All posts in the islands category

My trip to Legaspi, Daraga, Donsol, and Cagraray

Published April 9, 2012 by Diosa

In every travel I take, I rely on the internet for information heavily. I’m guilty of not being able to say thanks to those who took time and put their itinerary on the cyber world. I hope this will be the first of many travelling tips and guides I contribute in the net.

Date / Time Actvities Things to Bring Fee
April 4

6:40 am

8:40 am


1:00 pm

3:00 pm

4:00 pm

Manila – Terminal 3

Terminal Fee

Manila – Legaspi

Via Airphil

Legaspi City Airport

City Tour and Donsol Transfer

Lignon Hill

Daraga Church

Cagsawa Ruins



Legaspi Blvd.

Go to Donsol

Vitton and Woodlands Resort

Standard Double


Register at Donsol tourism office

E-ticket. Valid ID. Credit card used





Comfy clothes and shoes

Mosquito Repellant







P20000/coaster/3 days

P20/pax (senior  citizen/ children below 3 feet – free)


Zipline: P250 – 350/pax


P250 (eat all you can)



*extra mattress – P300

April 5


7:00 am

10:00 am


6:30 pm

Wake up

Whaleshark Interaction


Back to Resort


Firefly watching

Packed food and water, sun protection apparel and lotions, snorkeling gear, and underwater or video cameras, minus artificial underwater illumination devices or gadgets.  




Snorkeling Gear – Rental Fee P300/pax

P1250/5 pax

April 6










Donsol to Legaspi City

Day tour at Misibis Bay

Roundtrip land transfers (from your hotel in Legazpi City/Hotel Venezia to Misibis Bay) Lunch at Spice Market / Dela Playa Restaurant

Non-motorized watersports activities like Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) surfing, Hobie Cat sailing,windsurfing, kayaking, and snorkeling

Use of resort facilities (Indoor Activity Center, swimming pools and fitness center)

Legazpi to Donsol




Changing clothes



(children 5 years and below – free, 20% senior citizen discount)

April 7

9:00 am


1:15 pm

2:10 pm

Donsol to Legazpi

Legaspi Airport

Terminal Fee

Legaspi to Manila

Via Zest Air

Manila – Terminal 4 (Old Domestic airport)

E-ticket, Valid ID, Credit card used  






Contact Numbers:

Albay Tourism Office: 052 4810250                                                  Vitton and Woodlands Resort:  annie.09279126313; 09178501771

Misibis Bay: 09175991590; 0524810888; 026618888                        Legazpi Tourism Office: 052 480-4956/57

Roam-travel: miggie.09175581494; 09228207954                            Legazpi City Tourism Services Unit: 052 4802698

Airphil: 052 480-7515; 855-9000                                                         Zestair: 855-3333; 052 4805005/55

Please use this as guide, don’t follow it. The travel to and fro Donsol is very tiring. If I could undo our itinerary, it was better to stay in Legaspi.


In the company of children

Published April 9, 2012 by Diosa

I had been a preschool teacher for many years now. I love the children but after spending 10 months with them I really need a break. Come March and all teachers are looking forward to summer vacation. We are seeking peace and silence with nobody calling us teacher.

I spent my summer break in Bicol with friends from work. Surprisingly, I still found good company in children. Maybe not that surprising but without trying I found myself enjoying a moment with them. It was relaxing as well as stimulating. They are witty and yes far more sensible than some grownups.

On my first day in Donsol, I was excited to see the whalesharks but only got disappointed when they didn’t surface the water. Perhaps with 30 boats all over the place, they were stressed out and hid in the deep part of the sea. It was terribly disappointing but I had been warned. We ate lunch and washed up. I was about to take a nap but decided to explore the place instead. I was eating my clubhouse sandwich when dogs started barking at the sea. It was a little intense as there were only few people and we couldn’t see why the dogs were barking. My imagination was running a bit wild. Is it a sign of earthquake or tsunami? Then, I saw the girl with her 3 big dogs. Two are German shepherds and one is a Rottweiler. The street dogs were barking ferociously and the girl teased them even more when she told her dogs to stay inside the resort. Eventually, she called her dogs and finally the other dogs calmed down. I thought this was my only encounter with her. I was mistaken. After eating my snack, I took a stroll at the beach. I was practically the only one there. I began taking pictures and went far from the resort. On my way back, she came out from her house with her three dogs. The dogs had their ears up and I felt their eyes steadily on me. She was digging in the sand when she suddenly spoke to me. She lives in Bicol and speaks English fluently. She showed me that she was digging out the glass in the sand. She asked where I came from and if I will be staying in Bicol. And all along her dog was sniffing me. I tried to be very cool because I’m really scared of her dogs. Though I know that these are trained dogs, it was still unnerving for me.

little bicolana with her three dogs

I knew Lyle since he was in his mommy’s tummy. He may be impertinent at times but he has redeeming qualities. I actually appreciated him on this trip. We were together during our firefly watching and disappointingly whale shark non-interaction. He is very caring with his younger cousin and shares everything with him. When I saw them eating snacks, the youngest was really hungry. Lyle shared his noodles with him and didn’t mind at all if he had eaten even his share. During our firefly watching, he was his usual self when his cousin said something and he told off his cousin that only an idiotic person would think about that. Unfortunately, his aunt was right there. He was clearly fighting back. He would ask silly questions and when I told him not to ask idiotic questions anymore, he came up with sensible ones. The tour guide was really patient with him but he totally pissed off his aunt. What really put him to sleep was when we talked about the natural lights like the sun, stars, and the firefly. He was leaning heavily and quietly snoring. When we got off the boat, he went to his mom and whispered that he didn’t see the fireflies because he fell asleep. The next day, I enjoyed playing table football with him. Even though he lost in all games, he was very sport and enjoyed the games too.


On our last day, I met Theo. A four year old boy who jumps into the pool and never wants to get out of it. I was trying to swim when he showed me his water gun. He lent it to me and demonstrated how to use it. He started showing off his tricks with his gun and urging me to follow him. Later on, he got his ball and we started playing similar to football. Only in this game, we didn’t use feet but the water gun to push the ball. We were having fun and he was really nice and friendly. He is also funny. He told me that he farts like his dad. Oh! Really? He asked me if I didn’t hear it. Did you fart? He answered all the time. He’s one cute boy who takes pride in his fart.  His aunt called him to eat breakfast and that was the time when he became really upset. I told him that I’ll be swimming at the beach and be getting out of the pool too. He was sad and we said our goodbyes. If ever I have a child, I really would like it to be like Theo. He is such a charmer!

Sometimes difficult children ruin my desire of having children of my own but some children restore my faith in actually having one.

A Reluctant Big Sister

Published May 15, 2011 by Diosa

Traveled more than 10 hours by boat, bus, and jeep, trekked for more than 6 hours, slept less than 8 hours in three days, made 27 river crossings, day, hit by a storm, stranded for a day! Why, why did I join?…..

Well, no regrets because I’m happy that I was a part of a group of volunteers who endured harsh conditions just to deliver school supplies to students in remote areas in Marinduque.

It was both challenging and very rewarding as my friend said, “an experience worth repeating.”

I joined BBBS last month thru my friend, Joy. It wasn’t actually an invitation because she had already signed me up for it. I don’t there is still a chance to decline. 🙂  Anyway, BBBS stands for Big Brother Big Sister. They are a group of volunteers bringing school supplies to students in remote areas in our countries since 2005. As a teacher, I understand how happy the students would be when they receive these school materials. Trust me when I tell you that teachers are the only people in the world that would get excited over pen and paper. It’s the kind of outreach activity that really touched my heart. But I did have my doubts. I was ready to back out when we had our pre-climb meeting and read the itinerary. There would be 10 hours of traveling and 4 hours of trekking. I’m not out of shape or physically inactive but I don’t really want to push my limit. I have scoliosis and vertigo. I’m anemic and underweight. I was actually asking my sister to take my place. I think the group wouldn’t notice the difference. 🙂 Well, except for Joy and new-found friend, Lorrie who rode home with us. We attended the 2nd packing session and found out the weight of the school bag. It wasn’t that heavy but if you’ll be carrying it for a long period of time, it would eventually weigh you down. We were already thinking what are the essentials we’ll bring and the things we can live without for two days. My bag was packed a day before the trip and what’s left is the food and bags. When we got to the meeting place, we had the small bags among the group but Joy’s was smaller. She was ready to exchange bags with me because I’ve been dreading this day. I was really out of my mind when I joined. Seriously, I was planning on getting in the next available cab and just go home. We started loading the bus and soon we’re off to Lucena Port. I was able to sleep during the bus ride because our journey wasn’t cold nor bumpy. It was still early when we got off the bus. We boarded the ferry and occupied the top. The volunteers soon searched for a place to sleep. Some opted to lie down at the sides and some slept on the floor right beside the chairs. As for me, I stayed put and waited the others to vacate the chair and got it all for myself. (Nice tactic!) It wasn’t comfortable but definitely better than the floor. It was the best place. (As what my group mate, Ryan, resentfully pointed out during the post climb meeting. hindi naman masama loob mo sa akin no?:-) ) This was the point when I lost sense of time. I got off the ferry and got in the jeep. There was a monstrous jeep and it could definitely pass up as an autobot. (LOL! fyi,I met optimus prime in Dubai, it would be great to have a local autobot) I always enjoy jeepney rides in provinces. I remember getting around Batanes while riding on top of the jeep and it  definitely gave me a different thrill and enjoyment in riding jeeps. Anyway, I was inside the jeep when we went to our first school in Marinduque. I slept a little but when I caught a glimpse of the sky starting to brighten up I woke up.  I am simply amazed every time the jeep crossed the river. After three hours, we reached Boi school. They were really friendly and hospitable and they even prepared breakfast for us.The bags were distributed and pictures were taken. I stood beside the stage and tried to be helpful but I was swarmed with parents. I went at the back and watched the children excitedly opened their bags. They were comparing what they have and seemed to be proud that they have these things. I took my backpack and prepared for the trek. And how did I prepare? I put on sunblock and just stuffed in the school bag inside my backpack. Instead of 2 bags we were supposed to bring, we were given only one. I’m not complaining there. But if we didn’t carry any bag, it would totally defeat the purpose of volunteering right? Well, we were set to go and began our 4 hour trek.  They said we went for 27 river crossings but I didn’t actually count. I didn’t bother to check on time but eventually I was getting tired and hungry. What was stated as four hour trek, it stretched into 6 hours or more. Whenever we asked a local how far the school is, they would say just one hour. I didn’t complain at all because I was busy motivating myself to keep on going. Whenever someone asked me if I was ok, I’ll just nod my head and smile. As far as I remember, we had a coconut break and from then on I just want to finish the trek.  In my mind, I was stuck in a moment where if I didn’t follow I’ll die.(What’s worst than dying, right?) Seriously, I have no option except endure the trail for I don’t how to go home on my own. And I was sure that it will get worse. And it did. We finally arrived in Tambuhan School. We didn’t wait anymore for our group mates, Joy and I started eating our lunch and rested on the ground.  After Tambuhan School, we trekked again to meet the jeep. They said that it will be just 30 minutes trek. I no longer believed them. We trekked for two hours more. I tried to enjoy and appreciate the scenery but good things never last.  The perfectly easy trail was ruined when we went for a short cut. My whole left foot soaked in mud when we tested a branch to cross the mud. Well, we reached the jeep anyway. Off to Poctoy beach. The mayor let us stay in the resort  instead of going back to the school. Thanks!  Then, it began to rain. I would say that my group was still fortunate than the rest because we were able to eat right away. It was very lucky for me to have AMCI mountaineers in our group. Cooking for me is ordering in or reheating. My only culinary skill I actually take pride in is my blueberry cheesecake and it’s stupid to bring something like that in camp. I successfully took a bath in a paid shower room after a few trips to and fro my disorganized bag. I was cleaned and fed. It was the greatest feeling in the world. Then, I drank a few shots of liquor and slept. I am a light sleeper which is why sleeping is another adventure. I slept with the sound of hard pouring rain blending in with the symphony of snoring people and one stood out as he talked in his sleep. Typhoon Bebeng hit Philippines and we got extended for another day. I had a feeling that something like this would happened. I’m not regretful that I joined this outreach but I still worried about work. Its a whole different story but it’s what bothered me during the program. We went to Sihi from Poctoy beach. How unlucky that our jeep broke down. It didn’t surprise me anymore. The driver was able to replace the jeep anyway. When we reached Sihi, it was really raining hard. Some of the children were soaking wet and shivering in the cold. I can’t really put my mind at ease after seeing the weather as for sure we won’t be able to go home. Since I was already stranded there, I joined some of the games but not really in the mood for it. How ironic is it, since I’m the most playful teacher in our school. Oh! School, school, I was worried about our own school. Thankfully, I met group 10. I talked to some of their group members and found out that two of them, Val and Don, were my schoolmates in college. I graduated before they went in. I love UPLB and it’s always nice to meet fellow graduates. A lot of pictures were taken and soon enough the program was done. We went to Marinduque Hot Springs Resort to eat lunch prepared by the governor. Some swam while the others, like me, just rested at the restaurant. In the middle of our conversation, Lorrie and I watched shamelessly our fellow BBBS volunteer stripped down to his swimming trunks.:) Since we were stranded, the governor and  Ate Gina were so kind and generous that they provided us food and place to sleep at their house for the night. How blessed we are! I’m so grateful to them. At around 4 in the afternoon, we headed to the governor’s house. The resort was impressive but hardly maintained. After dinner, each group performed and it was really funny. We presented a simple skit ala-Rex Navarete. Since we’re the X-men, we portrayed each character. I was Jean Grey and shared the stage with Professor X. We had a Filipina maid who had previously worked at the Super Friends house. She was irritated with my telepathic ability. I knew exactly what she was thinking. She thinks my boobs are small. (LOL! huh, does my 34B really stand for barely there? Well, better than A for absent.) Then, there was Storm who caused the typhoon and kept us in the island. After all the members were called, we danced “Kapag tumibok ang puso,” I enjoyed watching Voltes V and Dragonball Z. (And they won!) Some stayed for a few drinks and few got drunk. One group got angry and a couple got into fight. At least two women were crying. Some cute guys turned out to be gay. As for me, I would say san mig pail pilsen tastes better than san mig light. The weather improved and we were set to go home. Yehey!

I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to survive if not for these people who made this experience very memorable and tolerable for me.My heartfelt thanks to Joy, who signed me up for this, who was so fast during the trek to completely avoid my rant, (you can run but we’ll still meet in school 🙂 .)my group, the X-Men, the hot mamas, Elaine and Lorrie, who amazed us and took care of me (I’m not really drunk nor heart broken), Ryan, who guided us first timers and kept us company and tirelessly make kwento, our group leader, Ian, who really helped the group finished the trail, Nell, who was running after Joy, Clint and Jazz, the sweepers, the Pulag Girls, Cath and Aileen, and Alman, who shared his things and fed us and made us laugh and even gave a sleazy strip dance to us.

Thanks also to BBBS Climb Staff , Ate Gina, the governor, and the people of Marinduque.

Marlboro Hills

Published April 11, 2011 by Diosa

If someone mention Marlboro, what’s the first thing you think of?


I would definitely answer the Marlboro cigarette tv ad. Remember, the very masculine cowboy steering the wild horses at the terrainous hills.


Marlboro Hills in Batanes is very far from the killer commercial. It is majestic, beautiful, and takes my breath away in a very very healthy way. It has no more horses because breeding them proved to be more costly but less profitable. It’s alright that there are no horses and it was not a disappointment. I don’t think Batanes could ever disappoint me. From the first moment I caught a glimpse of the islands from the plane, I’m pretty sure the beauty I’m seeing up in the clouds has more to offer when I’m actually immerse in it.










heights and depths









hedges and plains
















nature’s harmonic orchestra


heavenly feeling








































blinded by the burst of colors of sunshine and landscape









Of course, who can resist jump shots?















enjoying the view ala-F4 in meteor garden






loving the sun and earth






Come to where the flavor is…..


Marlboro Hills.


we love it so much, we went back the next day.

and here’s a video of the heavenly place. (pictures and video were taken by my sister, dona)



Back in Bora

Published April 11, 2011 by Diosa

I could finally sing “nakabalik na ako sa white sand beach ng Boracay!” Both trips are so memorable for me. The white sand, pristine waters, and hot people all around make Boracay a destination one should not fail to go. I was here in 2005 and after going to a lot of Philippines’ beautiful islands, I wonder if Boracay is still one of the country’s top tourists’ spots. Well, whatever doubts I had, going back to the island cleared them all up. The beach wasn’t that crowded at this time of the year but still there are many tourists. I could complained about too many people or too many restos and bars or too many resorts but there’s still something I just couldn’t explain that draws me and apparently lots of people to the beach. I could actually sit there all day and just stare at the beach, watch the waves, feel the sand, and listen.

The trip going to Boracay proved to be an adventure for me. In 2005, I endured 13 hours of riding RORO with my colleagues which included sitting in the bus with some passengers that have live chickens with them, transferring to ferries, running for seats, and back aches that I kept feeling for 4 days. When we saw Boracay, I honestly could cry. I had the most amazing feeling on my feet when we finally stepped on the white powdery sand. This year, I took the plane. Thinking that it would be more relaxing, I was wrong. I went with my family this time and we took three different flights at three different terminals. My sister and I took public transportion to the airport where we would meet the others while they took the car. Since we were in a tight schedule, we called them every five minutes or less. My brother in law with my nephew were dropped to centennial airport only to be told that they should be at T3. They took the cab and transferred. Then, my mom and dad were supposed to be at T3. They did make it. Thirty minutes before departure time. My sisters, another nephew, and me needed to go back to domestic terminal but we had to park the car first. It was really stressful when you’re pressured with time. We finally found a parking slot and took the shuttle. The driver was kind enough to help us crossed the street. Hello, he dropped us at the other side. Yay! We got there just in time! (FYI, flights going to Boracay via Airphils and Philippine Airlines are the same which is why my brother in law needed to transfer to T3 terminal)

In 2005, we saw sailboats at the shore but this time boats dock at the pier at the other side of the island. It does make sense. The beach is free from gas leaks and people are free to swim.


we had ice cream then, I finally found Jonas. Their fruit shakes are so delicious!



Island Hopping

We enjoyed banana boat ride then I scaled into new heights this time, parasailing.

Just for fun with the kids, I rode the jetski on land with steering wheel :))


I went there with my shs binondo family then, my family.


The beautifully made and lighted sandcastles


at willy’s rock. no tattoo this time.


the waterfall stairs at regency




My first airplane ride. No more roro. Thanks Mrs. C! Now, with my sisters, brother, and nephews.


I love Boracay! and I would love to go back again and again and again….


Amidst the empty chairs and busy tourists

Published April 11, 2011 by Diosa

I was waiting at the jetty port for the boat that would take us to Caticlan and ride the plane back to Manila. Right at the middle of these chairs and tourist where I was sitting with my newly tanned skinny arms, bronzed glowing cheeks, and long super dry hair, I wondered…. would anyone notice if I pick my nose? Well, just a thought.


A Different Kind of Rollercoaster Ride

Published April 11, 2011 by Diosa

The best position: on top


The best weather condition: bright and airy


The best way to move around: fast and thorough


and yes, its best to do it with more people than just one.




Had it all on the Jeep roof in Batanes!









their unique road sign, they used this long before the text lingo


























the Lord of the Rings












what were you thinking about?