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BUWAKAN NI ALEJANDRA

9.21.2017


There’s more reason to travel and enjoy the West of Cebu, because aside from the well-known attractions like the Adventure Café, West35, Florentino’s: The “The Little Tagaytay of Cebu”, Mt. Manunggal, and Mt. Mauyog, is the newest flower garden called Buwakan ni Alejandra.

Buwakan ni Alejandra is located in Brgy. Gaas, Balamban, Cebu, situated right across Adventure Café. It houses varieties of local flowers and bushes of different colors. It had its soft opening last May but only captured the attention of Cebuanos recently as its flowers just began to full bloom.


WHO IS ALEJANDRA


Luckily, I was able to talk to one of the caretakers in the garden who glady shared to me the story behind of Buwakan ni Alejandra.

The landscaper, Eleuterio Gentapa, of the beautiful garden is the son-in-law of Alejandra. Alejandra is the owner of the land and has 3 children, one of them is Mrs. Gentapa. Alejandra once loves to plant and collect variety local flowers. Thus, they named the garden in memory of Alejandra.

 

WIDENING OF THE GARDEN


Although the flower farm is already big, the Gentapa family is currently working on the development of phase 2 and 3. Apparently, one of their goals is to make the local flowers known to Cebuanos. And because it's a "buwakan" they dislike building additional attractions inside the farm and want to highlight the different varieties of flowers by planting and breeding more flowers in the area.

 

PRENUP SHOOT


The good thing is these flowers are blooming all year round so everyone can visit Buwakan ni Alejandra anytime in its full glory. Just a note though, there could be times they are closing the garden farm for prenups. As per Mr. Gentapa, an exclusive prenup session in Buwakan ni Alejandra would cost 2000php fee in a span of 2 hrs. The time I went here, there was a scheduled prenup session in the afternoon from 4PM-6PM - written on a poster in the entrance of buwakan. But the owner cleared out that they don't want to consume much time with prenups so other guests traveling from the city will have a fair share of enjoying Buwakan ni Alejandra.


HOW TO GET THERE


Public Transportation: Take a V-Hire from Ayala Center Terminal for a 1-hr ride going to Balamban with a fare of P100-120 per person. You may inform the driver in advance to drop you off at Buwakan ni Alejandra.

Private Transportation: Use Waze or Google Maps to navigate Adventure Cafe where Buwakan ni Alejandra is nearby. It takes less than an hour drive from JY-Square via trancenstral highway.

MORE INFORMATION

Location: Brgy. Gaas, Balamban, Cebu
Operating Hours:  7AM-6PM, Mondays-Sundays
Entrance Fee: Adults - 50, Kids-20

A DAY IN BOHOL

8.10.2017

A day in Bohol may sound outrageous but with FastCat’s new route plying Cebu to Tubigon (Bohol), we did it! With its FerryFast, FerrySafe, and FerryConvenient we traveled Bohol like never before. Although it's my second time in Bohol, coming here has always been exciting. From exploring its beautiful countryside to walking through its white and pristine beaches, the Bohol experience is always unique in its own way.


Our day started at Pier 3. We waited for our other friends to join us for the first trip at 7:30 AM. It was my first time to ride with FastCat, I didn’t know what to expect since I rarely travel by the sea. But I was very impressed at how modern and huge the vessel was. I learned that it can accommodate 275 passengers, 34 cars, and 7 trucks or buses in its meter lanes. This roro also has Wi-Fi on board, televisions sets, air-conditioned spaces, a canteen, and luggage area. And if that isn’t impressive enough, FastCat is the only vessel that caters to the needs of the disabled with designated elevators and storage for wheel chairs.


We were lucky to get into the bridge and meet the Captain who was manning the vessel. They showed us around and educated us on some of the navigational equipment. I learned that the average speed of a FastCat vessel is 16.5 knots, powered by four engines. And guess what, most roro vessels only possess one -which explains why FastCat is faster than any other roro vessel.

THE WONDERS OF BOHOL COUNTRYSIDE


At 9:00 AM, we docked at Tubigon port. It only took us an hour and a half from Cebu to enter the Bohol’s scenic countryside through Tubigon. From there, we wasted no time and chartered a tourist van to Tubigon Loom-Weaving Multi Purpose Cooperative.

TUBIGON LOOM-WEAVING MULTI PURPOSE COOPERATIVE



The Tubigon Loom-Weaving Multi Purpose Cooperative is Bohol's pride. It has been operating for years already, producing indigenous bags, curtains, placemats and banig which are made of what we call in Bisaya dialect as puso sa buli.

CHOLOCATE HILLS ADVENTURE PARK




Our next stop was Chocolate Hills Adventure Park (CHAP) located in Carmen, Bohol, an hour and a half travel from Tubigon. I have visited the Chocolate Hills once the first time I went to Bohol but it was not via CHAP.

CHAP is an eco-tourism adventure park in Bohol with over 30 thrilling adventure activities for kids and adults including bike zip line, horseback riding, wall climbing, and many more. But aside from the adventures and attractions, CHAP also offers lunch buffet in an alfresco restaurant setting.

PHILIPPINE TARSIER SANCTUARY



After our adventures and sumptuous lunch at CHAP, we went to see the Philippine tarsier, an attraction you will only see in Bohol.

In its sanctuary, you will not see them just anywhere. In fact, each of them is being stationed in a tree or area so the tour guide can easily show them to the tourists. Besides, tarsiers are a small species. You don't wanna play hide and seek with them all day because they're so hard to find. But I swear they are the cutest, although their big eyes bothered me at first. You'll love them eventually. They are just so fascinating!And oh! They're shy by the way, so no loud voices and camera flashes.

BOHOL MAN-MADE FOREST



We had a mandatory stop at the Bohol Man-made forest on our way to Tagbilaran City from the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary because this kaleidoscope of green foliage is a definite must-see! A pro-tip though: advise your driver to stop at a non-crowded part of the forest if you don’t want to pay entrance fees and get photobombers.

BOHOL NATIONAL MUSEUM




The Bohol National Museum is an often overlooked attraction. This museum presents Bohol through the various traces of the islands. It houses remains of past survival, pictures, archeological materials, and unearthed objects mainly from Anda Peninsula, Mabini, Trinidad and Talibon. These relics give us insights to the prehistory of Bohol. The objects and images we found inside the museum embody a vital interlace of Bohol’s heritage that shapes its present story, just like the dioramic explanation of how the Chocolate Hills were formed, or how the island developed throughout the years.

BOHOL COMPACT SHRINE



A few minutes away from the museum is the Bohol Compact Shrine. A shrine that represents a very important event in the Philippines history that we only read in our textbooks in grade school. This site serves as a memorabilia of the historical event between Miguel Lopez de Legazpi of Spain and Rajah Sikatuna of Bohol where they performed a blood compact or known as Sandugo to seal their treaty of friendship.

 DINNER AT GERARDA'S



We ended our day at Gerada's, a well-known family restaurant in Tagbilaran to replenish our energy after the day. They served Filipino dishes and their own specialties. The place is pretty impressive. They say it's an ancestral house converted to a restaurant. Sisig and Pancit were my favorites from our order. But next time I want to try the Dinakdakan and Kare-Kare. I have seen good reviews and people raving about it online. The price for me is reasonable for its generous serving. Gerarda's is worth a try if you are looking for a good place to eat in Tagbilaran.

After Gerarda's, we had a spontaneous stop-over at the Buzz Ice Cream before heading to the port for the last trip at 10:30 PM. At 12 MN, we arrived at Cebu safely, thanks to FastCat for making our trip to Bohol worthwhile.

CUATRO ISLAS: EXPLORING THE FOUR SCENIC ISLETS OF LEYTE

5.22.2017

Digyo Island Sandbar
Digyo Island
A 30-minute boat ride away from the mainland of Leyte awaits a splendid paradise of not just one island but four. Located in the municipalities of Inopacan and Hindang lies the four scenic islets of Leyte: Himokilan, Mahaba, Apid, and Digyo, aptly named as the CUATRO ISLAS.

HIMOKILAN


Himokilan, also called as Shoe Island for its “shoe” shape from afar, is the island I most looked forward to visiting. Unfortunately, Himokilan is no longer within the jurisdiction of Inopacan. We can only get there by taking another boat from Hindang, which means another separate expense. We thought it’s not practical anymore, time and money wise, so we chose to exclude it from our island hopping escapade.

Shoe island

Himokilan Island view from Mahaba Island


MAHABA


Our first island. Mahaba sports a long crescent beach with a white powdery sand and clear turquoise waters. From the west stands a gorgeous, dungeon-like rock looking unsullied and promising and a view of Himokilan island at its best.

Cuatro Islas: Mahaba Island

Cuatro Islas: Mahaba Island
Cuatro Islas: Mahaba Island

APID


We approached Apid with the view of a thriving community. Its shore was busy with their own, local-made banca which they either sell or use for fishing. We took our time for a while, snorkeled and swam before leaving for the next island.

Cuatro Islas: Apid Island

Cuatro Islas: Apid Island

Cuatro Islas: Apid Island

 

DIGYO


Our last stop. Digyo will make any beach bum fall in love with its two white sandbars. This island features the abundance of tropical palms, unlike in Mahaba and Apid. If you get tired of swimming, you may explore the island and see interesting beach rock on the other side. And the sunrise is just as amazing as the sunset in Digyo, a sight you should never miss.

Cuatro Islas: Digyo Island

Cuatro Islas: Digyo Island

 
Cuatro Islas: Digyo Island



Cuatro Islas: Digyo Island

Cuatro Islas: Digyo Island

Cuatro Islas: Digyo Island

Cuatro Islas: Digyo Island

 

HOW TO GET THERE


From Cebu, we left from Pier 3 and took the 9PM schedule via Roble Shipping and arrived in Hilongos port around 3AM on the next day. The regular economy fare is ₱270 while the tourist class is ₱370. You may check Roble Shipping schedule and rates on their website.

There were no vehicles yet when we reached Hilongos port so we stayed for awhile in the ferry until 4:30 AM then took a tricycle to Inopacan for ₱50 each.

FEES AND EXPENSES 

 

Island Hopping Boat Rentals

₱2,500 - up to 10 persons
₱3,000 - 11 to 20 persons
₱4,000 - 21 to 30 persons
₱500 - overnight surcharge at Digyo Island

 

Cottage Rentals

₱500 - closed cottage
₱300 - open cottage
₱150 - camping tent
₱200 - portable tent
₱50 - overnight surcharge
₱50 - tent space rent
₱50 - table
₱10 - chair

Additional Fees

₱50 - Maintenance fee (LGU)
₱10 - Entrance fee (DENR)
₱10 - Environmental Fee (Barangay)

 

TIPS


  • Expect a full booking during weekends and holidays. The Island hopping is a first come first serve basis. I would highly suggest to be in the Tourism office as early as you can before the first trip at 6AM.
  • If it's not possible to bring your own food and drinking water for an overnight stay at Digyo, you can still buy on the island, however, at a much higher price.
  • Toilets and shower rooms are available. And there are those who sell fresh water for ₱50 per container for bathing or cleaning.
  • There are no light posts in Digyo so your source of light during evenings would be the moon and stars. chars. Therefore, I recommend bringing flashlights and power banks.
  • Just like we did, if you still have time, you may include Canigao Island and Mahayahay or Karap-agan Falls in your itinerary.
  • If you happen to include side trips after Cuatro Islas, make sure to secure first tickets back to Cebu as they run out quickly especially on weekends and holidays.

Check out my video on YouTube for the places we visited in Leyte including Cuatro Islas. And don't forget to Like and Subscribe 😉 Enjoy!

STUNNING SUNSET AT MAUYOG PEAK

5.02.2017
Stunning Sunset at Mauyog Peak
Known for its coral-like peak, Mt. Mauyog’s incongruity made me long to experience the real thing beyond just the surreal photographs. But when I was finally able to summit Mauyog, it left me in awe for a different reason.

If mountains are humans, then Mt. Mauyog is definitely a stunner. Other than its beautiful gigantic coral rock peak, its enchanting sunset on the other side of the peak was EVERYTHING.

Getting There + Fees


Around quarter to 3 PM, we reached Brgy. Tabunan, a 9-10 km from our house in Adlaon.
  • FAQ: Other than JY square-Tabunan/Cantipla route, you can also pass through Pit os-Tabunan, although it is not suggested unless you have a private vehicle. 
We met Robinson, our guide, who lives in Tabunan. He knows the trail and community well. Before, he was restricted to guide guests to Mt. Mauyog and Manunggal because he's a non-resident of Balamban.
  • FAQ: We reached Mt. Mauyog via Tabunan-Sunog trail. However, Tabunan is part of Cebu City, while Sunog is part of Balamban province. 
The good thing is, he's an experienced and well-known Mauyog-Manuggal guide because he already appeared on different blogs and he gained referrals as well. Thus, his connections brought him back to business.

We reached the foot of Mauyog at 4:20 PM. Although we could have arrived earlier, the muddy trail from the heavy rain in the morning slowed down our pacing. Nevertheless, the pleasant view of the neighboring mountains when we progressed our trek and the alleviating sight of Manuggal peak pumped us to stride harder.

When we were about 30 to 40 minutes from the peak, we were disappointed to find out that Robinson can no longer guide us as he did with his previous clients. The owner of the land where the peak is located strictly provides his own guides now. So aside from the 500 peso guide fee we paid to Robinson, we also had to pay another 300 pesos for a separate guide to the peak - on top of the 30-peso entrance fee to the operator. It was all unexpected, but backing down now wasn’t an option.

So we left our backpacks in the sari-sari store where we had our registration and made our way to the peak before the sun set.

Sunset at the Peak


We got to the peak just before the sun began to set. There were no other groups when we arrived at the peak so we got to enjoy the sunset all to ourselves and took a multitudinous of photos :D

Stunning Sunset at Mauyog Peak

Stunning Sunset at Mauyog Peak

Stunning Sunset at Mauyog Peak

Stunning Sunset at Mauyog Peak

Stunning Sunset at Mauyog Peak

Stunning Sunset at Mauyog Peak

 

Mt. Mauyog Itinerary


2:45 PM ETA Sitio Cawayan, Brgy. Tabunan
2:50 PM ETD Start Trek
4:20 PM ETA Mauyog Foot, Registration and left our backpack
4:30 PM ETD Mauyog Assault
5:10 PM ETA Mauyog Peak
6:00 PM ETD Mauyog foot assault
6:40 PM ETA Mauyog foot
7:30 PM ETA Manunggal Camp site via multicab

Guide contact number: Robinson - 09079283940

Expenses:


Tabunan-Mt. Mauyog Guide fee: 500 php (as a group)
Mt. Mauyog Entrance fee: 30 php each
Mt. Mauyog Guide fee: 300 php (group of 5)
Multicab fare from Mauyog to Manuggal: 50 php each

Note: Excluding habal-habal fare from Pit-os-Adlaon-Tabunan

Tips:


  • Mauyog has 2 peaks. If you wish to stay for the sunset, inform your guide in advance to take you where the sun sets.
  • If possible, wear trek sandals not shoes because you will pass through a river and shoes are not convenient.
  • If possible, wear dri-fit shirt and leggings, or body and leg  rash guard to protect you from the scorching heat, and thorns, spines and prickles.

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