Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sagada on my Mind

I've only read about Sagada and its wondrous attractions I finally now have the chance to go there myself. I'm definitely riveted to finally go to Sagada myself courtesy of Project Dora.

Here's the itinerary for my 3 days and 2 nights on December 28-30 in Sagada:



Monday, December 24, 2012

Cafe Juanita

I'm no foodie or expert when it comes to food but I know that when something tastes good I'd want to get more servings. The only comments I can give you about food are limited to "it tastes good", "it is sweet", "I like it" and other variations of these phrases. If you are looking for eloquence when it comes to food and its ingredients you've come to the wrong place. But I can share with you the prices of the food we ate when we ate at Cafe Juanita in Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City.

Whenever I scour the Web for restaurants to eat in I find it hard to find out how much the food costs because the posts or articles about the place discussed the food but rarely the price of the items. Yes, I know that the food was quite delectable but I also like to know how much it cost.

So here's a quick rundown of the food we ate when we went to Cafe Juanita and some comments like "I like this dish", "I think it's delicious", "I think its yummy" and so on and so forth:

Catfish Mango Salad P288


Monday, December 17, 2012

Wandering in BGC

As much as I love my own country, let's face it Manila is not really a good city in terms of urban planning and aesthetics but there is one place that bucks that trend. Burgos Circle in Bonifacio Global City is one place that makes you feel like you are in a first-world country not a third-world one.




Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Thailand Trip Expenses

Thailand is a backpacker's haven because of the affordable accommodations, food, tours, and shopping. Here is a breakdown of the expenses I incurred during and before my trip to Thailand:




Sunday, December 9, 2012

Eating & Shopping in Bangkok

Eating and shopping in Bangkok is not a problem because of the cheap prices and different offerings. Honestly, I'm not a big shopper but I can seriously say that the items were cheap and definitely affordable.





Thursday, December 6, 2012

When the Lights Go Out in Bangkok

The lights dim, and the shadows rise from the streets for a moment the city of Bangkok is shrouded in darkness. Then out of the darkness shards of light glimmer and release their luminescence lighting up the skies and brightening up the streets.


 


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Beware of Scammers

Thailand can be the best place you visit but it can turn into one tourist trap if you are not careful.



As soon as you get to the city there are plenty of tuktuk drivers promising to take you anywhere you want. Beware of these drivers because they are trying to pull a fast one on you. They will charge you an exorbitant amount of money just to bring you to a place that is 5-10 minutes away.


Monday, December 3, 2012

The Bridge Over the River Kwai and a Trip Down Memory Lane

After the chaotic Floating Market, I went to the Bridge Over the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi. The actual bridge was already destroyed but a new, albeit symbolic one, was erected. Our first stop was in the Jeath War Museum. The entrance fee to the museum cost 40 Baht.




Sunday, December 2, 2012

Floating Market Frenzy in Thailand

I've only seen pictures or scenes of the floating markets in Thailand so I decided to visit one before I left for the Philippines. The tour to the famous Damnoen Saduak Floating Market costs 500 Baht (I packaged it with a visit to the Bridge Over the River Kwai). The trip took more or less an hour. Once there, you can choose between riding the boat around the Floating Market or just walking around. The boat trip costs 100-150 Baht.




Saturday, December 1, 2012

Ancient Ayutthaya & Bangkok Redux

After exploring the temples and the city on my first day, I decided to book a tour for the ancient ruins in Ayutthaya. The tour I got cost me, as far as I can remember, 500-600 Baht for a day tour that comes with guide, van transfers, fees, and food.

Ayutthaya was the former capital of Thailand. Ayutthaya faced many wars and changed hands among the Burmese, Thais, and Khmer empires. The city was founded by King U Thong in 1350. Upon seeing the city, I felt the sense of history permeating through the old ruins and Buddhist statues within the complex. 




Friday, November 30, 2012

Conquering Mountains: Mt. Maculot

It was a long weekend (November 30, 2012) and I was looking for something to do. With my new found hobby of hiking, I decided to go on a day hike to one of my favorite provinces, Batangas. Mt. Maculot was located in Cuenca, Batangas and it had a Rockies, Summit, and Grotto part.




The Travails of a Noob Traveler in Bangkok

I got up early during my first REAL day in Bangkok. I decided to visit the famous temples around the city, but first I went back to the airport to switch to another hotel. I booked 2 nights in Nappark Hostel in Khao San Road. Nappark Hostel is a pretty well-known backpacker hotel in Bangkok. I booked a dorm type room for 920 Baht (approximately P1,225) for 2 nights.

Before I got to Khao San Road, I had to take the train to the city. I took the free airport transfer back to the airport to try the subway. Suvarnabhumi International Airport is a good distance away from the city center. The train ride took 45 minutes to the station I was supposed to get to.

Train Ticket 



Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Wandering Juan Flies Solo to Bangkok

I bought my ticket to Bangkok, Thailand WAY in advance, close to a year in advance to be exact. My motto as a traveler is that hindi uso ang spontaneous sa nagtitipid I don't know how to put that precisely in English. But my thinking is that to get the lowest prices on airfare is to get them early, unless you know someone from the airline you avail you won't be getting tickets for cheap.The ticket I booked lasted for 4 days and 3 nights during the second week of November, 10-13 to be exact.

The tickets I got to Bangkok were from Cebupacific's weekly promo fares. Unfortunately the ticket was form Clark to Bangkok and back and not from Manila. I had to endure 1-2 hours of travel time just to get to the airport for my flight. I took the Philtranco bus from SM Megamall A to Clark. The fare cost me P400 one way.

Clark Airport


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Conquering Mountains: Mt. Batulao


After climbing/trekking the trail up to Mt. Pico de Loro, I couldn't resist climbing another mountain. This time around I decided to climb Mt. Batulao in Batangas. It was fairly easy to get to Mt. Batulao. My friend and I met in Taft McDonald's where the buses that went straight to the drop off point were stationed. Look for the bus that went to Nasugbu and passes by Tagytay. The conductor knew where we were going upon first glance, based on what we were wearing, and told us that the bus stopped by the drop-off point of Mt. Batulao. The bus made it a whole lot easier for us to get there. The fare cost P106 one way and the tricycle ride to the start of the trek was P50 one way.

Mt. Batulao


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Conquering Mountains: Mt. Pico de Loro

After my first hike up a mountain in Mt. Pinatubo, I just can't help but keep climbing and hiking mountains. My 2nd climb was in Mt. Pico de Loro. Since I had no idea how to do a do-it-yourself hike my friends and I decided to book a tour with Trailadventours. The meeting place for the start of the trek was in McDonald's, El Pueblo. The call time was at a gruesome hour, 3AM! With little to no sleep and a bit of a cold I soldiered on and joined my friends.

The almost 3 hour ride to the jump-off point gave all of us time to rest our obviously sleep deprived bodies.

The Trailadventourers looking fresh before the hike


Monday, November 26, 2012

Planning & Expenses for Kota Kinabalu

I don't really plan what I'm going to do or create an itinerary once I'm somewhere, I just browse around the net, ask friends, and read other people's blogs on what they do in the places I go to. I also look at Tripadvisor and find out what other people have to say about a particular place. It's also a good time to wander around a foreign country to find out what you can do. You get to learn about the place you are in simply by walking about, the way the streets lead into certain places, and the way buildings are constructed and where they are placed.

Here's an estimated breakdown of my expenses for Kota Kinabalu:



Kota Kinabalu Part 3

After getting some sun and sand, I was thinking of things to do on my last day in Sabah. Since I was going to check out early from the hotel I decided to stop over at the museum. The MYR 15 entrance fee was an OK price to pay for. I've noticed that in Kota Kinabalu there is always a separate price for Malaysians and Non-Malaysians; the price is always higher for Non-Malaysians. Moving along...

Nasi Goreng for my last breakfast in Kota Kinabalu


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Kota Kinabalu Part 2

For my third day in Kota Kinabalu I decided to go island hopping and see the beautiful beaches that Sabah had to offer. My first stop was Jesselton Point where I had to take the ferry to the different islands in Sabah. I had trouble buying a ticket because the ticket sellers did not sell tickets for Pulau Sapi for just one person. I had Pulau Sapi, Pulau Mamutik, and Pulau Manukan on my destination list I didn't want to miss out on any of them. I decided to wait for other people to come so I could randomly join them on their trip to the islands.

Breakfast before island hopping


Kota Kinabalu Part 1

My first day in Kota Kinabalu was uneventful . I arrived in the afternoon with not much to do. So the first thing I did was check-in at my hotel. The way I choose hotels is easy, I just pick the most affordable hostel with the highest reviews. Simple right? I book hostels through Hostelworld and hotels through Agoda. As a rookie backpacker, I booked two different hotels fort my entire stay in Kota Kinabalu. The first night I stayed in Masada Backpacker. Masada Backpacker is a small hostel where fellow travelers can run into each other and talk about their travels. It was my first time traveling solo so there was some uneasiness being around strangers, let alone foreign strangers. The staff was friendly and can speak good English so communicating was not much of a problem.

I chose the basic 5 bed male dorm which costs MYR 31.50 (roughly P440). The room was ok for sleeping in, the bathrooms were clean. Honestly, I didn't know what to do during my first day in Kota Kinabalu since the only thing I knew about the place was it was a heavily disputed territorial dispute between the Philippines and Malaysia, which Malaysia eventually won. I decided to wander around the city for the sake of wandering.



Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Start of Solo Journeys to Other Countries

I'm an impulse buyer when it comes to buying plane tickets to another country. The first ticket I bought for my planned solo adventures to another country was for Bangkok, Thailand (this will be discussed in another post) and then the second one was for Kota Kinabalu. I buy tickets WAY in advance but choose dates several months in the future. I bought my tickets to Kota Kinabalu last summer and scheduled my trip for August. I decided to stay in Kota Kinabalu for 4 days and 3 nights.

My Kota Kinabalu trip was the first time I traveled alone, and the first time I traveled since my family and I went to Hong Kong when we were kids. My tickets to Kota Kinabalu cost around P2,890. The low price was because of Cebupac's promo fare. I only buy tickets during promo fare sales because their cheaper, I buy these tickets even if it means staying up late into the night.

Here are some pictures of my trip to Kota Kinabalu:



The Conquest of Mt. Pinatubo

There was something about hiking and conquering mountains that urged me to give Mt. Pinatubo a shot. Although it is not an ideal hike for first time hikers, my friends and I decided to tackle this adventure. I found this deal on Ensogo and started to buy vouchers for friends.

The journey to Mt. Pinatubo was a loooooonnnnnngggggg one. The drive to the jump-off point was somewhere around 2-3 hours. After the long drive to the jump-off point, we rode 4x4s to the start of the trail.

4x4 Ride