part of a big cause to do that. By simply disposing of your trash properly, you’ve contributed a lot to the environment. Do not litter. Be a responsible traveler. The Earth is your home. You surely don’t want an untidy one, right?

Credits to Jesus Espiritu for some of the photos used in this blog.

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Hello, 2015!

Year 2014 was a year of extremes for me. It was a rocky ride on the marvelous path called life and a mixture of the best and the worst. But, as the previous year ended when the clock struck 12, I concluded with a smile that it had been a great year after all.
This year, I look forward to a new series of thrilling adventures and breath-taking discoveries. Continue joining me as I document and savor life bit by bit. Happy 2015!

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4 activities you shouldn’t miss at Hundred Islands

I succumbed to limitless exhilaration at Hundred Islands national Park, Alaminos City.

View of the islands from the Governor’s Island View Deck.

It wasn’t my first time at the tourist destination, but since my recent trip to Hundred Islands with my office buddies wasn’t work-related, I surrendered to blissful adventures and felt like I was a newcomer. The mesmerizing islands still captured me in awe and the stunning view from the view deck of Governor’s Island still made my heart race.

All of the activities are must-tries, but the level of thrill varies. As for me, here’s how I rank the activities my friends and I tried out.

Rank 4: Snorkeling
Price: P150/head for goggles rental

Seeing the giant clams, corals and fish was supposedly exciting. But, I didn’t enjoy snorkeling that much, perhaps, because I’m not a good swimmer. Being a good swimmer is not a requirement, because there’s a life vest to help you float, but you’ll surely get the most out of it if you are. It gets boring if you’re just floating around on the surface. Plus, you’ll get to see more of the living things underneath if you can swim like a fish.

Rank 3: Helmet Diving
Price: P300/head

Before the trip, I didn’t do any research about helmet diving, so I was totally clueless about how it felt.

It was the first activity we did after our sumptuous lunch aboard the boat. After having our fill and taking some rest, we stepped onto the floating hut where the helmets and oxygen tanks sat waiting.

We were oriented about what to do and how to do it properly, and were taught hand signals, which were essential in our underwater adventure. As we stood and prepared for our descent, we tried lifting the helmets and whoa! It was surprisingly heavy! I was able to lift it up to only an inch.

The instructor told us that the pressure would get higher every two feet. To remove it, he advised us to shut our mouth tight, pinch our nose with one hand while the other holds the helmet’s handle (never loosen the grip on the helmet, or it would slip off the head), then blow through it, so the pressure would pop out. Jaw exercise could also be done.

The diving area’s depth is 12-15 feet. The pressure was ringing in my ears as I descended. It was painful. But, it lasted for only a minute or two. Few more minutes and I was marveling at the scene unfolding before me.

Beneath the water’s surface, there were schools of fish that came rushing to us as the divers sprinkled rice grains. The divers took numerous photos of us touching the corals and the giant clams that would shut their shells upon detecting our proximity and presence.

That’s me touching the mushy membrane of a giant clam.

Helmet diving lasted for about 10-15 minutes.

Rank 2: Zipline
Price: P250/head

Zipline isn’t new to me, as I tried it twice before at the Balungao Hilltop Adventure. But zooming away from Governor’s Island towards another island, which was about half a kilometer away, was a whole new experience.

It was nerve-wracking before the flight, because of the fact that I would be flying over the deep sea. But it was enticing at the same time, because of the fulfillment waiting on the other side. We were eight, but only two of us took the challenge.

Nervousness came only before the release. But, the exhilaration and fun took over as I zipped away through the sturdy cable with the wind touching my sun-soaked skin. I savored the marvelous scene around me before reaching the other end in less than a minute. It was great and I’m craving for another ride.

Rank 1: Cliff Diving
Price: Free

I’ve been high above the sea, speeding with the wind, and way under it, interacting with its inhabitants. But, what tops my list is cliff diving. Nothing beats the thrill of a 20-foot drop into the 8 feet deep clear water on the Marcos Island.

The trail towards the cliff diving site.

Waiting for my turn. Photo by Kim Montano.

The nervousness I felt upon seeing the others jump off the edge was like an avalanche. But, I was certain I wanted to jump. When my turn came, I set myself in position, counted to three in my mind and jumped off the edge without allowing myself to have second thoughts. I let my hands fly in the air as I braced for the impact. A surge of relief flooded my mind upon touching the water’s surface after waiting for a full second.

Here’s a tip: Upon stepping on the edge, don’t stare too long at the water; it will only give you doubts. Just jump after counting to three without thinking about how it feels like when you reach the destination. Just jump and take in all the action.

To date, cliff diving is the most exhilarating adventure I experienced and the most unforgettable moment of my life as a traveler. Too bad, though, my friends didn’t catch it on video. But, the moment is on loop-play in my mind.

Budget Breakdown:
Tour package voucher purchased through Ensogo – P700/head
Van rental (Manila to Lucap Wharf and vice versa) – P8,000
Hotel Accommodation – Rooms start at P1,000. We got ours (Family room for 6 persons) for P2,600 at Island Tropic Hotel.
Food: Prices of viands at the Lucap Wharf range from P40 to P70 per order. Rice is priced at P15 per cup.

Other moments:

En route to the Hundred Islands National Park.
Quezon Island.
Quezon Island.
Quezon Island. Photo by Kim Montano.
Posing at the foot of Manuel L. Quezon’s statue on Quezon Island.

View from the Marcos Island.
Turtle Island.
Crocodile Island.
Taken at the Governor’s Island View Deck.

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