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How Do You Balance Everything Just To Travel?

People say, "Live each day like it’s your last". And there's that other adage, "Don’t eat away your future; save for the rainy day!"

Two conflicting ideas, right?

The idea confuses me so much because I always wanted to have fun, travel and live life to the fullest but that will surely rip off my pockets. Moreover, I need to have a fat bank account to secure my future but that also mean I have to limit my spending for fun and travel.

So what should I do?

Well, I have come up with an idea on how to balance my responsibilities and travel. Here's what I did:

The Partition Of Salary
I am just an average person who needs to work my ass off to do the things I love such as traveling. I used to only have 1 job before that I needed to split my salary into two. 1/4 is for me, and 3/4 is for my mom (to help with the house bills).

What’s left for me is obviously not enough to put on my savings account and at the same time travel, thus, I searched for part time job opportunities and landed on Onlinejobs.ph

Right now, I have 1 job and 2 part time works. My first job's pay out proceeds to my family and the money I get from part-time jobs is divided into two. One goes to my savings and the other half goes to things I love (mostly for food and travel).

I usually leave out expensive clothes, high-end phones, and other gadgets as they are easily phased out. I am still a woman and it is common for us to love shopping, but the good thing about being a woman is having a lot of affordable yet fashionable clothing options all over the place. So, that's not really a problem. We can save money and still be fabulous! *wink*

40 hours a week plus additional working hours for part time jobs seems not viable for a vacation, right? This is true but I am thankful for Saturdays, Sundays and non-working holidays. Also, faking an illness once in a rare while also works (teehee! Shhh...). This is why most of my explorations shared on this blog are "gipit sa oras" because of being tied up to my responsibilities at work.

But that doesn't really matter. If there’s a will, there’s a way.

How about you? How do you balance things in life just to travel?

El Nido To Puerto Princesa 4 Days Itinerary

In our twenties, it is common for us to experience this so called quarter life crisis wherein we feel ambivalent about the things we love doing and responsibilities. I am no expert on this issue but it is useful to know that we can still have fun while we’re caught up by our adult responsibilities.

Let me share with you this itinerary from my recent 4-day break spent in Palawan. Stoked and definitely, recharged!

Day 1 - Going To El Nido

The first day was evidently spent for the flight, Underground river registration and the trip going to EL Nido.

Day 2 - The El Nido Experience

The second day was the star of the whole trip I would say. It's like we were transported to paradise... something that we don't usually experience.

More of my first two days in El Nido experience here.

Day 3 The Underground River Tour

The trip going to Sabang can be inconvenient when you miss the van/bus/jeep schedule as they are not available every hour.

You can check the trip schedule to Underground River here.

Day 4 Honda Bay

If you still have the energy to enjoy another round of swimming and soaking under the sun, Honda Bay is a great option.

***The expenses are non-inclusive of meals, airfare, minor transportation, and pasalubong.

That's it. 4 days might not be enough to completely enjoy Palawan but who am I to complain? I just had a great time and will definitely go back.

Related Articles:
Tay Miloy's Inn - Cheap Stay In EL Nido
Transport Schedule and Road Experience To EL Nido
El Nido Experience - Itinerary and Expenses

Ugong Rock Adventures

I Did It At Ugong Rock Adventures!

Yes, I did it!

This might be a shallow vantage point for others but I'll brag about it anyway... and HEY!... I just tried Zip Lining for the first time!!!

In point of fact, what made the whole activity more interesting for me is the addition of fun caving and spelunking experience before I got to try their zip line at the peak of the cave. 

The trudge was also edifying as I have learned that stalagmites/stalactites should not be touched by our bare hands because of its acidic nature, that when it comes in contact, it dies and lose its sparkle. In addition, you will be inspired by the caver's motto displayed at every stand post of the cave.

The Peak
Beautiful view isn't it? but at the corner of the zip line area was horrifying! I saw a cable wire positioned diagonally down to the ground - “I absolutely am going to pass on this!”, I exclaimed.

A man instantaneously enlightened me that the wire is intended for bags and other things --- quite a relief! But I realized that it was a dumb cry out. Who would really try a zip line from the peak of a mountain down to the ground? Silly thought! Lol

My First Zip Line Experience!
I love to explore new places and do have an adventurous spirit like most other people do, but I honestly am a newbie to daring stunts and I consider zip lining one of them. In fact, I passed on zip lining before at Loboc, Bohol because… hmm... I don’t know! Feeling coward? Maybe! but hey… I did it in Palawan!

Caving And Spelunking!

How We Get There?
Rap talked to a Lexus van moderator stationed near the Underground River registry office in Sabang port and asked about the trip schedule for Sabang to Puerto Princesa. Since we wanted to check Ugong Rock Adventures in  Brgy. Tagabinet, he suggested that we come again the next day around 7:30 am at the same station. The van bound for Puerto Princesa will drop us at Ugong Rock Adventures and he’ll have another Lexus van fetch us at Tagabinet around 12 noon.

The regular fare from Sabang to Puerto Princesa is 120 PhP but since we were dropped and fetched at Tagabinet first before heading to Puerto Princesa, he asked us to pay 140 PhP which is very reasonable.

Fun Facts:
According to our guide, the cave got its name from the humming sound produced after tapping the limestones, called “Ugong” in Filipino. Also, Brgy. Tagabinet's name means Taga=from, Binet=outland but its original name is Tagumbinet, with a meaning of Tago=hidden, Binet=outland.

That's it! I had a great time and that will absolutely not be my last time to enjoy zip lining.

Top-loading To Puerto Princessa Underground River

I must admit... the most boring part of a trip is to endure a number of hours sitting still in a bus, train, jeep, etc. to get into the destination... but for me, NOT THIS TIME!

Since we woke up late and left by the 9 am bus and van schedule going to Sabang for Puerto Princesa Subterranean Park sight-seeing, we had no choice but to wait til' 12 noon to take the next trip of bus or jeepney going to Sabang.

The 10:30 am van schedule to Sabang was not available for us that time because it’s fully booked... (make sure you book in advance). So, we had to choose between a bus or jeep... and the latter won!

The Top-Loading Experience
We seated inside the jeep initially but along the way, the driver picked passengers even though it's already full. Despite the fact that we're like a moving canned sardines, the driver let a group of old women with kids board inside. Sitting there while watching these old fellas squat on the floor made me feel uncomfortable so, I volunteered to top load with my bff to give way to these women.

Well, it is my first time to top load on a jeep and considerably one of the most exhilarating trips I have ever experienced.
During the stop-over and yes, we got wet from the rain! Rap and my bff Karen on the picture.
The road to Sabang is safe and generally smooth even though we encountered little episodes of rough roads, dangling tree branches, and slopes, --- but the view was breathtaking. Also, there are parts where it becomes like a “roller-coaster” ride which made the trip more enoyable.

The great thing about it is the chance to talk with co-top-loaders and get tips from them about what to try and where to go in Sabang.

It was a 2 hour and 30 minutes fun ride but made me groggy afterwards because of being exposed to two alternating weather during the whole trip --- heat and isolated rain showers. Even so, I can't wait to try this again.

San Jose Terminal Van – Jeep – Bus Schedule

Schedule of Van
(PPC to Sabang)
7:30 am
8:30 am
10:30 am
3:00 pm
5:00 pm

(Sabang to PPC)
7:30 am
1:00 pm
2:00 pm
4:00 pm
6:00 pm

Schedule of Jeepney/Bus
7:00 am
9:00 am
12:00 noon
2:00 pm

That's it! Got my skin fried under the heat of the sun but left me with a very fun memory.

Related Articles:
Tay Miloy's Inn - Cheap Stay In EL Nido
Transport Schedule and Road Experience To EL Nido
El Nido Experience - Itinerary and Expenses

Ugong Rock Adventures

Tay Miloy’s Inn: Budget-Friendly Accommodation In EL Nido Palawan

Top of the class resorts, luxurious accommodations, and exclusive tours. That is what EL Nido is always associated to; but little did they know, it is also a backpacker’s haven as there are a lot of affordable stays near center of EL Nido where the boats and restaurants are stationed.

Let me share to you my experience in Tay Miloy’s Inn.

Great Location!
The great thing about the Inn is its close proximity to the beach where the boats and restaurants are stationed. Just about 5 minutes walk, and you’re on the beach.

A+ for honesty!
I texted Tay Miloy to reserve me a family room on June 9, 2013 – that’s two days before my trip to EL Nido and right away, I got a confirmation. When I reached Puerto Princesa on that day, I noticed that my mobile network has no signal and I was just nonchalant about it.

When we reached EL Nido at around 7 PM, we were welcomed by Tay Miloy (Kuya Rodrigo) and asked if I received his text message. I said no because I have no signal. He mentioned that there were walk-in guests earlier who wanted my room because the Inn was full that time, but he didn’t give it because he was hoping I’ll arrive. Relieved!

Yes. You text them to secure a room reservation for you and they will adhere to that. They don’t care if you have not given a reservation fee in advance or you don’t show up (but please show up), they will never give away your room to walk-in guests even if you were not able to update them. Kudos!

You can check my separate article about transport schedules and road experience to El Nido here.

The Rooms

Rooms are decent in an affordable rate. The mattress and pillows are soft enough to give me a good sleep, well-ventilated, WiFi access, and it has its own rest room. The only problem I have there is the absence of toilet seat but not a big issue as we only stayed there for one night.


Family Room: 800 PhP (shared by 4 pax - fan/aircon)
Standard Room: 300 PhP (shared by 2 pax - fan room)

The best thing I like about staying in Tay Miloy’s Inn is that they do not put pressure on your check out time. When you passed the 2 pm check out time, you just need to pay extra 200 PhP given that your stay won't exceed more than 24 hours from the time of check-in.

They also arranged our Island Tour Hopping and reserved us bus seats going back to Puerto Princesa.

Contact Number: +63929-795-5756

Pawikan Restaurant: Good Food Near Palawan Underground River

When we say Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, the usual things that pop out in our minds are its mind-stimulating rock formations, sparkling stalactites, and emerging stalagmites. But did you know that there is also a good place near it for a scrumptious meal to complete your fun-filled day?

Upon walking around Sabang beach after out Underground River cruise, we reached the farthest side of it and found Daluyon Beach and Mountain Resort. The resort is peaceful and far from the bustling crowd of the area and so, we decided to have our dinner there.

The Ambience Of Pawikan Restaurant

We entered their resident restaurant named Pawikan Restaurant and observed that most of their patrons were mostly foreigners. The ambiance is cosy which is suited for fine dining; the waitress was also very accommodating.

I got alarmed when I saw turtle-shell shaped light covers. So, I asked the waitress concernedly if they had killed turtles for it, and she said no, those were just synthetically made to support The "Pawikan" (turtle) motiff of the restaurant. *Relieved!

Pawikan Restaurant Menu

When the menu was served, I asked the waitress about their specialty, and she recommended Kare-Kare. I ordered it at once since it is my all-time favourite Filipino dish and I just let my friends order the rest.

Their Kare-Kare is not like the "saucy" dish we usually get. The pork's hind leg was deep fried to give you a perfect crispy skin and meat tenderness. It is more like a crispy pata with peanut sauce.

The sufficient amount of not-too-sweet peanut butter sauce will absolutely satisfy your picky taste buds. 

Price is around 400 PhP.

Bagoong Rice with shreds of fried egg. Not too salty and goes well with the other dishes.

Price is around 120 PhP (good for 2 persons)

Crispy Pata fried to crispy perfection with blanched vegetables on the side. 

Price is around 250 PhP

Pinakbet from afar. The pinakbet's fusion of vegetables are packed with flavors and not the archetypal salty kind of dish. Also, the veggies were not overcooked. 

Price is around 200 PhP

Dark Chocolate Candy Bar - Dark chocolate filled with walnuts with crush almonds and berry syrup on the side.

I ordered this for my dessert because I was having a headache that time. I was told by a college friend before that if you have a headache and medicine is not available, chocolate will work for you. 

Price is around 120 PhP

Fried Ice Cream - Chocolate ice cream filled bread that is identical to the bread used in Chicken Fingers. 

Price is also around 120 PhP

I wasn't able to take note of the prices because I was busy on some other things that time, but I hope this post helped you in finding a good place to eat when in Palawan Underground River ;-)

There it is. There is more with Underground River In Palawan. Good food and a relaxing delight in Sabang beach would make everyone's stay worthwhile.

Location: Sabang Beach, 5300 Puerto Princesa City, Puerto Princesa, Philippines
Contact Number: (048) 723 0889

El Nido Palawan: An Inexpensive Way To Experience Paradise

"On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it." --- Jules Renard

El Nido or translated as “The Nest” is the nest of scattered paradise pieces here on earth. Hundreds of limestone karsts and isles in different shapes and sizes will never fail to captivate every mortal’s heart.

Okay... I think I’m being too mushy on the introduction and that is because, El Nido became one of my favourite places here in the Philippines instantly.

  • There's no ATM in El Nido so bring enough cash with you.
  • No signal for Sun Subscribers.

El Nido Expenses
Van to El Nido (regular fare is 700 PhP but haggled to 500 PhP): 500 PhP
Tay Miloy’s Inn 800 PhP (shared by 4 pax per night): 200 PhP
Island Combination Tour A and C w/ lunch: 1000 PhP
Environmental Fee: 100 PhP
Bus back to Puerto Princesa: 483 PhP
Total of 2,283 PhP (non-inclusive of meals, airfare and pasalubong)

El Nido Itinerary

Day 1
When we arrived at Puerto Princesa around 10 am. We headed to Puerto Princesa office to get a permit for our Underground River tour. It is strongly recommended to book days or a day before your planned UR tour date because of a number of tourists going there. 

After that, we had our lunch at Robinson's and started our trip to El Nido via Van at around 1:30 PM and reached EL Nido around 7 PM.

How to Get To El Nido?
If you started the trip in Puerto Princesa, you may have to endure a 5 to 6 hours of meander roads that would make you feel giddy.

You can check my separate article about transport schedules and road experience to El Nido here.

When we arrived in El Nido, we hired a trike going to our Inn and paid the driver 10 PhP. Then, we were welcomed by Tay Miloy (Kuya Rodrigo) himself.

Where To Stay?
Tay Miloy’s Inn is by far the cheapest but decent accommodation I have checked online. The great thing about the Inn is its close proximity to the beach where the boats and restaurants are stationed. Just about 5 minutes walk, and you’re on the beach.

Room Rates
Family Room: 800 PhP (shared by 4 pax - fan/aircon)
Standard Room: 300 PhP (shared by 2 pax - fan room)

They also arranged our Island Tour Hopping and reserved us bus seats going back to Puerto Princesa.
Contact Number: +63929-795-5756
E-mail address: rodrigo.caranog@gmail.com

More of my Tay Miloy Inn experience here.

Where To Eat?

There are a lot of sea side restaurants in EL Nido where you’ll see a lot of foreigners lounging around.

Sea Slug restaurant is the most recommended restaurant therein because of the delicious food they’re serving but it is always full, so you might consider making a reservation in advance. 

Squidoo restaurant is famous for their stuffed squid but it is not fronting the beach. Their stuffed squid costs 170 PhP and the place is usually full at dinner time. So again, you might want to make a reservation in advance.

Day 2
We woke up around 6 am strolling around the sea side and bought some bread and coffee for breakfast. We returned to the Inn and prepared ourselves for the Island Hopping Tour that will start in an hour.

Just can't contain myself. Feeling so excited to start the Island Hopping tour :-)

Here is a list of our destinations arranged in order of stopover:

Combination Tour A and C

Seven Commando Beach

Big Lagoon
Secret Beach
Shimizu Island (Lunch)
Small Lagoon
Hidden Beach
Matinloc Shrine
Helicopter Island

Seven Commando Beach
According to our tour guide, Seven Commando beach was named after the seven Filipino soldiers who died on that island during World War II.

There was an undergoing construction of a resort at Seven Commando Beach during the time of visit. They also have a bar where you can just cool down and relax, a beach volleyball area, loungers, and a free-to-use frisbee disc.
Big Lagoon according from our guide is the setting where the end part of the movie Bourne Legacy was filmed. 
Secret Beach can be reached through swimming under limestone rocks. It would be a fun experience but one should take extra precaution during a bad weather because the strong waves might smash you on the rocks.

My Two Favorite Islands
Small Lagoon is second to my most favorite island in this tour. The limestone karsts that surrounds me while back floating is really pleasing to the eyes plus the drizzling effect made it more dramatic. 

Hidden Beach is my most favorite island in the tour. The huge limestone karsts and isles, its shallow water and the isolated rain shower during that time was very enchanting.

In fact, I laid still on the water, half-opened my eyes to fight the rain from clouding my eyes, and stared at the limestone formations surrounding the whole landscape. Really feels like PARADISE~

A Quick Love Story Telling

Matinloc Shrine was built because of a French man's love to a Filipina. I was told by our tour guide that the island was very beautiful back then but they got separated and left this beautiful island unattended.

You'll see the extravagance of love that once was there from the mansion to the port to the shrine. In fact, the limestone isles combined is a heart shape in aerial view, simply made for love. But also notice the aftermath of a broken love - just, ruins.

Helicopter Island got its name from its form. Just add the propeller and the look would be complete. Also, its waves in the afternoon are fun to play with.

The tour ended at around 5 pm and we went back to our Inn to wash ourselves. We had our dinner for the last time in El Nido and took the 10 pm last trip going back to Puerto Princesa for our next destination.

And that ends our 2-day El Nido Trip.

Special thanks to Joann of Chasing Places for helping me plan my Palawan Adventure and to my BFF's photography prowess.

Related Articles:
Tay Miloy's Inn - Cheap Stay In EL Nido
Transport Schedule and Road Experience To EL Nido

Ugong Rock Adventures
El Nido To Puerto Princesa Itinerary And Expenses

EL Nido Palawan: Transport Schedule and Road Experience To Paradise

The way to paradise is ascending; we must be content to travel uphill, though it is hard and tiresome, and contrary to the natural bias of our flesh.

This holds true to my road experience going to El Nido from Puerto Princesa by Van for 5 to 6 hours. My friend Kim and I seated at the backmost part of the Van which made us dizzy because of so many blind curves, slopes, and zigzag roads.

My two other friends who were seated at the 3rd row from the driver didn’t escape the giddy feeling. More than half part of the road going to El Nido is cemented; the rest of the road nearing El Nido is bumpy.

But who am I to complain? The regular Van fare of 700 Php going to El Nido was haggled down to 500 PhP (Nakatipid!).

Van vs. Bus
I am not a “biyahilo” type of person, but the road to El Nido by Van really put my physical being to the test as it got me dizzy and nauseous, unless you position yourself at the passenger seat or right behind the driver’s seat, there might be a slight difference. 

After enjoying El Nido, we opted to take the Bus back to Puerto Princesa and the ride was smooth and comfortable. You might also consider bringing a little pillow and jacket for comfort.

Transportation Schedule (Puerto Princesa - El Nido)

RoRo buses depart at San Jose Terminal in Puerto Princesa for El Nido every 2 hours during the day until 6pm and then start again at 4am. Evening trips from El Nido back to Puerto Princesa is in 6 pm and 10 pm.

Bus seat reservation may apply so talk to your inn/hotel personnel and ask them to reserve you a seat (no charges).
Fare: 483 (one way)
Travel time: 6 to 7 hours

Vans from Puerto Princesa going to El Nido are rampant during the day but the last trip from El Nido back to Puerto Princesa is 7pm. You could easily make a deal with Van drivers outside the airport or contact these Van companies:

Fort Wally: 0917-2762875
Eulen Joy: 0926-6998700
Lexus: 0917-5859612
Fare: 700 PhP
Travel Time: 5 to 6 hours

The road to El Nido might not be the most comfortable trip you’ll ever experience but reaching El Nido and seeing its limestone karsts and isles will surely captivate your heart.

See my second day in EL Nido experience here.

Related Articles:


Take A Sick Day For The Love Of Travel

Think back to those childhood days when faking illness was considered an art form used for one very important purpose: to guarantee a day of relaxation, being pampered, and recharged. Ahh... the luxury of a (not so) sick day.

Way back when my hair was fiery red
Most of my explorations shared on this blog are "gipit sa oras" because of being tied up to my responsibilities at work and so, I booked most of my trips during weekends or on non-working holidays. 

However, there are trips that require more than 2 days of the weekend to truly enjoy the place hence, there are times that I had to lie to my boss about being sick just to travel (hope he doesn't read this and sana walang magsusumbong! lol).I just worked over time thereafter to make it up to him.

Now all it takes is one quick phone call or e-mail and the day is free for your taking. So why not take advantage of this wonderful way to rejuvenate, relax, and take a break from the usual cycle of life? This mini-vacation will no doubt revive you and boost your spirits, brainpower, and energy for the days to come (Okay, I'm being a B.I friend here).

A little “white lie” wouldn't be so wrong if you’re doing this for yourself to recharge and when filing for a vacation leave is unlikely. 

Play Hooky!
Having fun at Malagos Garden Resort's playground
·         Act like a Kindergartener - Regression according to psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, is a defense mechanism to some unaccepted impulses. This mechanism helps the individual heal and recuperate. So, wake up early to catch the bus or plane; eat cookies for breakfast; run around outside; be silly; enjoy the beach; laugh a lot; make a mess; BE COMPLETELY CAREFREE!

·         Act like a Teenager – Paint your nails bright red (not for boys); phone your “barkada” and pretend you’re escaping school for an unplanned trip - “biglaang lakad na natutuloy”; ride a roller coaster; BREAK ALL THE RULES!

·         Act like a Responsible Adult – Balance your budget; pack the clothes in your bag neatly; lie on a hammock by the beach and catch up on some reading; buy a pasalubong for your loved ones; TREAT YOURSELF!

Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us. 

We need hours of aimless wandering or spates of time lying on the sand, observing the mysterious world of ants and the canopy of treetops... a day away acts as a spring tonic. It can dispel rancor, transform indecision, and renew the spirit.

Thinking of a new Sick Day excuse for my Travel Schedule next week... God bless me :-)