The Amphitheater at Batad

Still feeling a bit tired from the nine-hour bus trip from Manila plus another hour by jeepney from Banaue town proper we trekked the remaining 3 kilometers to our destination on foot. It was already late in the morning when we arrived at the village entrance, accompanied by Manong Jun, our wiry local guide. A few meters past the entrance, a sight until now hidden from our view emerged: an amphitheater of rice terraces almost golden yellow in color from ripening rice stalks.

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The Twins of Subic Beach

Matnog, Sorsogon is a sleepy little port town that serves as a jump-off point for ferries going to Northern Samar and other destinations in the Eastern Visayas. Arriving at the unassuming town late one afternoon we realized just how remote and underdeveloped the place is. There were very few tourist accommodations and no fancy cafes or restaurants, just a few dining places in the public market and at individual homes. All of which suited us fine because it offers a clue about how possibly pristine the attractions around this town are.

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A Quiet Afternoon at Tikling Island

After a full morning of swimming with the colorful fishes at the Juag Lagoon marine sanctuary and enjoying the scenic view of Calintaan Island’s twin Subic Beaches, we were getting hungry and looking forward to lunch back in town. There was one remaining destination on this (half) day of island-hopping, however. After no more than 30 minutes of leaving Subic Beach, our final destination came into view, its verdant palms and lush shrubs gently swaying in the wind, wonderfully framed by white, talcum powder-like sand and remarkably clear cyan waters.

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Mayon Volcano: A Dangerous Beauty

Disembarking from our plane at Legaspi airport we immediately came face to face with the volcano but almost half of the famous landmark was hidden from view by a band of clouds. Even as we sped away from Legaspi City towards the port town of Matnog in Sorsogon province, we could only make out the lower half of Mayon Volcano. It seemed the mountain was reluctant to display its beauty – a cone so remarkably perfect until a 1990’s eruption sheared off a small portion of the volcano’s top.

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Majayjay: A Backcountry Retreat

This small town located at the foot of Mt. Banahaw is one of our favorite spots whenever we wanted to get away from the metropolitan jungle that is Metro Manila. Located about 120 kilometers south of the metropolis, Majayjay in Laguna province offers waterfalls, cold springs and soothing views of farm fields and rain forests back dropped by the towering presence of the Mt. Banahaw volcano complex.

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Puting Buhangin Beach and Kwebang Lampas: Summer’s Last Hurrah in Pagbilao, Quezon

Puting Buhangin was the final stop in our 3-island return visit to Padre Burgos and Pagbilao, Quezon. When we first came here almost 5 years ago, this beach along with a cave called “Kwebang Lampas,” was just beginning to get some exposure in travel blogs. It was the typhoon season and we just managed to sneak in at a time when the weather was good and the seas relatively calm. This time around we were able to catch the tail end of summer and make a safe boat trip to Puting Buhangin.

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Return to Borawan Island and Dampalitan Beach

We’ve been here before when these two destinations and Pagbilao’s Puting  Buhangin Beach were largely outside the tour radars of most local travelers. Five years ago. We had not considered coming back until recently when we visited Nina’s aunt and uncle in Tiaong, Quezon. Since Padre Burgos town – the jump-off point for a trip to Borawan Island and Dampalitan Beach – was just two hours away we decided it was time for a return visit. Continue reading Return to Borawan Island and Dampalitan Beach


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