Category Archives: travel trip

Zentraveler pumpboats to Estancia, Panay Island, Philippines

Estancia Pumpboat

Estancia Pumpboat

We left Bantayan port and took a four and one half hour pumpboat to the town of Estancia, located in the province of Iloilo. The town of Estancia is famous for its good seafood and has been nicknamed Little Alaska because of its abundant seafood.

Estancia is a good jumping off point for travelers from Bantayan Island traveling to Roxas or Illio City and beyond to Boracay. Estancia has a huge wholesale wet fish market where the workers are often paid in fish who they give to their familes or sell. Estancia is a typical Filipino town with many small shops and eateries and motorized tricycles to take you to your resort destination or bus stop.

There is an excellent island excursion approximately one and half hours by pumpboat which is primitive and hasn’t changed much for centuries. You can arrange to take a public pumpboat or hire a tour guide to deliver you directly to Gigante Island. As accommodations are very limited it is important to make arrangements ahead of time to ensure you have a place to stay. Reportedly, you’ll find no resorts beyond simple beach huts, no restaurants or stores so you’ll have to bring what you need. But, you will find unspoiled white coral beaches, climbing and hiking opportunities and great photos just waiting to be taken.

Paon Resort

Paon Resort


We chose to stay at the Paon Resort and Beach club just on the outskirts of town. It has a great restaurant and large swimming pool with many accommodations to handle large groups, conventions, weddings and the like. The staff was very friendly and helpful which certainly helps any traveler have a memorable stay and the fresh seafood meals were exceptional.

Olympic style swim pool

Olympic style swim pool


From there we traveled to our next resort Villa Consorcia about 25 minutes from Roxas and settled into a great vista and large swimming pool with the largest sliding board in the province. They also had several good restaurants, a local bar and a friendly staff.
Villa Consorcia Resort

Villa Consorcia Resort

We took a bus to Roxas City deemed the Seafood Capital of the Philippines where we elected to shop, take photos of historic churches and try out a few eateries. We headed to restaurant row along the seaside famous for it’s seafood. Baybay Beach is where you could dine and eat fresh seafoods from the restaurants by the beach. They have a wide array of fresh seafoods to chose from. There were Diwal (Angel’s wing), Talaba (Oysters), Scallops, Tahong, Blue Marlin and many others. The beach is very rugged and has fine gray sand. While, the People’s Park provides a very nice view of the beach and the nearby island of Mantalinga. It would be best to visit it during sunset as you could just watch the sun simply disappear in the horizon while the sky turns into multitude of colors.

Seaside Restaurant

Seaside Restaurant


From Roxas at Banica wharf there is a remote island only one hour by pumpboat, Referred to as the “Mini-Boracay” and named Olotayan Island. The island is blessed with serene shores with white sand mixing with corals washed ashore by strong waves. Olotayan beach offers a tranquil and relaxing setting ideal for adventurers, honeymooners, or businessman who want to get away from the hustle and bustle.

We then traveled from Roxas City to Culasi Port approximately 20 minute tricycle ride past the airport which is the jumping off point for one of the most undiscovered islands in the Philippines. It is called Sibuyan Island, also well-known as the Galapagos of Asia because of all of its diverse fauna and flora and has a myriad of natural wonders. Located in the Visayas, in the heart of the Philippines and is described also as green ‘pearl’ in the center of the Sibuyan-Sea. Be prepared to go on a pumpboat during good weather… approx five to seven hours and make sure you have made accommodations ahead of time as they have very little in resort facilities.

Port to Island

Culasi Port to Sibuyan Island

So there you have it. If you want to see and learn about the Real Philippines… why not spend some time traveling around some of the most undiscovered areas and natural wonders and if nothing else capture the moment!

Jeepney

Jeepney

QUOTE:“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.” —Dalai Lama

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:The abundance of marine life makes Roxas City the “Seafood Capital of the Philippines.” This environment-friendly city is home to one of the richest fishing grounds in the country. Being a recipient of the Cleanest and Greenest Component City in Western Visayas Award in the Gawad Pangulo sa Kapaligiran (GPK) Cleanliness and Environmental contest is a clear testament of its people’s commitment in ensuring a healthier and brighter future for all its residents and visitors as well. Recently, Roxas City has been a recipient of major awards from various government agencies. The Department of Health (DOH) awarded this city with the Red Orchid Award for being “100 percent tobacco-free.” It has also gained the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Seal of Good Housekeeping and lauded the Best Police Station in the region by the Philippine National Police.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:Save the Planet! Plant a tree: It’s good for the air, the land, can shade your house and save on cooling and they can also improve the value of your property. Make it meaningful for the whole family and plant a tree every year for each member.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS:If you got the travel bug…bug spray won’t help you.

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 Baybay Beach, Estancia, Gigante Island, Paon Resort and Beach Club, Roxas City, travel, travel trip, Uncategorized, Villa Consorcia

Zentraveler explores Camiguin Island, Philippines

Camiguin Island

Camiguin Island


Camiguin Island is known as the island “Born of Fire”. It has seven volcanoes and several volcanic domes.
Volcanic eruptions have created this spectacular island which is full of natural wonders and historical riches.

Camiguin’s uniqueness lies in its varied terrain, pristine natural environment and rustic setting. Camiguin is one of the Philippines’s most beautiful islands…a virtual paradise where tourists can experience a sample of untouched beauty in its entirety. The perfect place for eco-adventures and discovery.

Camiguin Island in a part of Mindanao Province, however it is only two and half hours by fast-craft from Bohol Island. We chose to go on the night ferry from Cebu which takes approximately 13 hours. We left from Cebu Pier 8 and chose the aircon section with sleeping berths. The cost was 1000 pesos per person. On our return trip we left from Benomi Port by fast craft two and one half hours and arrived at Jagna seaport in Bohol. We then took a travel van 100 pesos one hour and arrived at the main port in Tagbilaran City. From there we took fast-craft to Cebu, another two hours arriving at Pier 1. This trip was nearly the same cost with the advantages being only four and a half hours on the water vs 13 hours on the night ferry. However as a trade off… if you go by night ferry you arrive directly on the island. They also have direct flights from Manila and sometimes Cebu…beter to check with the airlines.

My first impression of the island was it reminded me of a paradise south seas island, with its lush vegetation many volvanoes, waterfalls, mountain springs and interesting history. Camiguin is blessed with many tourist destinations which can easily be seen within one week vacation. There is a good road circumventing the entire island which is about 68 kilometers and can be toured with a rented motorcycle, tricycle, or tour guide. It has one main capital named Mambajao where most of the resorts are located close by. In Mambajao you can find a market, atm machines, and a rooftop hotel with a good restaurant.

Motorized Triycle

Motorized Triycle


The remainder of the island is rather remote and rustic with a few small towns dotted along the coastal road. There are two ferry ports one located near the capital and a brand new major port located at Benomi Port. We elected to stay a three different resorts to get a feel for the island and in different locations.

Our first resort is only a few kilometers from Benomoi Port and is located at Tanguines lagoon. We stayed at the Fishpen Resort in a small cottage right on the lagoon amongst the many fishpens which you can either catch your own fish, select one from the fishpen, or order fresh from the menu.

Fishpen Resort

Fishpen Resort


Our next resort was the Egnimata Tree House located near Mambajao, which is an artists haven. We stayed in the shell room or honeymoon room on the second floor and was amazed at all of the artistic touches… including an impressive elephant tusk outdoor sculpture created by a native artist.
Enigmata Tree House

Enigmata Tree House


Our last resort was on the side of the island near the Sunken Cemetery and Bura Soda Springs and is named D and A Cottages Resort. It has a large reception area and restaurant with quaint cottages built over the cliff looking directly onto the ocean. It also has a nice swimming pool where you can view the mountain volcanoes and relax…watching the changing lights in the pool at night. The staff is friendly and professional and make you feel welcome and a part of their family… making us want a return visit in the future.

D and A Cottages Resort

D and A Cottages Resort

We chose to rent relas (motorized tricycles) for 100 pesos per hour and went to the Ardent Hot springs, near Mambajao which is wonderful to just hang out in the hot springs stream coming from the mountain volcano. They have a restaurant and cottages for rent and offer massages at reasonable prices. From there we viewed White Island just across from Paras Resort. The following day we photographed the Sunken Cemetery, climbed three kilometers straight up a mountain trail named: Walkway to the Old Volcano and witnessed the Stations of the Cross.

Ardent Hot Springs

Ardent Hot Springs


After a night swim at D and A Resort we planned our next day which included a day trip to Burla Soda Springs located only about 4 kilometers from D and A Resort. The springs originate in the volcanic mountains and have a great swim area. The water tastes like club-soda and makes you super relaxed plus your hair is soft and shiny.
Bura Soda Springs

Bura Soda Springs


The following day we went to the Sto Nino Cold Springs located four kms from Catarman which is a large spring and swimming area at the base of a mountain volcano. We returned to Fishpen Resort and walked to the Mangrove Park and Eco Park and had an excellent lunch at Lagoon Bistro. With fish jumping and splashing on a moonlight night we drifted off to sleep. The following morning we took the fastcraft to Bohol from Benomi Port.
Camiguen Island 154

So there you have it! Camiguen Island is a great tourist destination with something for everyone. A great zipline at Fishpen Resort, rent a motorcycle and tour the island, visit one of many dive resorts, swim, soak, and relax in many of its natural springs, learn some history and take photographs till the cows come home. Whats not to like? They are beginning to gear up for major tourism….so get off the couch grasshopper so you can see with your big bug-eyes before its to late. We are talking natural and unspoiled…just saying.

Camiguin Island

Camiguin Island

QUOTE: “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” —author unknown

Camiguen Island 205

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:The island of Camiguin lies in the Bohol Sea in the south of the Philippines. It is a small pear-shaped, volcanic island between the islands of Bohol, to the north, and Mindanao, to the south. Camiguin and Mindanao are only separated by a narrow strait. Population approximately 67,000 people.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Your Back…travel light.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Its all in zee travel! Really?

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 Camiguin Island, D and A Cottages Resort, Enigmata Tree House, travel trip, 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 Skyscanner.com 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.

Thailand

Thailand

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