March 15, 2018

Backpacking 101: El Nido Travel Guide (Budget, Accomodation and Tours)

One hour and 20 minutes away from Manila by plane, five to six hours from Puerto Princesa, Palawan by van, El Nido is pain in the butt for its long land travel. But low and behold, El Nido is a paradise with 45 island and islets, limestone and cliffs. It is once tag as a place for the rich because land transportation from Puerto Princesa was relatively unknown. Chartered flights from Manila has a sky rocketing prices and is still being utilized by high end resorts of the Ayala's and some Japanese resort owners.

How To Go There?

Clark to El Nido 

AirSwift flies from Clark International Airport to El Nido daily.

Clark to El Nido - 7:00AM
El Nido to Clark - 4:55PM

Manila - Puerto Princesa - El NidoAirAsia, Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines flies to Puerto Princesa from Manila, Ilo-ilo, Cebu and Davao daily. Philippine Airines flies to Taipe once a week.  

From Puerto Princesa City in Palawan, you have to either bus or van going to El Nido. Thats a 5 to 6 hours land travel.

There are now two bus company and multitudes of shuttle vans plying Puerto Princesa - El Nido route on a regular basis. Roro Bus for instance has an hourly bus plying EL Nido from Puerto Princesa. As of my last visit in El Nido there is now a bus line called Cherry that also ply Puerto Princesa - El Nido. You can check my friend Josia's review of the bus company as well as its detailed schedule.

Van transport is available at the airport, Robinson's Mall and in San Jose Terminal where Buses are also available. The fare is Php600.00.

Bus or Van?

I always prefer bus over the van. But during our recent trip, Northern Hope Tours included the Van transfer in our package. I like riding bus because it has more leg room and its much comfortable. It is also much cheaper by a hundred pesos. Downside is when you travel by bus in the morning, chances are it will stop whenever there are passengers. Although its the shuttle van also pick up passengers, at least the van has a small capacity thus picking up of passenger is limited as compared to the bus.

March 11, 2018

Ferry Ride from Mall of Asia to Bataan

Good news for those who are living in the Bataan Peninsula, 1Bataan Integrated Transport System offers a world class fast ferry ride from Mall of Asia in Pasay City to Port Capinpin in Orion, Bataan.

Travel time from Manila to Bataan is not cut from 3 to 4 hours by bus to just one hour by ferry.

Passengers can avail free shuttle bus/van from Port Capinpin in Orion, Bataan to different drop-off points in Mariveles, Dinalupihan and Balanga.

March 07, 2018

LA UNION | Surfing, People and Food Culture in Elyu

Sun-kissed skin, salty breeze, young-vibe crowd, gastronomic pleasure and euphoric atmosphere among the folks enjoying each other's company or just enjoying the sunset... and the waves - these are the things your soul will experience once you decided to commune in elyu.

The sun was setting in a perfect sky, big orange ball of fire, its another day has passed and all the folks were looking towards the west. The sun was really the biggest star we can witness. No one ever gets tired of looking at it. It was the La Union sunset.

Boracay’s Best Restaurants 2018

The first time we covered Boracay on Lonely Travelogue was back in 2012, some 8-years ago when we wrote about the Ferra Hotel. We revisited the island last September (2017) and wrote this post about our Little Boracay Experience. This time around we are going to focus our efforts on something that is often forgotten: the island’s amazing collection of low-key restaurants.

March 01, 2018

Take a Selfie with Bonamine for a Chance to Win a Trip to Hongkong for Four (4)

Have you ever experience being dizzy while on the road? I'm sure you do. Those times can ruin your moment in a certain place wherever you are. Everyone can be a victim of motion sickness on a bus, ship, plane and train. We must always be ready to face all the odds the road might give us. I always have a medicine kit with me whenever I travel. Its an essential travel must have for all. In my medicine kit, I have Bonamine with me. Its my shield for a possible motion sickness attack.

February 27, 2018

LA UNION | P&M Final Option Beach Resort

With their mission to provide the best possible experience and share a little piece of paradiseP&M Final Option Beach Resort knows how to make every vacation work for families and Barkadas. San Juan, La Union has become a tourist hub for many folks driven by its world class waves and superb gastronomic culture. P&M Final Option Beach Resort is a value for money-resort to those looking for a peaceful and memorable vacation.

When we arrived in P&M Final Option Beach Resort, we were welcomed by a smile and a glass of refreshing juice. Just perfect for the sunny weather in La Union. What I liked about the reception of the resort is that, the smell is very relaxing and has a nice odor. It smells like a spa.

February 05, 2018

INDIA | My Taj Mahal Story

For most, the Taj Mahal is what traveling to India means. Its a must, to visit this magnanimous tomb.  No doubt about it, Agra has been the center of Indian tourism because of love and honor – Taj Majal is a symbol not only of India but of overflowing love and devotion of a Mughal Emperor to his favorite wife. 

We arrived in Agra the night before our half day tour in the Taj Mahal. We had enough time to rest and wash some clothes used during the first half of our India trip. Time wasn't really on our side, but nevertheless, we had a good sleep and a nice mood because we were about to see one of the world greatest structure made by man. A UNESCO Heritage Site that draws the attention of some 15 Million tourist annually.  
The view inside the Great Gate

Five minutes walk from Moustache Hostel is the East Gate Parking lot where free shuttle bus going to the Taj Mahal is located. We boarded the empty bus for tourist when I realized that I left the battery of my camera charging at the hostel. I stepped down of the bus and run back to the hostel. Thank God we were early and the bus is still waiting for more tourist. When I get back, Claire was already carrying my Packsafe Bag outside the bus. The bus is about to leave and she thought I cannot make it. Well, I did make it, just in time. Lesson, don't get too excited, check all the things that you need before you leave. 

Great Gate
Taj Mahal Ticket for foreigners is exponentially higher than those of
the Indian National
We arrive in the Eastern Gate early enough not to catch a big crowd. They implement strict regulation in Taj Mahal about food and sharp objects. You cannot bring food inside the complex. Water is allowed. They will open your bag and get the food inside. They grab it and throw it in the garbage box. We didn't know that we cannot bring food inside so our snack was snatched away. Those guards are ruthless with my moong dal. 

Heaviness in my heart followed as we walk to the Great Gate where all visitors will enter to see the Taj Mahal. 

Inside the Great Gate, the white marble structure will shine amids the darkness of the place. Most people would stop inside to capture the Taj Mahal with the dramatic view from the Great Gate. Light will come through as you walk towards Taj Mahal. Standing in front of a vast space of greens, flowers,symmetric waterways and and manicured pathways, Taj Mahal is like a beacon of greatness in front of millions of spectators. 

Taj Mahal is an epitome of Persian and Mughal (Islamic) architecture. Its grandness and detailed fortification is very evident. When you take a closer look, you'll see that every spot of the structure has a fine detail that celebrate the Persian and Mughal culture. 

The dome structure and detailed ornamental pattern is a signature Islamic architecture.  
There is no place in the Taj Mahal complex that is not picturesque. Travelers of all ages pose their signature shot for a lasting memory and of course for social media purposes. 

After hours of going around with Claire, we decided to have our own moment and appreciate Taj Mahal on our own. She roamed around while I sat on a bench observing the Taj Mahal, the people and the nature. 

From where I was seating, I overheard a hired tour guide giving architecture and history lesson to travelers. We all know that the Taj Mahal is a tomb build by Emperor Shah Jahan's favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Engineers and architects then employs smart design to protect the structure from natural calamity such as flooding and earthquake. The four towers surrounding the main mausoleum was built 2 degrees inclined away from the dome so that it will not hit it during earthquake. 

We went inside the mausoleum with excitement all over us. We wore an aqua color shoe cover as a respect to the place. There was no long queue as I have expected. People are everywhere though enjoying their own Taj Mahal experience. Some are sitting on the marble floor while some are busy chatting with friends and making friends. The tourists were so diverse. There were Westerners, Asian, Africans and even Indians! 

When we were about to entered the mausoleum, I felt a little uneasiness with my tummy. It must be my morning ritual plus excitement. I had to look for a comfort room to release the stress. The comfort rooms though are located at the Great Gate. Great, I had to walk back again. It took me so much time because its far plus I took some pictures when I was about to go back to the marble palace.

While I was looking for Claire, which I had a hard time doing so, a lot of Indian men came to me asking for a picture. Roll eyes. I just don't know why, but this was very common to me in India. One Indian tourist told me that its his birthday and asked me to have picture with him. Then he asked me for a present because it was his birthday. He was asking for my eyeglasses! I smiled because I thought he was just kidding. I went ahead to find Claire, only to found that the birthday boy was still behind me asking for his present. I ignored him but I was scared. 

One of the additional structure inside Taj Mahal Complex. This one is now a museum
The location of Black Taj Mahal across Yamuna River
I went inside the mausoleum to do the strolling on my own and to find Claire inside. It was very dark and crowded. Pictures are not allowed but there were still tourist taking pictures – I saw a lot of Asian violating the rules. There are very detailed patterns on the marble walls of the mausoleum which makes it a great work of art. 

I went out and I'm still not seeing Claire. All I saw were Caucasians in their shorts and backpacks, Asian with their long dress while doing pictorials or selfies and Indians in their glorious outfits. I was worried but not enough to panic, she might be just talking to some strangers getting stories or creating stories. I stopped for awhile and a petite woman wearing a white hat tall tapped me on my back looking very worried. Claire was worried because I was gone too long. She had thoughts of me having abducted or raped in India. Thank God nothing happened to me. I told her about the men asking for my pictures and the guys who were asking for a birthday present then we both laugh and decided to go back to the hostel for lunch.     

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