A Beautiful Busuanga

Vacationing at this city was really being away from the busy Manila life and it was a rare and life-changing moment for me. Imagine how I was able to reset my 10-15-year-old body clock after the trip because I had no choice but to wake up early (7am!!) for the 3-day tours. I was really worried spending time alone while others are enjoying the sea! Also, imagine how I could sleep really early (8am!!!) because I got so tired from the tours and also, the night life was not so bright.

I kind of liked it anyways because I really loved Busuanga and Coron Island. All these wouldn’t be possible without my my friend Oman, who’s a real traveller (and i realized how amateur I am haha). He’s just so prepared for everything – waterproof cases, mini toiletries, researches of the best food and places. Our total trip didn’t cost above P8000 (inclusive of tours estimated at 2000+, accommodation of around 500-800 per day, etc) due to the Cebu pacific promo  and his expertise at budgeted travelling which i really liked! Below is a visual diary of my trip to this city!

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View of Coron

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Wet Market near the dock. This is their primary market and lots to be found here!

We arrived at a super-friendly budget backpacker hotel (which dominates this part of Coron) at around 2pm and we immediately left to explore the town, Coron which is located at Busuanga Island. We asked what we can visit given our time and the family suggested the Mt. Tapyas and The Maquinit Hot Springs, both accessible through a tricycle.

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Mt. Tapyas is a destination for everyone in the town where you can see a beautiful panoramic view of Coron Islands. We didn’t take a rest after the plane trip and we climbed 700 steps to get to this place but it’s definitely worth it. I felt so accomplished because this is prolly the first mountain I climbed (but I guess this tourist-friendly climb doesn’t count because one doesn’t have to hike hehe)

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We went back to town after and explored restaurants . Below are all food photos of everything we ate at our 3-day trip at Busuanga. The most unique I’ve tried are the fishes. What I’ve learned from one restaurant: Balinsasayaw, which is basically a spanish term used to describe Palawan (a bird’s nest) and a local delicacy, the bird’s nest soup – though I didn’t tried this hehe.

We also went to La Sirenetta which is probably the most busy and active bar & resto in the town where you can find foreigners and travellers alike. I like their pinacolada’s!

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Night life in Coron is pretty much dull because the tours are very early and we all go to Coron for that right? hehe On our first day, we also went to Maquinit Hot Springs, which is a 30-minute haggard tricycle trip (the roads going there are really rough). But again, all worth it: the saltwater hot spring + surrounding beach and mangrove forest + warm water said to be heated by a volcano + the starry sky. It’s as if they’re all meeting all the same time at night.

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I had little time exploring the town and I will definitely be back for more adventures!

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Adventures at Coron Island, Palawan

Coron Island is my favorite island so far and while I cannot compare it to El Nido because i have only gone to one private island, my ultimate traveller friend says that he finds the latter more beautiful even under the sea, but it’s so easy to fall-in-love with former’s pristine beaches, seven mountain lakes, it’s quiet and simple environment, and of course, its history.

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On our second day at Bunsuanga, i woke up at 7am to prepare for the tours and we chose Tour A, which includes a trip to 3 greatest beaches that are accessible after  2-3 hours of boat trip . And my god, the beaches are really white and the waters???  crystal clear!!!!

We arrived at Malcapuya Island at noon which for me is the most beautiful island I have ever seen. They say it’s very much like Boracay but I don’t really think so. It is known as a an ultimate virgin beach with a long stretch and rich marine life ( we even saw whale sharks!!), it’s blue-colored candy in my eyes the whole time. Spell PARADISE.

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There’s nothing much to do (well snorkeling but the waters are quite shallow) but that’s not possible for my camera’s haha! I had to capture everything and store it in my digital devices because it’s just pretty and dreamy. Our tourist guide said that it was just recently acquired by a resort company and they’re planning to place a 5-star resort which makes me lucky. I don’t wanna be charged 6-digits for a visit there (but well, maybe?? let’s see! haha)

After having lunch, we went to a nearby privately-owned island which is the Banana island, called as such due to its shape. This is where the snorkeling happened which I haven’t done for a long time so I had to refresh my skills – thanks to our tour guide. The beach isn’t as nice but my friend who loves to go under water (really deep!!) said that it was nice (relatively Ok, compared to El Nido).

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Then we went to Bulog Dos Island for a short time only because we had to go back to Coron island before the sun sets. It’s adjacent the Two Seasons resort but the other side is still free for all. I like the sand bar (perfect for pictures because you know, you can face the sun and take a nice photo haha!). It is said that there’s a pretty marine life there but we didn’t get the chance to really explore due to time.

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Tour mates!

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Lunch

We had to call it a day and going back, I loved how i got to know people and travellers in this tour as well through the games and activities we had in the boat. 2 hours was long but it didn’t feel like it.

The second day was supposed to be really for my friend who graduated Biology and just loves marine life, and have already travelled a lot of local destinations in the Philippines. Tour C consists of the top tourist destinations in Coron, including historical ones, and the kind where skills in swimming is really required (ughh).

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The first destination is just a few hours away, but we struggled inside the boat (we all got wet due to the strong winds and waves and I just kept praying the whole time). But when we arrived at the Twin Laggoon, it was all worth it. I have heard of this from friends and it’s truly magical because the temperatures and visions vary due to the meeting of cold fresh water and hot salt water.

Then we stopped by the infamous Kayungan Lake where we found lots of tourists experiencing the emerald water and the vision of beautiful limestone formations. But also, where I nearly drowned!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I didn’t know it was so deep ( the look of the water can be decieving)  so i left my life vest and I really struggled going back (hello weak lungs and 20 ft.!!!). I had to rest and catch my breath while waiting for my friend who swam into the cave chamber and when I saw his pictures underwater, pretty lights and rock formations can be seen.

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There’s also a nice view at the top of the lake..

We took lunch and shortly went to a public beach called the CYC beach which is a public one. It’s not as pretty and clean as the beaches I visited the other day but it had nice marine life according to my friend.

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We ended the tour after and the 2 days were very tiring for me but I also challenged myself to avail of the other tours (more hard core ones) – probably after I learn how to swim again and maybe when i’m secure that I wouldn’t be easily killed by stonefishes etc .

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I am super thankful for my friend, Oman Santos, for bringing me to this island and to the tours – it was magical and dreamy really and while I got so busy taking photos, he always reminded me to relax and just stare the this beauty. I learned so much about Coron and its people (the Tagbanwa’s) too through the tour guides, and I am hoping that they will be able to preserve its beauty and tourism despite the private resorts coming in.

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Black & Blue

Here’s one of the outfits I wore in my Coron trip. What I like about black or minimalist swimsuits is that you can pair it with cover up’s or skirts and you can have a new set of beach outfit already.

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I paired a Cesa swimsuit (which is part of their new dramatic black collection this Summer 2015) with an H&M skirt. It saves up space in the luggage, and well, some sort of planning on how to mix and match things when the beach is all you need to think about. 😉

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Photography: Oman Santos

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The El Nido Resorts

A few weeks ago,  I was lucky to experience El Nido, thanks to NIVEA’s very exciting summer getaway. Just recently, El Nido Resorts in the municipalities of El Nido and Taytay, Palawan, was named as one of 12 finalists worldwide in the 2013 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards (TTA), one of the most prestigious and highest accolades in the global travel and tourism industry. It was also named “one of the best places in the world to take your girlfriend in 2014” by GQ Magazine. I got curious about El Nido and I’m sharing more about it here:

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The municipality of El Nido is a small archipelago composed of 45 islands. In 1981, Miniloc Island Resort was established by Ten Knots Development Corporation. A second resort with 51 rooms was constructed in 1998 in Lagen Island, while the third was opened in 2010 on Apulit island, which is in the municipality of Taytay, and has 50 rooms. The fourth resort with 42 villas on Pangulasian Island opened its doors a few months ago.

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The way the people of this resort protect the environment is award-winning as well and I noticed this during my stay (more details on my next post!). Laurent Lamasuta, president of Ten Knots Development Corporation, explained the company’s commitment to environmental protection: “We safeguard the vital resources upon which our business is founded. In so doing, we create long-term value for our shareholders and our host communities.”

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The group of resorts has been operating for the past 30 years and proof of its commitment to sustainability is the fact that snorkeling in Miniloc Island, where its oldest property is located, remains a spectacular showcase of biodiversity. Mariglo Laririt, El Nido Resorts’ director for sustainability, observes: “That can only have been made possible by the fact that we have a well-maintained sewage treatment plant and a solid waste program that is uncompromising. That is also because we have well-trained nature guides who steer snorkelers’ fins away from the fragile corals while sharing with them scientific names.”

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Moreover, the harmonious relationship between the operators of the four eco-resorts and of the locals “has enabled us to continue with business unhindered, purchasing, recruiting and promoting from among them,” she says. Ninety per cent of all the employees are locals and turnover rate at the resort has remained low.

All employees likewise go through a program on environmental conservation called Be GREEN (Guard, Respect, Educate El Nido). This same program has been adopted by some of the local elementary and high schools. Better yet, El Nido Resorts supervisors are required to run programs for locals on food and beverage, kitchen and housekeeping skills among others. Although not all trainees are hired by El Nido, participants get a training certificate issued by local NGO partner El Nido Foundation thus, increasing their chances of employment in the other resorts in the area.

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Some years ago, EL Nido Resorts made a decision to offer a more sustainable menu to guests, according to its website www.elnidoresorts.com. This meant using as many local organically-grown ingredients as possible to contribute to the growth of the local economy. Today, as much as 58 per cent of all ingredients used by the resorts are sourced from locals.

Known in the province of Palawan to have pioneered in island resorts development, El Nido Resorts’ standards has become over the years a template that has been acknowledged by the local government as well as other resort operators. I am excited to share what I experience in this beautiful island in my photo diaries but let’s celebrate and congratulate the successes of El Nido!

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For inquiries and bookings, visit www.elnidoresorts.com. They are participating in different travel conferences wherein you can book and inquire. View the schedules at www.instagram.com/elnidoresortsPhotos and information courtesy of El Nido Resorts

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Embracing The Sun At Lagen Island, Palawan

The timing was utterly perfect. It was in the latter part of January, when the cooler season was starting to recede, and the summer sunshine was slowly taking over. The pristine waters and the beautiful, breathtaking view of El Nido, Palawan were all that was needed to officially kick off summer, and NIVEA SUN made it happen. It was probably the most beautiful place I’ve seen in my life, such that it made me cry over sunsets and sunrises, made me clear my head from all the worries, and made me just enjoy days under the sun, and nights near the waters. Below is my visual diary!

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It was also the perfect timing for the world’s no.1 sunscreen brand to launch a breakthrough in skin tanning with its newest product, Protect & Bronze. This will be the first time that suntan lovers can completely and fearlessly embrace the sun without worrying about skin damage. No more compromising on protection when you want to achieve that glowing tan.

NIVEA SUN Protect & Bronze is a sunscreen spray that comes with the highest SPF available in the Philippine market to keep skin protected against harmful UVA and UVB radiation, which are responsible for causing premature skin aging and sun damage. But the best part is that this product supports the skin’s natural tanning process by stimulating melanin production. No artificial colorants, no bronzing agents. NIVEA SUN Protect & Bronze naturally works with your skin’s own tanning process! So just imagine having that natural and even tan all over, while keeping your skin properly protected.

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It was also the time to bond with fellow bloggers in this island, where we got to test the power of this new tanning product. I was able to tan my skin a bit! Below are more OOTD’s and activities (day 2 and 3!)

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#SummerBlast at Puerto Princesa, Palawan

One of my goals this 2013 is to travel, and to refresh (because honestly, my busy life is not so “fresh” – haha – with all toxins in Manila, literally and figuratively). And honestly, I haven’t been in Palawan, and of course, any Filipino or tourist would say that I’m missing a lot.

True enough, my #NIVEASummerBlast experience in Puerto Princessa Palawan was the first and a very refreshing way to welcome Summer, my 2nd top favorite time of the year, when the only requirement is to soak yourself in the waters and have fun under the sun. So let me share with you my cool adventure through this photo diary!

So the event was held in Sheridan Resort near the Sabang Beach in Puerto Princessa Palawan for 3 days and 2 nights for games, tours, parties,cultural performances, rockeoke and of course the experience of the new refreshing aerosol spray details of which I posted here.

I really love how it reached most parts of my skin without exerting much effort, and the refreshing feel, and of course, the way it protected me under the sun (see how my skin stayed the same!

So above is a video of everything cool that transpired. Below are more photos!

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