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Friday, April 27, 2012

A relaxing Holy Week treat in Baguio City April 5-6 2012

Baguio City is the summer capital of the Philippines due to its high elevation, about 5000 feet above sea level, covered in thick Pine trees, surrounded by stunningly beautiful mountains and people so warm and friendly to everyone who likes to pay a visit and experience what the city has to offer, no wonder why every summer, Baguio is one of the best destinations in the Philippines for both local and international tourists. For over 4 years since the birth of our group “B4life”, we’ve been travelling this place back and forth and it has been included in our plans to visit and uncover the wonders of this “City in the skies”

For the third time, on April 5-6 2012, we were able to take our steps to one of our favorite destinations and this time with our friend Marvin. Going to Baguio City is never a hassle except when peak seasons comes e.g Holy Week, Christmas and specially the Panagbenga Festival which are yearly held in the month of February, but since we decided to have our short vacation on the said date, as expected, there were huge volume of passengers in every terminals going out of town. But travel will never be complete without this. We left Quezon City at 2:35 AM, Holy Thursday, with our bags and food enough for four days. It was a six hour bus travel from Cubao to Baguio city. As the sun rises, we saw the beauty of each town we have passed as we head straight to our destination. Just a quick reminder, before you get there, you need to pass four neighboring provinces which are the regions of Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac and Pangasinan. 

Victory Liner Fare (Air conditioned) Php. 450 one way

We arrived in Baguio City at 9 AM, nothing has really changed at all, we were welcomed by the cool breeze coming from the Pine trees and the mountains situated beside the City. Bus, Taxi and Jeepney are the modes of transportation. For back packer tourists, taxi should be your primary option so as to avoid inconvenience on your vacation, with a flag down rate of PHP. 45.00 equivalent to $1.00, you can go to any places in Baguio City hassle-free including its renowned tourist spots. 

Hotels are not a big problem, there are lots of world-class Hotels and Inns to choose from, but I recommend City Lights hotel and La Brea Inn, these two hotels have all the facilities you need for your short stay in the City. For budget conscious people but looking for bigger rooms fit for 8 to 10 people, Venus Park hotel is an option. You may also try transient houses for larger groups fit for up to 15 people and above. Finding a place where to eat out will never be a problem. Baguio City has lots of affordable restaurants to serve the visitors and tourists willing to try the northern food trip.  Here are a few.

1. Atenara House – Located at Claro M. Recto Road, renders a world class All-American Eat All You Can Roast Beef, Salad Bar & Pasta Buffet for PHP. 399/person.

2. Bliss Café -  Leonard Wood Road, offers all pure vegetarian dishes.

3. Café by the ruins -  Otek Street, Baguio City, offers ethnic cuisine such as native chicken and mountain rice served with palatable mountain strawberry desserts.

4. Little Johns – Camp John Hay, Baguio City,  known for their chocolate fondue, strawberries, banana and marshmallows.

5. O Mai Khan – Otek Street, offers authentic Mongolian barbeque.

6. Palizattta – A small bistro with a panoramic view of Session road. Their Tandoori Chicken is always visited by its patrons. Average check is Php. 270

But wait, do you know what are the tourist spots to visit once you and your friends get to Baguio?  I have prepared a short list about the must see places in and around the city that will help you organize your itinerary better. You need to plan ahead about the places to visit to save time and fuel because some of the places are isolated, the travel time may take a while but once you get there, you will find the places quite rewarding and worth time spending.

1. Botanical Garden – Just a few meters from the Mansion lies a place that depicts the culture and early living of the Igorot tribe plus enjoy the different kinds of flowers that only thrives in higher elevation like Baguio City.

2. The Mansion - Situated in the summer capital of the Philippines, was built in 1908 to serve as the official residence of United States Governor Generals and now one of the most promising tourist spot in Baguio City. Millions of people every year come to visit and take a picture of the beautiful structure and landscapes in the Mansion.

3. Wright Park Riding Circle – Just a few walks from Botanical Garden offers a wide variety of fun and amusement from horseback riding to picture taking at the Igorot replicas and shopping along the booths for souvenirs, this place is a perfect getaway to unwind and enjoy the cool summer breeze.

4. Mines View – Is a popular tourist attraction located within the limits of Baguio City showcases a 360 degree view of Benguet mountain range. Some say that Mt. Pulag (the highest mountain in Luzon is visible from the viewing deck of Mines View.

(Beware, there are fake or immitation Igorots all over the town, one of the best example is the guy on the right side wearing eyeglasses (Colorum Igorot Tribesmen)

If found, report to the policemen immediately :))

5. Camp John Hay – Used to be a resting ground and recreational facility for employees of the military and the defense department of the United States in the Philippines in 1900’s offers a relaxing hide out for tourists who want to enjoy both nature and history.

Inside the Bell House

2008 photo

6. Burnham Park - Located at the heart of the highly urbanized City of Baguio, offers a fun treat for everyone, its two main attractions are boating and bicycle riding for Php.100

7. Bell Church Baguio City

8. Strawberry farm

delicious strawberry ice cream

9. Tam-Auan Village – Here in this small place beside the mountain lies the legendary houses of Ibaloi and Igorot tribesmen. Entrance fee is Php. 50.00/person and Php. 25.00 for students.

Baguio City is certainly one of the most sought-after places we always wanna visit, not because we want to escape from the noises and pollution of old Manila but to enjoy the nature and its vast culture. No wonder why millions of tourists including our group would come yearly to try a different northern escapade.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

How to have successful booking during Cebu Pacific promo fare?

For backpackers like us we made sure that in our every travel we consider our pocket. As we always say, “Traveling need not be expensive as long as there is teamwork, and right budgeting.” We always consider cheapest deals on accommodation, food and DIY tour so our pockets will still have some air to breath. One biggest factor to mull over on your trip is your airfare. When you spend less money on your airline tickets, you have more money that you can put towards your vacation. Depending on the amount of money that you are able to save, you can enjoy a nice meal, add an extra activity to your to do list, upgrade your overnight accommodations, and much more. Proud to say that all our tour outside Luzon was made possible by airline’s promo fares like what Cebu Pacific always share to its patrons. Occasionally, Cebu Pacific offers promo fare that every Juan can hardly resist. It slashes its domestic and international airfares into 50% off up to 1peso and Zero fare and we are so lucky to avail most of their Piso fare. Some say that this is just a marketing strategy and faux promo because once a promo has just launched, many will say that all tickets were “Sold Out” already. But for so many times that I successfully booked (P1, P25, P88), I guarantee that these promos are all true. Just carry with you lots of patience and dedication. 

So what are the things to consider when booking this kind of promo fares? Here are my personal tips:

Subscribe to Cebu Pacific newsletter
It’s an advantage if your job comes with a personal computer and online presence for 10 to 18 hours. Just be sure to subscribe with Cebu Pacific’s newsletter that will automatically update your email beforehand once a promo fare is announced. More effectively, be connected with CP’s Facebook or Twitter page that will give you timely updates about the promo in your News Feed. 

Sign up with Cebu Pacific’s CEB Club Member
If you are registered with CEB Club Member (mostly frequent flyer), aside from it will keep you posted with updates, it will save your time from filling the forms for you and your friends/family’s personal information while on the booking process. It saves time, and cuts the inconvenience!

Be updated
Always be updated not only to Cebu Pacific’s promo but also with other local airlines like Air Philippines, Zest Air and Philippine Airlines so you still have an option in case that you missed Cebu Pacific’s promo. Usually, Cebu Pacific posts their Seat Sale promo before noon time and if there is special holiday like Christmas (P25), Easter Sunday (P0) etc. be sure to check their website during midnight to hunt for great price cuts or discounts on their airfare. 

Prepare details of your trip ahead of time
Like what I usually do with our group, we discuss ahead of time what and when will be our next trip so the members will have enough time to save their budget. Then I gather the important details about the date of our trip (that usually falls on a weekdays of summer or -ber months), the participants – their important information like birthdates and passport numbers for international flight, and the destination (must have at least 2 options in case your original choice is not available in the seat sale).

Be alert, early and accurate

At times, Cebu Pacific announces their Seat Sale ahead of time. Like for instance 12 midnight of a particular date they will posts their Seat Sale, so you must be alert and sure to be online at least 30 minutes before 12 midnight because connection usually slows down once the promo starts due to cluster of netizens who also hunt for the seat sale. Remember: Early bird catches the early worm. Moreover, booking a seat sale ticket is all about alertness without compromising accuracy. While it’s recommended that you fill up the forms with important details that fast, it is also necessary that you pay attention to what you’re doing in every step. The last thing you should put in mind during a seat sale promo is buying an airline ticket booked on a wrong date, the wrong destination or for the misspelled names. 

Mode of Payment
Keep your Credit Card (VISA & Mastercard) ready. For some, it is the most convenient way of availing tickets online without the hassle of dropping by to ticketing outlets. Others can also use their ATM cards however banks that are affiliated with Bancnet are the ones who can use this option. But how about flyers without these cards? Worry no more because you can also book online and pay over-the-counter at Banco de Oro (Just fill up BDO’s payment slip, the orange paper), MetroBank, Robinsons Savings Banks and LBC Bayad Center.

Bucket of Patience
Booking Cebu Pacific’s Seat Sale is not that easy because competition is very tight and website always gets a down time due to volume of seat reservations, so you must grab the promo fare that you want immediately after you see it. Promo Seat Sales are limited and available slots can last out with just a blink of an eye. Bear in mind that available slots fall on a weekdays so choose date that falls from Monday to Friday. But if you are lucky enough you can hunt for an available promo on a Saturday or Sunday. Most online bookers catch a seat sale to Boracay, but no worries! If Caticlan displays “Sold Out” you might wanna consider going to other world-class but budget-friendly destinations like Kalibo, Cebu, CDO, Palawan, Busuanga, Bohol, and many more that are just waiting to be discovered. Philippines is made of 7,107 islands and always ready to flaunt its beauty to the world. Moreover, see to it that you can maximize or adjust the time frame of your preferred all-out getaway in case that your target date is not available and look for another dates until you snap an available slot. During the last process which is the payment option, errors usually pop out but instead of aggravating, patiently start the process all over again. It always happens to me but I don’t mind the frustration rather bring out the big HOPE that I can catch another slot. 

If you want traveling as part of your life and if you’re also a believer like us that Traveling need not be expensive, you will need effort to hunt for great deals that will fit your budget. Perhaps, traveling is our stress reliever that can widen our knowledge & thoughts, meeting different locals, discover hidden treasures, gain memorable experiences that we can share to the world and it let us enjoy our lives without sacrificing our pockets. Thanks to Cebu Pacific, truly they make Every Juan flies!

For latest promo, online booking and changes on your flight please check CP's website:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Touring Pagudpud Ilocos Norte

Last April 2010, our group established a tour to the Northernmost part of the Philippines to discover its famous pristine beaches. We then stayed at Hannah's beach resort for 4 days and 3 nights. Our stay in Hannah’s Beach resort includes the tour to different point of interest in the town which cost P2500 using service van of the hotel (updated 2012 price for the tour is 3000-3500). As per my research, you can also tour Pagudpud via trike divided into two parts, the South and North bound tour. The tour will cost you 600 pesos per tricycle per bound, so if you want to explore both bound be prepared to pay 1200pesos per tricycle, quite cheaper than what some hotel offers. South bound tour includes the famous Bangui windmills, Kapurpurawan rock and Cape Bojeador lighthouse while north bound tour includes Kabigan falls, Patapat viaduct, Paraiso ni Anton, Timangtang rock, and Bantay Abot Cave. 

First on our line-up is the tour at Timangtang rock and Bantay Abot Cave since it’s already along our way. Locals say that Timangtang and Bantay Abot are called “The Lover’s Rock”. The story behind these two rocks goes like this, Timangtang rock is like the prodigal part of the Bantay Abot Cave. He once left the cave for some adventure but get stuck few kilometers away from the cave. This sad rock is now looking at the cave, longing to fill that hole (Bantay Abot Cave) he created when he left, longing to come back but he can’t, even if he is so near. Quite interesting mythical story, isn’t it?! 

Bantay Abot Cave

Shipwreck along patapat viaduct

Off to our next destination is the Kabigan falls located in Barangay Balaoi. The van dropped us to the registration area and paid 20 pesos for the entrance and 100 for the guide fee. Before you reach the falls, you need to trek almost 1 and half kilometer flat surface for 30 to 40 minutes. While walking, you will enjoy the picturesque scenery including the Farmville-like rice field, luxuriant trees, and clear cold water of the stony river. 


After some walking, chit-chatting, crossing rivers, climbing friendly hill, and helping hands, at last we have reached the 100 feet tall falls with its roaring sound and fresh water falls. Make sure to bring extra clothes if you want to swim on the basin of the falls for there are changing rooms in the area. We stayed at the falls for an hour enjoying the water, swimming at the basin, and cam whoring then need to go back to the drop off point for our next destination. 

Because we only have limited time we drop by and spare only few minutes to Paraiso ni Anton and patapat viaduct. Patapat viaduct is a long stretch of concrete elevated road constructed along winding and rocky headlands of the northernmost roadway section. Amazing engineering in Ilocos Norte.

Our next destination was the famous Bangui windmills. Just a few meters behind the windmills is our drop off point near the souvenir stalls, then we excitedly head to the beach and greeted by gusts of hot and strong wind. Even the beach is rumbling with waves due to the overflowing wind fitted to create electricity, we  enjoyed staring on these turbines. These 20 sets of huge turbines facing the South China Sea provide 40% of the power requirements of Ilocos Norte. Been there was so overwhelming, we are so awed by the Bangui windmills which are neatly lined up, feels like you're in other country but it's here in our homeland. Our group really had a great time seeing these magnificent humongous turbines especially when the sun kissed the seabed with all the multicolored reflection in the sky, it’s so priceless.

 Before darkness falls, we then finished our tour to Cape Bojeador lighthouse which is 120 years old already patrolling on top of the Vigia de Nagparitan Hill in Burgos Ilocos Norte. Keep eyeing from the enemies since March 30, 1892 of civilization. The whole structure is made of bricks, complemented by decorative grill works and woodcarvings. It’s a weird and creepy feeling while walking on the aisle and climbing upstairs but once at the top the view was breathtaking. 

Touring Ilocos Norte was so magnificent, the province boasts a lot from historical places, discovering culture, nooks for adventures, nature tripping, fine beaches and friendly locals which is excellent for families and groups on the lookout for hideout away from the hustle and bustle of city streets. All in our tour was so memorable, enjoyed and worthy. We can't wait to visit the province soon!

>>>>>>>> Admin Aey <<<<<<<<

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