Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ilo-ilo at Last ~

This time is not my first time for this province. I have been here last March 2012 but with no intention of stopping by to enjoy the place. I was only on my way to the famous Boracay and Ilo-ilo is a place to stop by first so I can get on a bus to get to the world-famous island BORACAY!

I sadly glimpsed on the places I passed in Iloilo and on my mind "I will have my chance for you too, soon" I convinced myself.

Come August 2014, its just plain EXCITEMENT when I was able to prepare for the next field work and see Ilo-ilo for the FIRST time :) No one can resist to have her picture taken at the place where "Ilo-ilo" text is just simply visible :)

Way back in Elementary years, I can only think of Ilo-ilo as a place with the colorful "vintas", well those colorful boats as shown on the History books back then.  But there is more to Ilo-ilo than just the boats that I have not even tried :D

To look forward to:

good food  - La Paz Batchoy
people - I like how they speak Ilonggo - sweet (do they ever get angry?)
the famous island next to it - Boracay!

As mentioned, going to Ilo-ilo is part of my work. As expected, there are many ways and reasons why I can look back and smile with the experience. Part of the trip was to visit our clients/clusters located in different islands of Iloilo. What the typhoon Haiyan left at the port. Heartbreaking though.

I have to be on this boat to reach the islands that I need to visit.

I met a friend: Tatay Pepito Ceriaco. He was humble and he happily shared how it is to live a life in an island when all your grown up children are already away and on their own (I can feel the loneliness in his voice - I guess he just missed them). He fumbled on his envelope with so many legal documents in it. And promised to him that I will send him a water-proof envelope or bag one day. I'm hoping to buy one online.

I can't just leave Ilo-ilo without checking on its famous church - Miag-ao. This church was completed in 1797.

Working in Luzon for many years allowed me to see rivers but not as beautiful and clean as that of River Esplanade.

Can't help but beam at the sight below, when five to six vehicles can pass by under the overpass near SM. From where I came from, only two tricycles can fit on our narrow highways, in the City.

At SM food court, At "Original Lapaz Batchoy", we had a great dinner with the best (so far in Visayas) sisig I have tasted.

And the place that we chose for the night was Ongbun Pension House for its AFFORDABILITY! :) at P700+ per night for a Standard Room (August 2014 rate).

I have to say goodbye to the place at dawn - heading back to Cebu in the morning!
Until we meet again Iloilo :)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Paradise Called Cabilao Island!

Two years ago I decided to explore places that  I have never been to knowing that the experience will be worth it, out of curiosity and  out of fun.

Indeed, my first travel experince gave me so much freedom and made me realize that different places are worth seeing and exploring if we have the chance to do it, meaning if we have a little savings through our work, and if we can afford the time. There are many ways to save on expenses too, I realized. One way to do it is by staying in hostels, dormitory-type accommodations and homestays.

More than that, I realized how I really love beaches! The fact that I am from a country of 7,107 islands was enough to make me feel excited. Seashore, sea breeze, the waves, the calmness and peace that comes with it is always a luxury for me.

Cabilao is one of the islands in Bohol under the town of Loon.  Together with two friends, off we visited the island recently.

Approximately 10 minutes  trip by boat from Sandingan and you will reach Cabilao Island.

One of the highlights on the recent trip that we have was a stay at the couple’s house named Cesaria and Cerilo through

A few minutes ride from our host's home (via his convertible - PH version), we almost have the Punta Baluarte Beach to ourselves!

Thinking of the white powdery sand, crystal-clear-blue-green-waters always make me dream for my next adventure. I even thought that those can only be found in the famous Boracay.

Little did I know that I can experience it again, never having to venture far because it is within my province of Bohol – the paradise called Cabilao! 

We frolicked at the beach until late afternoon, even waited until sunset. 

Enjoying once again like children who can't get enough of the place :)

We thought it will add fun if we explore other place while looking for seashells.

We bravely checked on some private resort :)

A few minutes then, our generous host called us for an early evening dinner! Where? At the top of the sand bar! While waiting for the sunset! :) :)

On our second day, we even had more fun. The calmness and beauty welcome us.

Even before visiting the place, I've heard that Cabilao offers an unforgettable diving and snorkeling experience. I didn't  dive but we knew it because of the presence of this ship for two days. The two men whom we have befriended told us that the ship was rented by tourist for a 12-day-diving in different islands of PH.

At Cabilao, I found the abundance of corals and colorful fish which made my snorkeling experience more exciting, and due to the place not  being so touristy yet (I hope it will remain that way!). I hope I can go and see more of Cabilao again soon :)

Like an added bonus, the two men allowed us to make the most in their speed boats (without the speed)? :D

With the diving guide.

We also found little companions along the way :)

I hate to say goodbye to the place but our host called us again to a sumptuous lunch, on our second day (happy sigh!) because we have to leave this paradise soon to go back to the City. The food was very good. I have to admit this – I think we were given more that what we were paying for! :D :D

What made the trip more exciting and unforgettable  was the memories with the homestay experience. 

I can still remember Ate Cesaria's happy surprise when she said "This is our first time to host locals." Yes, local tourists (FILIPINOS), why not? :D The sweet hospitality of our fellow Kababayans was worth it. 

Thank you Kuya Cerilo, Ate Cesearia and for the wonderful experience. We had great memories from our stay.

Zamboanga City - You Were Unplanned

So it was not like I had dreamed it at all, well, to be honest, I thought I would just have to pass by the place. I had one day to enjoy ...