Summer Paradise: Coron, Palawan

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Hi, Readers! I’m MIA for quite long cause I came home to spend summer time with family and friends. I want to share to you what happened to my well-deserved vacation and budget tips on how to travel without being broke. So the adventure begins! YAY!

I went to Coron, Palawan together with my college besties. We’re planning this trip for 2 years cause our broke-college-students-dilemma put us on hold. Now that we’re employed, finally we made it to Coron! It’s always been in my bucket list to travel Coron cause of the stunning pictures that I saw on the internet and blogs saying how majestic the rock formations of this beautiful island is. Truly I was not disappointed, Palawan is a paradise.

We’re group of four all girls and stayed at Momita’s lodge for 3D2N for only Php3,500 each including tour, accommodation and daily breakfast. I surely recommend Momita’s for anyone who wants to travel on budget.

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We took this picture inside Momita’s lodge.

I didn’t managed to take a picture of the whole room cause we got too excited but as you can see, it’s really wide and spacious. It has 2 double beds, 1 single bed, fully air-conditioned, 2 ceiling fan, 1 stand fan, 4 towels, 4 soaps and private bathroom. Momita is the owner of the lodge and this is also what the guests called her. She is really nice and welcoming I can see my grandma to her. She offers variety of rooms depending on your budget and how many persons. You can search her website online at www.mommitaslodge.jimdo.com  for more details.

Day 1

1st Stop: The Hunt for Food

We have ample of time to roam around the city before our tour begins..

So we decided to look for restaurant cause we’re really hungry fresh from our 30mins flight from Manila to Busuanga..

One of the many restaurants that are flocked together at the city of Coron. We choose this place cause this is the nearest to our lodge and the food looks appetizing.

Stingray in Coconut Milk

What makes this restaurant different is they served stingray in coconut milk. This is the first time in my entire life to eat stingray. It tasted like Bicol Express but the texture of it is like shredded tuna meat. All in all, it’s delicious worth a try!

And of couse, the undying love for Pork Sisig! Nothing beats the authentic Sisig back home. 2 cups of rice please!

2nd Stop: Mt. Tapyas

Momita only told us that we’re hiking 721 steps to the peak of Mt. Tapyas. We didn’t bring anything not even money cause right after hiking this mountain we’re going to Maquinit Hot Springs and there will be no lockers to put your belongings. So being the vigilant us, we decided not to bring valuables. It was a really bad move not to bring money cause we’re really exhausted and thirsty after hiking, good thing our tricycle driver is really nice. He lend us money to buy water. Thank you, Kuya! lol

On the way to city tour and Mt. Tapyas

We take pictures in between to ease our tiredness..

and to make everything worthwhile lol

3rd Stop: Maquinit Hot Springs 

This is my first time to actually bath into a natural hot spring. The view and scenery is therapeutic and the soil is really red. That’s when you know it is all natural. The warm water is so relaxing and it has pebbles underneath like a massage for your tired feet. This is a must-see if you die for a scenery like this especially, if you’re too fed up with the city life. There are also cottages in the place and grill joint where you can eat and drink.

The hot springs are divided into 3 parts: 1 big pool and 2 smaller pools

The path on the way to the hot springs

4th Stop: Where to dine for Dinner?

After a long day, we came back to our hostel just to fix ourselves and look for dinner. We landed at Carl’s BBQ just along the city of Coron. Their food are delicious, really affordable and serve in platters. Their ambiance makes you feel like you’re really in an island and good for groups and family.

We ordered crispy pata, calamares, baby back ribs, mango shake and bucket of beer for only Php1,265. Traveling in groups really shrink the expenses cause it is always divided by how many of you. I’m so sorry didn’t managed to take a photo of the food due to hunger.

While waiting for us to be seated, we asked the waitress to take a photo of us. I love the people of Coron they are just so accommodating.

They have different types of cottages to choose from. They have tree house set-up, long tables, and this cabbana style cottage.

Our first day ended full of laughter until you’re stomach hurts. It feels so good to just laugh like that again, can’t remember the last time we experience it. Also to catch up with my friends cause didn’t saw them for too long and we have many stories to tell. True friends are indeed gold.

Day 2: Island Hopping

The day we’re waiting for! We are all excited about this tour cause we can finally see the majestic rock formation, clear water and priceless scenery. There are places you can’t go without life vest, aqua shoes and mask and snorkle. They are just being careful cause of the 2 tourist died at Coron recently.

1st Stop: Twin Lagoon

I am so excited cause I can finally see and experience the beauty of it. The place I’m always dreaming about is right here in front of me. The pictures has no justice how atonishing the place is.

They have improvised stairs in between the rocks for you to go to the next lagoon. It is quite steep and the rocks are really sharp so be extra careful when using the stairs but it’s just a few steps.

Twin Lagoon has different water temperature vary from warm to cold. Amazing isn’t it?

On the way to Twin Lagoon

Look at those rock formation. Amazing God!

2nd Stop: CYC Beach

It’s a small white sand beach with clear turquoise water where you can swim, drink and eat ice candy cause locals sells them in their boats

The view is jaw-dropping

That clear water says it all

3rd Stop: Kayangan Lake

This is the controversial lake cause this is where the 2 tourist died. I heard from the locals it was temporarly closed but luckily, it is opened again the time we visited it. You have to hike in order to get to the lake, it is quite long so be prepared. But the hike is always worth it cause of the stunning scenery. Tour guides doesn’t allow the tourist to enter the lake without life vest.

The entrance to the hike..adventure begins!

The view that will welcome you when the boat dock at the entrance of Kayangan Lake

A photo in the actual lake. Clear water and rock formations are love.

4th Stop: Sunken Japanese Wrecks

It was a Japanese war ship during the WW2, I was mesmerized by the beauty of this ruins. It is amazing how something so destroyed can be this beautiful. Truly, nature has its own way of healing itself.

 

No filter photo of the sea. Be amaze!

That is the shipwreck surrounded by many marine life. The beauty of ruins another no filter photo

5th Stop: Coron Reefs

This was our last stop for our Island Tour and definitely the most beautiful one. It feels like I enter into a ‘whole new world’. It is a long trail of mesmerizing coral garden with shades of pink and blue, alive corals that are breathing, a home of many marine life. Philippines is so beautiful, I’m craving for more. All credits to the Most High, our world is beyond beautiful.

It was so beautiful that I actually forgot to take pictures because I was so busy just enjoying the moment and appreciating all beauty in front me. I’m sorry.

Day 3: Last Day/ Souvenir Shops

Filipinos definitely won’t forget ‘pasalubong’ for loved ones. Before our morning flight, we decided to roam around the city to look for possible souvenirs to take back home.

 

The mandatory t-shirts and keychains in every souvenir shops.

Also the ref magnets, but I love this wood type.

 

So that’s how our Coron Adventure ends. If you want peace, nature and sightseeing definitely, Coron is for you. The island is really small, it’s like a size of a subdivision back in the city. You can finished the city tour within a day. In terms of safety, we traveled Coron all girls we go out until midnight walking around the city and we didn’t experience any danger at all. The locals are really nice, polite and helpful maybe because you can notice that the major livelihood of the people are their tourism. So they really take good care of their tourists and guests.

Also Coron is really budget-friendly and affordable, I’ll show you the breakdown of the total expenses I had:

  • Airfare from Manila- Busuanga vice versa via Skyjet: Php5,319
  • Tour and Accommodation (Momita’s Lodge): Php3,500
  • Pocket Money: Php3,000
  • Total: Php11,816

My entry for Hana’s Travel Bucket List: Coron, Palawan, Philippines CHECK!!

xoxo

 

 

 

 

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Exploring Osaka

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The whole transition of being a student to working was not easy but the only thing I love about it is the salary because it means, I can finally fund myself for all the travels I’ve been dreaming about since I was young. It’s always been my dream to travel the whole world. I don’t mind spending all my money in exchange of the experiences and memories I will make to every places. My first stop was Osaka, Japan I chose it cause I really love food. We all know that Dotonbori, Osaka is famous for all the food streets and night markets. Not to mention I heard from the locals, Kansai people are really fun to be with.

Some of the foreigners think Japan is just a dream destination in Asia due to the stereotyping that everything here is expensive. But trust me, coming from ‘half-local’ ‘half-tourist’we can make ends meet if you’re streetwise. I did a lot of research and read blogs about Osaka beforehand. I got a lot of information with the help of internet and came up with a ‘game plan’ on how to cut-off possible expenses. For two days and one night, I only spent 30,000yen or Php14,000 including accommodation, foodtrips, ‘omiyage’ or ‘pasalubong’ and train tickets. So what are we waiting for here are the adventures I had in Osaka, Japan.

Day one

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This is a Ramen shop along Shinsaibashi-suji street. This meal is consist of kimchi, fermented bean sprouts, soup and juicy beef meat. Also served with rice for only 1,000yen.

We arrived in Osaka-Namba Station at around 10AM, almost lunch time for Filipinos we’re so hungry and just tried the first restaurant we found. But no regrets, it was awesome! I was really in Osaka cause everything is delicious plus it is really cheap. Though, the ojisan who cooks the food is kinda aloof I don’t know maybe cause we’re all foreigners that’s why, but no big deal. His food is really yummy. If I had the chance, I will be back at this ramen shop.

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The famous cotton candy at Totti Candy Factory. Photo grabbed from @geeeliiiiic instagram.

I’m not fan of sweets and desserts. It’s nothing special for me the colors are just there for the design. I thought it has different flavors each color but no. You can choose from 3-4 colors, 4 colored is the most expensive. I don’t know how much cause I didn’t bought it. But yeah, it is cute for instagram. lol

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Photo taken from Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

So after satisfying our stomach, we went to Kaiyukan. From Namba Station to Kaiyukan, if I’m not mistaken it only costs 240yen. The entrance fee is 2,300yen including this Sta. Maria cruise ship sightseeing. The sea always makes me happy cause it reminds me of my homeland where seas are everywhere. It makes me feel home. But yeah, it was chilly day when we went there. Winter plus the cold breeze, can you imagine? lol

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The famous Pablo cheesecake. Photo grabbed from @geeeliiiiic instagram

My friends says all the good things about this. So my expectations was really pretty high. She actually said if I tasted Pablo ‘cheesecake will never be the same again’ but my expectations was not met. Yes, it is delicious. But I was expecting some kind of ‘magic’ lol I don’t know maybe just because I’m not a sweet tooth.

After the foodtrips, we went to Sam and Dave bar. I went to music festivals back in the Philippines and attended band gigs, but it was my first time to go to an actually bar and it is in Osaka, one of the big cities in the world! Yes, it was fun and the experience was great. You can lose yourself and forget everything but it’s draining. I know it’s not for me. I didn’t liked what I saw. All I saw was empty souls looking for temporary comfort and warmth from the people who they barely know. Poor souls. But I don’t care that’s their life, after all I was there only for the experience. The most fun part of this bar experience is the drunk moments of my friends. I will forever remember it, too funny!

So yeah, our first day in Osaka ended at 4am. We really make the most out of the time we have. We pretty much did everything on the first day. I’m so exhausted but happy.

Day two

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THE BEST RAMEN EVER! located at Dotonbori Street

I don’t know the name of the ramen shop but it is really famous. They have four branches in Dotonbori Street, one of their branch has 4 floors! If you see a 3D dragon holding a ramen bowl this is it! For only 990yen, I tasted the best ramen ever in my entire life. I swear! Also, the takoyaki along Dotonbori Street, I didn’t managed to take a photo of it. I don’t eat Takoyaki but after trying it, Takoyaki will never be the same again.

Dotonbori Street is a real food haven. You can also buy ‘omiyage’ ‘pasalubong’ here for your family and friends. There are many gift shops to choose from. But I must say, everything is so delicious and fucking good! I love Dotonbori.

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Umeda Sky Building before the sunset

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The Observatory deck of Umeda Sky Building at night

We got here at 2:00PM, pretty early cause we had nothing to do on our second day. We almost did everything on our first day. It has ¥1,000 entrance fee quite cheap also. We had to leave at 6:00PM to catch our train bound to Nagoya. When we’re leaving Umeda, we’re surprised how long the queue is. I suggest to come early cause most people come late afternoon.

Umeda Sky Building has chain love locks. You can buy the chain locks there. I don’t know how much, didn’t bother to ask cause I don’t have a lover lol. Also, you can take a picture in the deck and the background is the chain love locks. Romantic isn’t it? Sometimes life will slap into your face how single are you. Right? Life is a bitch. lol

This was our last stop and definitely my favorite part of the whole Osaka trip. I love the skyscrapers, skylines, view, sky. It makes me feel so tiny and realized the world so vast to confine ourselves in one city. It feels like the world is telling me to go and explore more ‘I will wait’. The view is really breathtaking and jaw-dropping. Japan architecture never fails to amaze me. I love the feeling of being at the top of world. If you take a look at it, you can see how endless Osaka is.

Oh Osaka, I love you now. Thank you 2016

Tip: You don’t need to study or speak Japanese cause everyone can speak english here. I’m surprised cause in Nagoya, nobody can’t (based on my experience lol)

xoxo