Category Archives: adventure travel

Zentraveler Kaleidoscope of Bantayan Island, Philippines.

Primitive Beauty

Primitive Beauty

We all have visions of paradise. Bantayan Island is one those places that could certainly fit the bill.

Bantayan Island

Bantayan Island

Located in the Visayas, approximately five hours from Cebu. Bantayan Island is a native island loaded with history and early exploration. The island has three main municipalities which include: Santa Fe, Bantayan, and Madridejos. Each of these towns have their own unique personality and would be worthy of a visit to the island. One of the best ways to explore the island is to rent a motorcycle in Santa Fe and traverse around the entire island.

Coming from Hagnaya by ferry-boat (approximately one hour) you arrive at the port of Santa Fe.It’s a short distance from the port to the main town and resorts by local trycycle. Santa Fe is known for its sugary white beaches, nice resorts, and a town with a central market, churches, schools and has a main street with many restaurants and bars, appealing to the tourists who visit the island. There is a mix of x-pats and seasonal tourists with a very strong x-pat community. Many of the x-pat residents agree this is one of the main reasons to live on the island.

St. Bernard Beach Resort

St. Bernard Beach Resort

On any given day you will meet Swedish (the most represented) Norwegians, English, Irish, Australian, Canadian, American and many other nationalities. If you are the type who likes to feel like you belong to a community…Santa Fe just might be the place for you. Rental houses are cheap and be had for as little as $100.00 per month, even though you can’t own land, you can still build a great house for under $35,000 US dollars. Labor is cheap, approximately five dollars per day for carpenters and maid service.

Beer is the favorite beverage of most foreigners and costs from 50 cents to a dollar depending on where you elect to drink. Restaurant meals vary and you can choose to eat like a native with rice and veggies from the markets plus local fish or pork for a few dollars a day. Or you can go to a fancy restaurant and spend eight dollars or more depending upon your meal selection. Overall the cost of living is very affordable compared to modern countries, however since many things are imported from the United States, you might get sticker shock on things like cheese, butter, milk, and imported items.

Bantayan Holy Week

Bantayan Holy Week

Bantayan is twenty-five minutes from Santa Fe and is the largest of the three municipalities. It is known for its Holy Week Celebration, fruit and vegetable market, a wet market for fresh fish and also has a large display of dried fish which most Filipino tourists take back home.

When you approach Bantayan you pass by the cemetery, schools, and businesses… arriving at the central park where they hold the annual Holy Week Celebration which draws 50,000 tourists onto the island. Directly across from the park is the historic Sts. Peter and Paul Parish Church 1580 A.D. which is a must see. They also have a port where you can travel to Negroes Island and Iloilo Island by native pumpboat. And if you are hungry visit Kermits Restaurant where you can get the best cheeseburgers, burritos, and baked goods on the island.

Kota Park

Kota Park

Madredijos is another 25 minutes from Bantayan and is famous for its excellent fish. It was once named “Little Alaska” because of the fishing and crab industry. While there a visit to Kota Park with its own museum and pier extending a large distance onto the sea makes a great photo opportunity.
Fresh Fish

Fresh Fish

As you travel around Bantayan Island you will see rich farm land, miles and miles of native palm trees swaying in the breeze and many small chicken farms. Bantayan Island is named “The Egg Basket” of the Philippines.The rural areas of Bantayan Island operate nearly the same as it has for hundreds of years. Natives gather firewood, raise a few chickens and pigs and fish from the sea for their staples. With the exception of the cell phone and motorcycles… nothing has changed since the days of Magellan.

Natural Beauties

Natural Beauties

However, growth is coming and our only hope is there is planned growth so this community doesn’t turn into another Boracay. We have a small airport and many of the communities are fixing up their towns. Quite a few new houses are being built…it’s still pristine, but don’t be late grasshopper or you will miss the boat.

Fun things to do while on the island would include: a snorkeling trip to Virgin Island, a visit to Ogtong Cave, a visit to the new Bantayan Island Nature Park and Resort, with it new Olympic sized swimming pool and cave adventures, swimming in pristine waters of Santa Fe, renting a bicycle, kayak, wind surfing or just hanging out along the beach.

Virgin Island

Virgin Island

There are too many nice resorts, but to name a few would be: Kota Beach Resort, which has a brand new billiards semi-outdoor bar with a Brunswick table, Youneek Inn, great beach bar for sunset watching, St. Bernard Beach Resort for the person who wants that off the beaten path feeling,Marlin Beach Resort, great location, Tickety Boo Beach Resort with a swimming pool and restaurant, Santa Fe Beach Club, plus Maia’s Beach Resort that is a memorable experience, where you are treated like special guests.
Mias Beach Resort

Maia’s Beach Resort

A few restaurants worth noting are: Blue Ice, CouCou Bar Hotel and Restaurant, H and R Bar and Restaurant, Balikbayan, La Esquina, Portuguese, Italian-Cafee Del Mar, Tristans and so many more local choices.

So there you have it! An island that is quite remote and unspoiled that has a little of everything. So why not book your next trip to Bantayan Island and see why all of the permanent x-pat residents walk around saying: “mum is the word.”



QUOTE: “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.”—Susan Sontag

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:Bantayan Island got its name during the Spanish regime, when watchtowers (“bantayan” in Tagalog) were built around it to serve as lookouts for the invading Moros from Mindanao.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Islands…where else would you run off to?

ZENTRAVELER SAYS:Visit Bantayan Island… it could become habit-forming.

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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Filed under adventure travel, Bantayan, Bantayan Island, Madridejos, Santa Fe, travel, Uncategorized

Zentraveler on the Impromptu Travelogue!

Airplane Travel

Airplane Travel

Sometimes all of that planning and saving and getting ready for the next travel trip with visas, passports updated, and of course letting your bank credit card company know by sworn affidavit that you are going out of your zip-code and maybe even a foreign country. You say to yourself or your partner lets just throw a dart on the world map….and wherever it lands that’s where were going.

Or if you are more geographically challenged you can cheat and fold the map so it turns out at least in the hemisphere you want to travel. You and your partner talk it over… make a decision to be spontaneous and just do it. How many of you just wanted to do this all of your life? Oh I’m too structured of a person. I could not even imagine doing such a thing. Maybe this is what some of us really need. This entire blog is about travel opportunities and doing something different.

Cast of the Lines

Cast off the Lines

As a variation to the dart throwing map technique you say: “By golly I’ve got it let’s go to the International airport and try to get a cheap standby. As a reminder you and your partner both pack light and choose light wight carry-on luggage with less than 15 kilos… including the luggage. You do this so you don’t have to pay extra fees to the airlines and can immediately exit the plane upon landing. You say: “who wants to lug all of that stuff around anyway.”Oh by the way we are leaving at four am in the morning… since we have a better chance of a standby flight. As you walk along each airlines desk you look at their departing schedules searching for your next travel destination.

Look there’s a cheap flight going to Greenland it leaves in three hours. We can spend the night and a few days there and then put together the rest of our trip. Perfect you say to yourself…I always wanted to go to Greenland anyway. I heard the people are extra friendly. My friend was stationed in Thule, Greenland and he said you had two choices after spending a few years there… “you could become an alcoholic or go stark raving mad.” He arrived home half and half. Great! My partner says: “and this is where we are headed.”

You purchase your tickets from the new airline and go to an internet cafe and type out your personalized travel itinerary with many options..which can come in handy at the immigration desk. You score a cup of coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts and your set until departure. Hours later you are airborne and that feeling of exhilaration and discovery has your adrenaline on high. As the clouds roll by you can only imagine what lies ahead. You pick up the new airline magazine and notice a brand new hotel is offering rooms at $19.95 and you say why not… lets give it a go, it cant be that bad can it? And now we have an address for the cabbie, local bus transport, Metro Rail Transit (MRT) or whatever mode of transportation that is available to deliver us straight to the hotel.

Expect the Unexpected

Expect the Unexpected

This sounds like a story from your imagination and maybe I could try to put together a trip, but I have really limited funds. Not a problem Zentraveler says: You simply sign up as an International Courier and tell them you can leave anytime day or night. There’s a flight going to Caracas, Venezuela your total rt cost is $29.00. Are you kidding me? Even if that’s the case, I can’t afford to stay in a hotel and I can’t stand living in a dormitory at some run down hostel. No problema! You simply sign up as a Couch Surfer and find someone in the area who will put you up for a few days. My friend from New Zealand has used this service for the last couple of years and was even picked up at the airport and delivered to a top-notch vacation home on the lake–all free of charge including all of his meals and drinks.

crewing on a sailboat

crewing on a sailboat

So there you have it grasshoppers. If you don’t like to fly you could search the internet and sign up as a crew member on a sailboat. They often times are looking for adventurous travelers who might want to go to Australia, New Zealand, Greece, Italy or the Caribbean with some destinations unknown. As if puling a rabbit out of a hat… if none of the above choices appeal to you and you can speak English… you can search the internet and get a job teaching English in Korea. They will pay your transport, you sign a limited contract… and guess what grasshopper you are now a world traveler. Can anyone say Kimchi?

Bon Voyage

Bon Voyage

QUOTE: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:•Singapore Airlines spends about $700 million on food every year and $16 million on wine alone. First class passengers consume 20,000 bottles of alcohol every month and Singapore Airlines is the second largest buyer of Dom Perignon champagne in the world.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:Your International Drivers license.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS:Don’t be a couch potato and keep moving. Ninety five year old women are fighting bulls on the island of Okinawa. One hundred year old women are working their gardens and climbing trees to pick fruit. One hundred five year old men are using karate as a daily exercise… and guess what simply by eating well and keeping very active…most of these folks have never seen the inside of a hospital.

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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Filed under adventure travel, couch surfing, crewing a sailboat, English teaching Korea, impromptu travelogue, travel trip, Uncategorized

Zentraveler on Travel Research.

Boat Travel

Boat Travel

Half of the fun of a travel destination is the research. Thanks to the internet we have excellent sources on almost every travel destination in the Universe. And if you discover a new travel destination… you have many readers anxious to read about your travel experiences.
Travel Light

Travel Light

Depending on my travel time, I start with a simple outline of where I want to go. I begin my search by googling the area and look for travel hot spots and off the beaten path destinations. I then bookmark those pages of interest and copy and paste onto my personal Gmail, which I can view if the hotel has a computer or print them out in a folder… and I am good to go.

I then start looking for travel special deals, and if traveling by airplane, I key into website, which is very fast to get a number of comparative quotes. This is quick and easy and can save lots of time. From there you can choose to go to the airline webpage and look for special prices. Book it print it out… and your good to go.

The next step is to choose a hotel, which can be tricky and time-consuming. One such hotel showed the ocean right next to their swimming pool and it was a fifteen minute ride by taxi to the ocean. If the hotel destination is in a beach town for example… you might ask how far is the hotel from the bus station or airport and do you have free pickup–and if not, how much should I expect to pay for transport?

When a hotel requires an upfront deposit… don’t give them more than two nights in case the hotel turns out to be “The Hotel from Hell”… which I have stayed in quite a few times. These hotels had decent reviews, but were not fit for a dog to sleep in.

Upon arrival I always ask to see the room before signing in. Some chemical salesman must have sold the same bad-smelling spray to about 65 percent of all of the hotels in the world.

Of course they are trying to mask the smell of spilled beer, and smoke even in a non-smoking designated room. My nose is so intense I could probably get a job as a Hotel Room Sniffer and make a handsome living. I can smell three-day old smoke, stale beer, and a myriad of other smells not polite to mention.

Other things to look for… is the exact location of your room. One time I hiked more than 600 yards through treacherous steps, with no hand rails in the rain, to find my room, however the hotel had a modern beautiful reception area and you had no clue you were staying at the other end of the earth.

Morning Dip Camotes

Morning Dip Camotes

I also choose to stay on the first or second floor in case of fires or disasters so I can get out. I know this may be a bit extreme and those who like the penthouse view may think this is just plain crazy, however this is one thing I have made a point of always doing and rarely make an exception.

When I was a single backpacker on a very limited budget.. I would seek the best hotel in the town or city and then find cheaper accommodations just two or three blocks from the Ritzy Hotel. In the morning I would return to the fancy hotel, order a cup of coffee and toast, and enjoy the ambiance of real waiters and waitresses, white tablecloths, fresh flowers, matching silverware, cloth napkins, and watching a kaleidoscope of people dressed in safari outfits, beach shorts, Polo embossed shirts, Rolex watches, business suits and some women in their finery… with elaborate hats to match their outfits.

Often times music filled the restaurant with a live guitarist or piano solo. After people watching and enjoying a real cup of coffee… I would plan my travel day for the next destination, just hangout exploring the sights, take photographs of the local culture and architecture, and refresh in their elaborate clean restroom.

 Raffles Hotel

Raffles Hotel

Essentials for any Travel Trip:

One lightweight backpack or canvas travel bag
two copies of your passport in separate locations
security wallet for your money and lock on your travel bag
small flashlight and plastic whistle for emergencies
sensible cotton clothing you can roll up plus 2 sets underwear
comfortable walking shoes, hat and sunglasses, swim suit
small pill-box for prescriptions or vitamins
small first aid items like band aids and sunscreen
lightweight sheet/blanket can use on plane or cover on bed
cell phone with wake-up capability and digital camera w/extra battery and extra memory card plus battery and cell phone charger. And finally hand wipes, toilet paper, and mosquito repellent.

Thailand Floating Market

Thailand Floating Market

FOOTNOTE: Almost every traveler brings way too much stuff… which is not only hard to handle and costs more on the airlines. Think of this way… you may be riding an elephant, walking on a bamboo bridge, wading in the water from a pumpboat and hopping in and out of tricycles, buses, jeepneys and taxis, riding a horse… maybe even a water buffalo or camel. You can always purchase a few nice t-shirts… if your travel mate is tired of looking at the same outfit.



QUOTE: “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:Many people are afraid of the world beyond their door, yet the vast majority of humans are not thieves, murderers or rapists. They are people just like you and me who are trying to get by, to help their families and go about living their lives. There is no race, religion or nationality that is exempt from this rule. How they go about living their lives might be different, but their general goals are the same.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:Your travel memories.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS:Travel with your eyes wide open grasshopper… don’t be a techie junkie locked onto your cell phone, laptops, tablets, and your ears covered with blaring headphones.

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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Filed under adventure travel, Blogging, essentials for any travel trip, travel, travel research, travel trip, Uncategorized

Zentraveler explores Bohols chocolate hills, eco park and more!

Zentraveler stretching exercise to climb Chocolate Hills Viewing Area

We elected to arrange a full day tour with one of the tour operators at the Bohol sea port. The tour guide drivers are very courteous, good drivers, and provide lots of information about the different tourist spots. The tour vans are relatively new with aircon which makes the trip more enjoyable as you cruise through the countryside.

We left early in morning at six am as the famous chocolate hills were first on the list. Not only were we the first group there it was almost heavenly as we were surrounded by fog and clouds till the sun came bursting through… giving us an incredible view of the chocolate hills.

chocolate Hills

We took the 214 steps to the top of the observation hill providing many photo opportunities. They have safety rails, however if you are afraid of heights and not in good physical condition you may elect to stay at the base where they have a restaurant, bathroom facilities and many great views of the chocolate hills..

At the very top is a liberty type bell which I guess they use to call in the gods or to announce important events and holidays throughout Bohol.

chocolate Hills Bell

Exiting the chocolate hills we headed to the Loboc Eco Adventure Park which has a large reception center, clean restrooms and a magnificent zip line crossing the Loboc river. This is an excellent well-developed tourist destination for the adventurous.

Loboc Eco Adventure Park

Driving through the scenic mahogany forest and curvy roads we arrived at the Tarsier Conservation Area where we trekked on primitive trails with helpful guides to point out the mostly sleeping Tarsiers. As part of the parks guidelines management requests: if you have a flash camera digital or otherwise to please turn the flash off as this would disturb their sleep sequence. The guides are helpful and will assist with your camera if necessary. Tip! Wear good shoes… if the trails are wet they tend to be quite slippery.


The Philippine tarsier, (Tarsius syrichta) is very peculiar small animal. In fact it is one of the smallest known primates, no larger than a adult men’s hand. Mostly active at night, it lives on a diet of insects. Folk traditions sometimes has it that tarsiers eat charcoal, but actually they retrieve the insects from (sometimes burned) wood. It can be found in the islands of Samar, Leyte, Bohol, and Mindanao in the Philippines.

Tarsier Native Gift Store

From there we purchased some native carvings had a snack of the local fruits and drank fresh Buko “coconut water” and headed off to the Simply Butterflies Center which is highly educational as our tour guide told us about many types and styles of butterflies including their reproductive cycle molting stages. As you walk through the screened in outdoor room you are amongst a colorful tropical garden with hundreds of butterflies resting or flying… just waiting to be on Facebook.

Simply Butterflies Center

We headed to the Bohol Python and Wildlife Park to complete our tour for the day. The wildlife park is a fun place to visit and see some of their different animals, birds, and reptiles and photo the largest snake in captivity in its own cage. You can also purchase homemade cakes, snacks, and souvenirs and take interesting photographs.

Bohol Python & Wildlife Park

We ended our evening by going to the newer shopping mall where we just hung out and took a leisurely dinner.

So there you have it. If you enjoy travel adventure, like to see some of the wonders of the world and enjoy taking photographs… Bohol should definitely be high on your list as a tourist destination.

Perla Learning to Fly

QUOTE: “Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:The Chocolate Hills are probably Bohol’s most famous tourist attraction. They look like giant mole hills, or as some say, women’s breasts, and remind us of the hills in a small child’s drawing. Most people who first see pictures of this landscape can hardly believe that these hills are not a man-made artifact. However, this idea is quickly abandoned, as the effort would surely surpass the construction of the pyramids in Egypt. The chocolate hills consist of are no less than 1268 hills (some claim this to be the exact number). They are very uniform in shape and mostly between 30 and 50 meters high. They are covered with grass, which, at the end of the dry season, turns chocolate-brown. From this color, the hills derive their name. At other times, the hills are green, and the association may be a bit difficult to make.

Legend has it that the hills came into existence when two giants threw stones and sand at each other in a fight that lasted for days. When they were finally exhausted, they made friends and left the island, but left behind the mess they made. For the more romantically inclined is the tale of Arogo, a young and very strong giant who fell in love with an ordinary mortal girl called Aloya. After she died, the giant Arogo cried bitterly. His tears then turned into hills, as a lasting proof of his grief.

However, up to this day, even geologists have not reached consensus on how they were formed. The most commonly accept theory is that they are the weathered formations of a kind of marine limestone on top of an impermeable layer of clay. If you climb the 214 steps to the top of the observation hill near the complex, you can read this explanation on a bronze plaque.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:Old black and white photo postcards…nostalgia.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS:It’s all in zee travel…get off the couch grasshopper and keep moving…you never know whats around the next curve or corner.

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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Filed under adventure travel, Blogging, Bohol, Bohol Island, Bohol Python & Wildlife Park, Bohols Chocolate Hills, Loboc Eco Adventure Park, Simply Butterflies Center, Tarsier Conservation Area, Uncategorized

Zentraveler explores Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Philippines.

Tagbilaran City Port

Approaching Bohol Island from the water your eyes take in the seascape with Tagbilaran City situated along the waterfront in the distant. You can use the city as a jumping off point while visiting the island of Bohol or exit point for your return trip. Depending on your schedule… often times it is good to check into your hotel, get oriented, do some last-minute shopping, and seek out some of the city sites.

Newport Oak Pension Inn

We found a brand new pension house named Newport Oak Pension Inn centrally located with privacy gate and located next to a large public swimming pool. The staff was friendly, rooms priced in the 1000 pesos range, were clean and we would definitely recommend The Newport Oak Pension Inn for your accommodations while staying in Tagbilaran City.

We headed out to a local shopping center, where we had dinner at the Bohol Bee Farm Restaurant, purchased some herbal teas to bring home, and just hung out people watching… which is not yet an Olympic Sport, but it should be. People of all sizes and descriptions were cruising along the mall as if they were on a mission. Later on I learned many of them were on a mission… after we tasted their homemade ice-cream I was definitely on a mission. I devoured a double-decker homemade cone of banana, mango ice-cream. Yum Yum!

Oasis Resort

The following day our hotel manager flagged down a motorized tricycle and we negotiated a trip to tour Panglao Island. We ate lunch at the Oasis Resort centrally located close to Alona Beach, photographed a vintage church named San Augustin, and took a stroll on the beachfront where we witnessed many dive shops, restaurants and businesses… many owned by foreigners. Alona Beach is very picturesque with white sand beaches as long as the eye can see with palm trees swaying in the breeze and local fishing boats anchored just off shore.

San Augustin Vintage Church

We returned the scenic route back to our hotel, freshened up and headed to the towns capital park surrounded by churches, historic city buildings, and many colorful tropical plants within the park.You can purchase tropical plants from local vendor stalls located at both ends of the park. The park is an excellent place to hangout and has many benches for sitting. While observing the different Filipino families and tourists moving around and about you could witness the small children running and screaming… trying to catch one of the many pigeons wandering around seeking your attention and looking for a handout.

Garden Cafe Restaurant

Just beyond the church we discovered a vintage western motif restaurant named Garden Cafe… complete with authentic western saddles, photos and relics of yesteryear. We sat in our booth and noticed a phone with a small sign: the waiters and waitresses are deaf, so after they bring you your menus simply pick up the phone call in your order and it will be delivered to your table asap. What a great asset to be able to help these special people to be gainfully employed in a high-end restaurant. Kudos to the owners and management…we need to see more examples of this in our travels.

The upstairs houses the restaurant /museum portion. Not only does it have a true Old West atmosphere but it even has mounted horse saddles that customers can climb on and take a ride. Country music fills the air and a customer truly feels like they are a part of the wild, wild west.

The food at the Garden Cafe is wonderful with the most extensive menu in the province. European, American, Chinese, and Filipino dishes blend together to meet the likes of all customers. A great dining experience highly recommended and should be on your to do list while visiting Tagbilaran City.

Alona Beach

So there you have it! Tagbilaran City has its own modern port and airport many points of interest, good restaurants close proximity to Panglao Island and Alona Beach and makes a great jumping off point for touring the rest of Bohol Island. What are you waiting for grasshopper book your Bohol Island trip today.

Alona Beach Restaurant Scene

QUOTE:”Camp out among the grass and gentians of glacier meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of Nature’s darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” — John Muir, Yosemite Valley, 1898

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: “What is adventure? If a lone wolf lifts his plaintive call into the moonlight near your campsite, you might call that adventure. While you’re sweating like a horse on a climb over a 12,000 foot pass, that could be adventure. When howling head winds press your lips against your teeth, you face a mighty struggle. When your pack grows heavy on your shoulders as your climb a 14,000 foot peak, you feel the adventure. When you suffer freezing temperatures and 20 inches of fresh powder on a hut to hut trip in the Rockies, that could be called adventure. But that’s not what makes an adventure. It’s your willingness to conquer it, and to present yourself at the doorstep of nature. That creates the experience. No more greater joy can come from life than to live inside a moment of adventure. It is the uncommon wilderness experience that gives your life expectation.”
– Frosty Wooldridge, Golden, Colorado

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:Purchase an external drive and copy all of your photo images onto external drive so you have a backup system…your computer could crash and lose all of your photo images. Ugh!

ZENTRAVELER SAYS:It’s all in Zee travel, travel via the internet, travel with your imagination and like the Nike ad says: “JUST DO IT”. Get off the couch grasshopper and travel. It’s later than you think…. or is it?

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

Leave a comment

Filed under adventure travel, Alona Beach, Bohol, Bohol Bee Farm Restaurant, Bohol Island, Garden Cafe, Newport Oak Pension Inn, Oasis Resort, Panglao Island, San Augustin Church, Tagbilaran City, travel, Uncategorized, writing

Zentraveler explores city of Tuguegarao, Philippines.

Horse Drawn Carriage City Views

Leaving Aparri we took a travel van, approximately two and one half hours, which took us directly through miles and miles of rice fields… allowing you to marvel at nature and man’s ingenuity for supplying the nation’s food basket. We proceeded directly to Tuguegarao City where we checked into our internet reserved hotel and took some time to explore the city.

Local Church

A fair question might be…. what are your travel goals and expectations? Basically, when I arrive at a new city I look for historical markers, churches, museums, unique architecture, wildlife,zoos,flower gardens,restaurants,
shopping malls, and points of interest in and around the city. Not a perfect guideline, but if you ask at your hotel to recommend a restaurant, a taxi driver, a tour operator… many times you can save time and money by just asking the right questions. Sometimes the internet websites show a great looking hotel, but it is located completely outside the city or in center of a crime or blighted area. If this happens to you simply chose another hotel.

When you arrive at your hotel you want to make sure it is well situated, well lighted and has general safety in and around your hotel. Ask to see the room and look for cleanliness, size and type of bed, condition of mattress etc. So many of the hotel establishments spray heavy chemicals throughout the room to cover up bad smells and cigarette smoke….as I am highly allergic to heavy chemicals smells, I will leave and look for another hotel.

Shopping Center Scene

We headed into the center of town where we toured a local shopping center and took photos of local churches and city life. We hired an 83-year-old man on a horse-drawn carriage to give us a tour of the city, which not only helps the tourist industry, but allows you to slow down and see the sights. We headed off for dinner at a local Chinese Restaurant named Crown Restaurant, where we ate exotic stuffed fish and thanked our lucky stars for the find.

Stuffed Fish Crown Restaurant

Often overlooked by tourists, the following day we hired a motorized tricycle to take us two and one half kilometers from the city proper to the longest freshwater bridge in the Philippines. Named Butun Bridge. the 1.098 kilometer bridge spanning over the Cagayan River makes an excellent photo stop. On our hotel staff recommendation for good seafood, we took dinner at City Seafoods Restaurant, where we ate tuna sashimi, fresh fish of the day, and stir fried vegetables. Excellent fresh fish… plus friendly restaurant staff makes City Seafoods a good restaurant choice. The following morning we headed to the Tuguegarao Airport for our return trip to Bantayan Island.

Buntun Bridge

There are many Festivals with Celebrations of life and abundance in and around Tuguegarao and Cagayan Valley that celebrate the activities close to Cagayano’s hearts. their means of livelihood, religious events, and anniversaries of key historical events. This would be a good time for visitors to see and experience first-hand the warm welcoming nature of the Cagayanos.

So there you have it. In a few word synopsis: Tuguegarao is a bustling economic city in the heart of the food basket with several shopping centers, many small businesses and jam-packed with literally hundreds, if not thousands of motorized tricycles..for a about ten pesos or so you can go from mid-town to outskirts and vice versa. Even if things aren’t perfect and the weather is not exactly cooperating as you would like… you can still find many things of interest and even find some good culinary experiences along the way. Yum Yum!

Jet Prop Plane

QUOTE:“Travel does what good novelists also do to the life of everyday, placing it like a picture in a frame or a gem in its setting, so that the intrinsic qualities are made more clear. Travel does this with the very stuff that everyday life is made of, giving to it the sharp contour and meaning of art.” – Freya Stark

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Known as the spelunker’s, trekker’s and gamefisher’s paradise rolled in one, Cagayan Valley provides a never-ending adventure. The province is now being promoted as an adventure and eco-tourism destination. Both foreign and local tourists continue to explore its caves, engage in game fishing expeditions, trek its mighty mountains and retreat to its centuries old churches.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:Fishes of the Cagayan River…specifically the Lobed River Mullet. Because of over poaching, the highly sought after, excellent tasting fish of the Cagayan River is heading toward extinction. If something isn’t done to protect the species it will join another long list of extinction is forever. Start blogging, write letters, spend money grasshopper. If you don’t do something… who will?

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Don’t be a couch potato Grasshopper. Do the research, book your travel time, and get moving…it’s later than you think on this earthly planet. I’ve been told if you have enough passport stamps and travel time, when you arrive at the next galaxy you can travel for FREE for the next millennium.

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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Filed under adventure travel, Blogging, Buntun Bridge, Cagayan Valley, City Seafoods, Crown Restaurant, eco-tourism destination, lobed river mullet, travel, Tuguegarao City, Uncategorized

Zentraveler travels to nature resort and Aparri, Philippines!

Baua Beach Resort

Leaving Santa Ana we took a travel van to the bridge at the town of Gonzaga and traveled about a mile down a dirt road to arrive at Baua Beach Resort. A secluded and relaxing resort located right in the north-eastern tip of Luzon in the town of Gonzaga, province of Cagayan. Baua Beach Resort is fronting the Babuyan Channel and South China Sea, surrounded by the breathtaking Sierra Madre Mountains at the back. This time of the year during typhoon season we had the resort to our selves and had the luxury of just hanging around and enjoying the scenery and taking photos.

South China Sea

From there we took a motorized tricycle to the bus depot and waited a short time where we got a jeepney going direct to the city of Aparri. If you ever wanted to see miles and miles of green rice fields this is the perfect opportunity. Traveling alongside some of the Philippines largest rice plantations you can see a sea of green grass waving in the wind. Bright green rice fields in every stage of production with individual workers with large straw hats scattered among the rice fields, either planting, weeding or harvesting. Is quite impressive to witness and would be an excellent subject for a landscape portrait artist or photographer.

Arriving at Aparri we checked into the Riverview Royal Hotel located on the main road on the outskirts of Aparri. The hotel is relatively new, well-managed, has a restaurant, is clean and a favorite for travelers and businessmen. They also have a security guard who can arrange local transport and the entire staff is friendly and helpful. The hotel overlooks the Cagayan River with a view from the top floor. I told Perla the Cagayan River is the wildest and longest river in the Philippines and runs north emptying directly into The South China Sea.

The Cagayan river is also home to the most tasty and expensive freshwater fish in the Philippines and can be taken during breeding season in murky waters. A rare species of fish in the Philippines that sells for P5,000 a kilo is facing rougher waters as poachers continue to threaten its population. The lobed river mullet or Ludong, endemic to the Cagayan Valley region, is a treasured fish believed to be an annual gift of the river goddess to the Ibanags or to the people living by the Cagayan River.

Riverview Royal Hotel, Aparri

Aparri is one of biggest commercial centers north of Manila has a long and colorful history. According to a legend, Captain Pablo de Carreon, a native of Spain, landed at the site of Aparri in 1581 at about dinnertime. The Vizcaya colloquial term meaning to take dinner in Aparri, thus the place was called Aparri.

The seaport of Aparri located at the north of the Cagayan River was discovered In 1581, by Captain Juan Pablo Careon, of Spain. One hundred soldiers fully equipped with arms and ammunition and other provisions, came to Cagayan with their families by order of the Spanish Civil Governor, to explore the Cagayan Valley and to convert the natives to Christianity as well as to establish ecclesiastical missions and towns throughout the valley. This was the first batch of Spanish settlers in the Cagayan Valley who introduced Spanish culture and Latin civilization, enriching primitive culture, customs, and tradition.

On June 29, 1583, Don Juan de Salcedo traced the northern coastline of Luzon and set foot on the Massi (Pamplona), Tular, and Aparri areas. The Spanish friars soon established mission posts in Camalaniugan and Lallo, which became the seat of Nueva Segovia established on August 14, 1595. The Spanish influence can still be seen in the massive churches and other buildings that the Spaniards built for the spiritual and social welfare of the people.

Calapao Garden Restaurant

We hired a tricycle to take us to a local restaurant with native cuisine named Calapao Garden Restaurant situated in a pleasant outdoor atmosphere with an extensive menu. We ordered the fresh fish of the day, stir fried veggies and fresh mangoes. Good service and tasty fresh foods. We then proceeded to the interior of Aparri where we went along the wharf to witness and photograph the Cagayan River emptying into the ocean. Since it was running murky after the typhoon… it reminded me of the mighty Mississippi River from the United States during spring run-off.

Cagayan River meets China South Sea-Aparri

The following morning we boarded a travel van and traveled approximately two and one half hours to Tuguegarao City where we checked into our reserved hotel for a couple of nights stay before heading back to Cebu.

QUOTE:”Medicine and disease cure each other. The entire earth is medicine. What is the self?” —Essential Zen

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Rice is the primary food for more than half the people in the world. It is the seed of a grass and is the staple of many cuisines from Asia to Mexico to Africa because it is rich in protein, starch, minerals, and vitamins, and low in calories and fat. It is versatile enough to be an integral part of an entrée or a dessert.


ZENTRAVELER SAYS:Eat more rice… as there over 120,000 different varieties and makes a perfect anti-cancer micro-biotic diet. Eat your rice grasshoppers, but save some for us mortals.

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

Leave a comment

Filed under adventure travel, Aparri, Baua Beach Resort, Blogging, Cagayan River, Calapao Garden Restaurant, Riverview Royal Hotel, travel, Uncategorized