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The Hidden Majestic Falls Of Tagbaobo Samal

When a Davawenyo is asked about the best places in Samal, one can easily recommend Talicud Island, Malipano Islands, Kaputian, and Babak which are the most highly commercialized Barangays in Samal (known for their white sand beaches and marine biodiversity) but little did they know, there is a paradise hiding at the southern part of Samal. I’m talking about Brgy. Tagbaobo.

The animation of flourishing greeneries and the exceptional view of its surrounding landscape never fail to enthrall visitors.

With less than a 30-minute hike or a 10-minute ride from Katagbaoan Beach Farm, you will be able to enjoy this friendly Tagbaobo Falls.

I say friendly because you don’t need to go through a lot of obstacles just to get there. 

The trail going to Tagbaobo Falls.

The water is shallow which will allow you to easily saunter around without harming yourself. The water is also cold and the sprinkles coming from it is refreshing making it more perfect for a hot weather.

Macho turned?

My friends getting a back massage from nature... look how seductive they can get! LOL

The best relaxation? --- Group Back Massage From Nature
Group shot!

How To Get There?
You can directly go to Sasa Ferry Terminal and ride along on a Ferry which only costs 10 Php one way. At Samal Ferry Terminal, you can hire a trike and tell him to bring you to Katagbaoan Beach Farm In Brgy. Tagbaobo, Samal. 

Brgy. Tagbaobo is far from the terminal and the trike driver might ask you to pay around 150 to 200 Php one way. It would be a 30-45 minute bumpy ride but it's all worth it.

Where To Stay?
The nearest place for visitors to stay is in Katagbaoan Beach Farm. Guests will be relaxed in a big airy house made of wood but you have to book in advance so they can prepare.

Contact Tito Monching our.resort@yahoo.com +69287590406 for the rates.

Related Links:
Katagbaoan Beach Farm - My Haven In Tagbaobo Samal

4D3N Pagudpud-Laoag-Vigan-Baguio Itinerary And Expenses

Most of us are tied up to our daily responsibilities at work and travelling seems not viable, but when my 5 days leave was granted, I made the most out of it by visiting not only 1, not 2, and certainly not 3... but 4 cities in the Philippines - talking about Pagudpud, Laoag, Vigan and Baguio.

Here’s my 4 days 3 nights itinerary:

Day 1 (Pagudpud to Laoag)
My trip started by taking the last flight from Manila going to Laoag and when we arrived, we stayed at UKL hotel for the night. At 8am, Jenny and I made ourselves ready and waited for our car service.

Car service could be pricey (around 3,000 Php per group) but I had no choice. Visiting many places in 1 day requires comfort, time-management, and safety. Tricycle tour could be enjoyable but this option is not ideal to see the best of Ilocos in one day.

See my complete Laoag to Pagudpud 1 day itinerary here.

Here is also the Ilocos Norte Tourist Spots we have checked.

Our Day 1 ended at around 5pm as we headed towards Laoag terminal to take a bus going to Vigan. The fare is around 120 Php (air-conditioned Partas Bus) and the travel lasted 2 to 3 hours. When we arrived at Vigan, we took a trike and paid 25 pesos to bring us to our hotel. From there, we called it a night to prepare ourselves for our Day 2 – Vigan Tour.

Day 1 Expenses:
UKL hotel (500 Php/12 hours divided by 2) = 250 Php
Car service (3,000 Php divided by 3 persons) = 1,000 Php
Miscellaneous (entrance fee and meals) = 300 php
Bus to Vigan = 120 Php
Total of 1,670 Php!

Day 2 (Vigan)
The second day of our trip started with a hearty breakfast at Bistro Amarillo which is the resident restaurant of our hotel, Hotel Salcedo de Vigan.

There are a lot of cheap hotels in Vigan and if you are in a budget, you can try searching for other hotels in Vigan by using trivago.

Along Calle Crisologo, we made arrangements with a Calesa driver to tour us around the city and was settled in 150 Php per hour.

You can check the tourist spots in Vigan that we have visited on the link.

The tour lasted for 3 hours and we went back to our hotel at around 12 noon to prepare for our next destination. As we advanced to Baguio, we were able to enjoy the smooth and scenic travel for about 5 to 6 hours (bus fare costs 294 Php – Partas Bus air-con).

Upon arriving in Baguio at around 5pm, we asked around the terminal about how we can get to our prospected hotel – Highland Villa, as suggested by our friend who went there.

Surprisingly, the usher of the information desk insisted that the hotel doesn't exist. Instead, we were encouraged to stay at Hotel Henrico in Kisad. The pictures they showed us were pretty deceiving and only costs 1,200 Php. Left with no choice, we stayed in that hotel that I personally would not recommend (the room doesn't smell good and their water is rusty - tourist trap alert!).

Day 2 Expenses:
Vigan Hotel = 1,000 Php
Calesa Tour (150/hour which lasted 3 hours divided by 2 persons) = 225 Php
Bus from Vigan to Baguio = 294
Meal = 100 Php
Total of 1,619 Php!

Day 3 (Baguio)
So our 3rd day started with a free breakfast from the hotel and after that, I asked some help from the person in-charge of the hotel lobby. 

I showed him the places I wanted to visit and he helped me arrange my itinerary from where I should go first, the must-try’s, transportation to use, and many more.

From our hotel, we walked our way to Burnham Park and so on.

You can check our Baguio itinerary here.

Day 3 Expenses:
Hotel for 1 night = 600 Php
Horseback Riding = 450 Php
Miscellaneous (meals, taxi, and other purchases)= 300 Php
Total of 1,350 Php!

Day 4 (Baguio)

Our second day in Baguio was planned to make it just blithe. Jenny and I decided to go to Baguio’s public market to buy some pasalubongs.

While walking around the market, we asked some vendors on where we can buy this and that. I was carrying a little backpack with me and to my surprise, a woman chased me just to warn me too keep my bag safe as there are a lot of thieves around the market. I was grateful of her concern and without hesitation, I carried my backpack reversed on my stomach.

So I bought my pasalubongs there which comprises of strawberries, t-shirts, rugs, key chains, ref magnets, wines, strawberry jams, and so on. 

Day 4 Expenses:
Bus from Baguio to Manila = 715 Php
Overnight stay = 600 Php
Total of 1,315 Php!

After lunch, we are in the bus heading to Manila and that ends there.

Total Expenses:
Airfare Promo (Manila to Laoag) = 500 Php
Day 1 (Pagudpud to Laoag) = 1,670 Php
Day 2 (Vigan) = 1,619 Php
Day 3 (Baguio) = 1,350 Php
Day 4 (Baguio) = 1,315 Php
Total of 6,454 Pesos Only!

Well, who would've thought that 4 days and 3 nights is enough to see the best of these cities?

P.S: You could reduce the total expenses I have shown above if you leave out the pasalubongs, car service and expensive hotels. I'm sure there are a lot of affordable hotels out there. The point is, traveling is not that expensive as what others think if you just know how to budget.

As for me, I am just a newbie to budget travelling and it will be my goal to present lesser expenses on my next travel stories.

Related Articles:
Day 2 - Vigan Tour - 1 Day Itinerary
Day 3 - Baguio Itinerary
Ilocos Norte Tourist Spots
4D3N Pagudpud-Laoag-Vigan-Baguio Itinerary

Ilocos Norte Tourist Spots In 1 Day

Ilocos Norte is not just a region, it is a home --- home of clever country leaders, extraordinary landmarks, rich culture, natural resources, well-preserved colonial structures, and the list goes on.

Check my Ilocos 1 Day itinerary below which is arranged in order of visit.

St. William's Cathedral
This is the first stop of our Laoag trip and that was great as we were able to drop some thanksgiving and petition for a safe trip.

Few walks from this church and we arrived in the Sinking Bell Tower.

Sinking Bell Tower

Its title was coined from the belief that this tower built by the Augustinians in 1612 is slowly sinking.

The entrance of this tower is believed to accommodate the entrance of a man riding a horse without bowing but currently, one should bend down to go in.

Fort Ilocandia
I was taken aback upon entering the lobby as the chandelier immediately caught my inquisitive eyes - flabbergasted. They allow tourists to steer around the area and the landscape renders speechless on my end.

This is obviously a luxurious destination I look forward staying into as this is not your typical tall-structured hotel.

This is the one and only 5-star hotel – golf and country club in northern Ilocos with a 2-kilometer sandy beach. 

For more information about Fort Ilocandia, please visit their website.

Paoay Lake
This is known as the mystic river of the north because of its linkage to an urban legend telling that it was once a village sunk in the water due to its inhabitant’s wickedness.

Despite of the gruesome story behind this lake, it gave me a sense of calmness. The story might be the reason why the lake has no bystanders despite of its beauty. 

Paoay Church
St. Augustine Church in Paoay must be one of the most popular landmarks of Ilocos Norte. 

Why? because of its distinctive huge buttresses on the side and back of the structure, needless to say of its grotesqueness, extravagance, complexity, and flamboyance.

Fronting the church is the famous Herencia Cafe that serves scrumptious “Pinakbet” Pizza.

Museo de Bacarra
Also known as Museo Ilocos Norte (50 pesos entrance fee). Tourists often neglect visiting this museum however, I personally recommend visiting museums because there you will start to know the culture and people of the city.

In as much as the people of Ilocos Norte are clannish and traditional, they always come back to the ancestral house. Whether of bamboo, wood, or brick, the house is a treasure chest of heirlooms and memories.

Marcos Mansion
This is one of the main properties of one of the most influential leaders in the World, Former President Ferdinand Marcos.

There we found some memorabilia of the Marcos family including some paintings, gowns of the former first lady Imelda Marcos and many more.

Adjacent to the mansion is the mausoleum of the late president’s remains. Picture taking is not allowed inside.

Malacanang Of The North
Also known as Malacanang ti Amianan where you will witness the not-so-distant past substantiation of the late president Marcos’ power (30 pesos entrance fee).

Lavish interior and splendid furniture can be seen inside the abode. It is fronting the mystical Paoay Lake which made it more a copious residence to live in.

Burgos Lighthouse
Also known as the Burgos lighthouse built on a Hill overlooking the picturesque Cape Bojeador where early galleons during the Spanish Colonization used to sail by.

This is one of my favourite places during the whole trip as it gives me off a sense of inscrutability that’s cunning. 

The breezy part up there overlooking lush greeneries and scenic blue waters on the other side was stunning.

Patapat Viaduct
Patapat viaduct is an impressive, well-designed bridge located on the side of a mountain overlooking West Philippines Sea.

Along the viaduct we saw waterfalls pouring its way to the sea, and a few more walks we found stores selling local products.

Bangui Windmills
Last but not the least of my 1 day Ilocos Norte tour is the Bangui Windmills, probably one of the most photographed scenes in Ilocos because of its gigantic wind turbines.

As for me, they are much more like giant Gods and Goddesses facing the sea. It was breezy and everything is just magnificent.

Conclusively, one day is not enough to explore everything Ilocos has to offer. I regret not being able to visit the Kaibigan Falls, Kapurpurawan rock formation, Saud beach, and many more. However, visiting those places mentioned above was more than enough. What else could I ask for with just 1 day?

For my complete itinerary for this 4-day Pagudpud-Laoag-Vigan-Baguio trip, please check these related links:

Related Articles:
Day 1- Ilocos Norte Trip - 1 Day Itinerary
Day 2 - Vigan Tour - 1 Day Itinerary
Day 3 - Baguio Itinerary
4D3N Pagudpud-Laoag-Vigan-Baguio Itinerary

Cebu To Bohol Ferry Experience

My travel buddy Essa and I arrived in Cebu from Davao in the morning. From the airport, we immediately headed towards Weesam's ticketing office to buy a ticket from Cebu bound to Bohol.

Exploring The Nature Of Bohol

Bohol does not only offer beach and church wonders to people but nature as well. That alone impressed me a lot plus the hospitality of the the Bol-anons are exceptional.

Chocolate Hills
The images I always see on my "Sibika at Kultura" book is now right before my eyes and until now, I still can't believe that I was able to see these famous hills up close. Feels great! :-)

They really look like chocolate kisses but only wrapped in green.

Exploring The Beaches Of Bohol In 1 Day

One of my 5 days in Bohol was spent on the beaches of Bohol and considerably the most exciting part of this trip.

Dolphin Watching
Call time was 5:30 am at Alona beach to get a close encounter with the dolphins but unfortunately, we woke up late and didn't see these friendly creatures up close. Bummer!!!

However, we were still able to see them from afar.

And that didn't stop us from yelling out of excitement. Yeahhhhhh!!!

Balicasag Island
Balicasag Island is a favorite for those who came to explore the marine biodiversity.

Snorkeling Fee: 150Php (inclusive of snorkeling gears, fish feeding, boat and guide.)

Fish feeding: The exciting part was bringing bread under the water as fishes will come to you for a feast. That was truly enjoyable! :-)

Virgin Island
Virgin Island is my favorite among our island hopping destinations because of its serenity, pristine waters, powdery sand, and sandbars.

Failed jump shot!

You can see on our faces that we had so much fun :-)

Alona Beach, Panglao 

Our Island tour ended in Panglao which was more lively than the former islands we visited. So we stayed there and just relaxed.

"Always challenge yourself to do something you've never done before"

- I am not a fan of any food that's raw, but for the challenge I always impose to myself when I travel, I tried this local favorite in Virgin Island. ---- Fresh swaki a.k.a sea urchin roe. Surprisingly, I loved it!!!


Boat Tour: 400 Php each
Balicasag: 150Php each
Food: 200 Php
Total of 750 Pesos Only!

Bohol Island Tour Packages:

The beaches of Bohol are usually compared to Boracay because of its powdery sand and pristine beaches. The difference is, Panglao is more serene while Boracay is more lively.

Related Articles:
Cebu To Bohol Ferry Experience
Exploring The Nature Of Bohol
Exploring The Churches Of Bohol

Exploring The Churches Of Bohol

Some say... "Once you've seen one church, you've seen them all"

Well that's not the case in Bohol!

Our first day in Bohol, started with prayers... in the most aged and beautiful churches of the Philippines. Tita Victoria (my friend's cool mom) is religious as most of the Bol-anons are, and their well-preserved churches is the evidence of their zeal to Catholicism.

1. Baclayon Church
La Purisima  Concepcion de la Birhen Maria in Baclayon is considered as the oldest stone church in the Philippines.

Upon entering the church, the caretaker of the church caught our attention while holding pieces of plain silk fabrics. She began tying the fabrics around our shoulders and bottom explaining that our attire was not appropriate. The good thing is, she managed to do it without humiliating us.

2. Tagbilaran Church
Cathedral of San Jose in Tagbilaran to my observation is the most lively church among all as it is located in an area full of commercial buildings and establishments.

We attended a mass but stayed outside as our dress we're not appropriate.

*Note to self - always ask where you're heading as sometimes, what you wear matters.

3. Loon Church
Nuestra Senyora de la Luz Church in Loon, Bohol is located far from the busy streets of Tagbilaran. 

I was amused by its facade but was astonished when I saw the piece of artwork on its ceiling. Jesus' actions were well depicted on the murals which made me feel like being transported into the Byzantine era. Chos!

4. Cortes Church
Our visit to this church was brief but relatively astounding. I am pretty impressed that they were able to restore or maintain the condition of these old structures.

5. Calapi Church
This is considerably different from the churches we have visited in Bohol because of its modern facade. More like an Iglesia ni Cristo church.

I remember my friends gaped upon seeing this church as it looks like a castle.

6. Santa Monica Church
It was the fiesta of Santa Monica when we visited there. So we attended the mass and surprisingly, nobody lifted an eyebrow on us even though our outfit was not appropriate.

The homily shared the life of Santa Monica who wept every night for his son St. Augustine of Hippo and lived a prayerful life dedicated to the reformation of her son. Makes me think of my mom. Sweet!

7. Loay Church
The last but not the least -- and my most favorite church of all. This might not have a complicated structure compared to others but it has some effect on me that I don't understand.

Feels like Maruja eh? :-)

8. Dauis Church
This is a well-populated church and a go-destination for tourists known for their bottled blessed water in exchange of a 15PhP donation.

I usually scoff in odd beliefs but when my father had a stroke attack which impaired his cognitive and verbal skills momentarily, I suggested that he drink the water I bought from Dauis church plus prayers. 

And guess what? He's doing fine now! :)

- According to my friend, taking a flower from a church you visited for the first time will bring you luck. So, I took a little flower from a vase in Baclayon, Santa Monica, and Loay church... not for luck but as a remembrance! I let them dry on my bible, laminated after, and gave it to the special people of my life.

Conclusively, Bol-anons are generally religious folks and that’s not a surprise as you can see a lot of aged, beautiful churches around the city.

Update Sadly, just today October 15, 2013... some of these churches appeared moribund due to a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. My heart sank thinking that I won't be able to see it again or tour my future kids on those astonishing historic structures.

Related Articles:

Mati Park and Baywalk - Then And Now

It's time for some light blogging...

and there's nothing I could think of right now but the memories I had in Mati Baywalk. This might not be considered as a wondrous tourist spot but I think it is a great place for anyone.

The Waves In Amihan Sa Dahican

All of us have our own sweet escape. As for me, Amihan sa Dahican in Mati City is the place to be.

I've been there many times and still wanting to return. Why?
  • It is just a 3 to 4 hour ride from Davao City 
  • Ravenous beach waves 
  • Inexpensive traveller’s get away.

Mati City is just about 3 to 4 our ride depending on the mode of transportation you're using. According to my friend who lives there, Mati City is derived from the Mandayan word "Ma-ati" which refers to a local creek that easily dries up even after a heavy rain.

Fun At Sunset Beach Resort In Samal

Nothing beats an unplanned trip more than anything else in the world.

After a venti cup of frappes at 2 am, my BFF's Karen, Kim and I decided to go to Samal --- Yes, thanks to the 24-hour Samal Ferry Services.

Travel Time and Fare

At Sasa Ferry Terminal, we paid 10 pesos for the terminal fee and made ourselves comfortable at the deck of the Ferry and waited for around 15 minutes to arrive in Samal Terminal.

Sunset Beach Resort is a 10 minute tricycle ride from Samal terminal. At daytime, fare is just around 10 pesos per person but since it was 3am, we were asked to pay 20 pesos each.

Upon arrival at Sunset Beach Resort, I witnessed a lively crowd and a pool of tents lying around. Party songs played, booze all around and nocturnal beings having fun. It was also pretty evident that there was a Bikini contest early on.

I remember being told by a friend that Sunset Beach Park in Samal is a lively beach resort especially during weekends, and she was right. Even at 3am, the party vibe never stops!

So we bought some drinks and snacks (stores are open 24 hours) and positioned ourselves in the shady part of the resort away from the lively crowd. We dipped our feet on the water and it’s surprisingly warm. Cold breeze plus warm water --- just perfect!

We were wide awake till dawn, lying on the sand and just talked about American Series, Anime, powers, etc. It was a non sense conversation but truly worthwhile.

I was also amazed to witness the Sunrise! Sun rising on the right side and witnessing the Moon setting on the left part of the sky. Magical! ♥

Water Sports:

  • Jet ski rental – 3,500 pesos per hour or 2,500 pesos for half an hour
  • Banana boat rental – 300 pesos per person (minimum of 5 persons) for 15 minutes.
  • Jet ski rental contact number - 0942-399-8853
Entrance Fee Rates:
·         1 - 4 Years old = Free of charge
·         5-10 Years old = 10 pesos
·         11 years above = 25 pesos day tour and 35 pesos for overnight.

Soft drinks and liquor
·         1 case soft drinks – 50 pesos
·         1 Bottle of Soft Drinks – 10 pesos
·         1 case SMB or SML – 50 pesos
·         Long neck – 20 pesos per 500ml

Accommodation And Cottages:
·         Open Cottage = 250 pesos per day or 300 pesos per night
·         Small Closed Cottage = 800 pesos per night (with ceiling fan)
·         Duplex = 1,500Php per night (airconditioned)

Getting a cottage is optional and you can just bring along with you your tent or lying down on the sand til dawn would be a better idea.

Photos above are from their Facebook Fan Page.

Samal Ferry Services Now Operating 24 Hours!

Buti pa ang biglaang lakad natutuloy, ang planado hindi

Unexpected excursions are always memorable and enjoyable. This holds true for my weekend adventure with my friends where the fun started in a much unexpected time of the day, here’s why:

After the last full show of Iron Man 3, we relaxed for a while with a cup of coffee at around 12 am but since the coffee shop that we were in closes at 2am, we decided to go to Samal, WAIT!!! At 2 am in the morning???

Yes! Sasa Ferry terminal going to Samal now operates 24 hours!

Transfer Schedule goes like this:

Scuba Diving Experience At Talicud Island

I always thought that SCUBA diving is expensive and is not for people who can't swim like me, but... 

I joined my high school classmates with this adventure last May 1, 2013 and listed our names in advance at Carabao Dive Center.

We paid 850 PhP for the Intro Dive package (for beginners) on the day of diving at their office. The package includes all of the essentials of SCUBA diving (scuba tank, wet suit, fins, etc.), the guide's fee, boat, and 4 CD's of underwater snapshots.

Itinerary: 8am to 5pm = Coral Garden, Babusanta and Angels' Cove.
Expenses: 850 Php for the Intro Dive package, 100 pesos for lunch, 25 pesos for Buko Juice. Total of 975 pesos only!!!

Diving At Coral Garden

At 7:30 am we gathered at Carabao Dive Center’s office in Sta. Ana wharf and waited for the others who will join us on board. We sailed for at least 45 minutes to reach Coral Garden in Talicud Island, Samal... and my adventure started there...

Me while practicing!

My 30-minute diving experience started panicky for the fact that I don't know how to swim, difficulty of breathing, and the idea of any glitches on my scuba equipment. I was thinking that I'll just stop and go back to our boat --- but I didn't let it take over me. So I say, KAYA TO!!!! 

I thank my master diver guide for the patience and reminding me to stay calm. After a minute of practice and snorkeling, he slowly led me down to start the diving experience.   

Aquatic Sights!
Hi Nemo!
lovely sea creatures
Hey there lionfish! ROAR!!!
Fish eggs I assume
Picture2x daw


 Food is not inclusive of the 850 Php Intro Dive package so we brought packed lunch with us and dined at Babusanta.
Buko Juice
They are picked per order. Yes... you order one, and they'll climb up the coconut tree to pick them for you. Costs 25 PhP each.

Diving At Angels' Cove

After our lunch at Babusanta, we wen't to Angels' Cove to let the remaining hopeful divers witness the wonders of the sea. A second dive would require additional fee of 350 PhP.

Jenny at Angels' Cove

I asked the master diver of which is more beautiful between Coral Garden and Angel's cove and he just said that it's the same.

(From left to right) - Kristil, Me. Rhea, Jenny, Cindy, Maria Fe and Lampel

Hulog-Piso Gang of Sta.Ana Wharf

 You throw a coin on the water and they'll come rushing down to get it.

Do's And Don'ts Of Scuba Diving

S.C.U.B.A. (Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) – by what the name implies, we need to bring gears with us to uphold our trip under the sea. Luckily, the 850 PhP Intro Dive (for beginners) package includes all of the essentials for diving.

Prior to getting into action, we had an orientation with the master diver about the do’s and don’ts of SCUBA diving. He taught us what to do when water gets inside the:

·         mouth – swallow or just blow it even if the mouth-piece is on, or you can just remove the mouth-piece and spit the water making sure you don’t forget to put it back on your mouth.
·         goggles – press the top part of the goggles and blow your nose.

And how to fight the pressure – equalize by pinching the nose then blow your nose (feel the air coming out from your ears), or swallow, or move your jaw.

We were also instructed of the Hand Signals as well:

He ended the orientation with the words --- Breathe, Equalize and Enjoy!

My Whole Experience!

It was a very great experience for someone like me who considers activities like this too-risky and I am sending my deepest gratitude to my guide for keeping me safe down there!

 This might sound funny but during the dive, I felt like a mermaid lol --- like a child again :-)

I also enjoyed my close encounter with Nemo (clownfish), needless to say I was amazed to pass over a sea snake (rarely a threat unless hurt - accdg to diver) and the beautiful corals. It was a different world down there - only more MAGICAL!

I will definitely go back and try this again without a guide, hopefully ;-)

Contact details:
[landline] +63(82)300-1092, 302-6255
[mobile] +63(928)504-7642, +63(922)861-0874
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/carabao.divers

Door #1, F.Hermanos Bldg., Sta. Ana Wharf, Monteverde St., 8000 Davao City