The Hundred Islands of Pangasinan via Anda Route


Philippines is made up of 7,107 islands however 7 of which islands disappear during high tide. One of the islands that disappears is situated in the most popular tourist spot in Pangasinan - The Hundred Islands National Park.

Although it is called hundred, the Hundred Islands comprises 124 islands at high tide and 123 islands at low tide. However, only 3 of them have been developed for tourists, namely: Governor Island, Quezon Island, and Children's Island.

This was actually not my first time in Pangasinan. I've already been to Anda, Pangasinan (known as the "Mother Island of the Hundred Islands") in 2009 because this is my friend's province and she invited our group to visit her hometown. We were still in college back then and have a limited and tight budget. Island hopping was just a dream. So now that we are all professionals, we're proud to say that "it's pay back time".

During our 2009 visit (photo from Gladys Dizon)
Look at us now! 2012 visit ;] (photo from Edward Calugtong)
So, our itinerary will start in Anda and not in Alaminos, Pangasinan which is the vicinity of the Hundred Islands. Therefore, this is just an alternative route.

How to get there?
One can take a ride going to Anda, Pangasinan at Five Star bus terminal situated in Rotonda, Pasay. Travel time is about 5-6 hours and the fare is 410 pesos. From Anda, Rina (a friend who invited us) used her connections to rent tricycle at Anda terminal that took us in the port where our Hundred Islands hopping will start. From the port, we rented a boat from a local boatman. It's just a matter of bidding. A good bidder will save more in this trip. Back and Forth, both the tricycle and boat ride only cost each of us 500 pesos. Well, it's quite reasonable for a small group like ours. Note: we brought our own food in this trip because the food in the island will be so much expensive.

One of those 124 islands (photo from Gladys Dizon)
There are lots of interesting islands in Hundred Islands National Park just like the Marcos Island, Cuenco Island, Paniki Island and Turtle Island. However, for this blog entry I will just serve you the 3 well-developed islands of this national park:

The Children's Island is the ideal island for family getaway especially for those who have children with them. Children's Island beach water is suited for children because there are lots of shallow spots in this island compared to Governor Island and Quezon Island. Parents and guardians will not worry as their child/children swim and play along the shore. For adults, you can just go further until you reach your desired water level.

Children's Island is crowded during our visit (photo from Gladys Dizon)
Look at those golden kids swimming alone (photo from Gladys Dizon)
The Governor Island is the perfect spot to photograph the Hundred Islands. Though not all islands are visible, Governor Island's peak can showcase a beautiful arrangement of islands and islets. However, one will need to trek to be able to reach the island's view deck. Don't worry because the trail is easy, short and will not take hours of walk. The group were so captivated to the place and decided to stay here to eat and do the swim. Aside from that, the Governor island that time was not crowded so we didn't take risk going to Quezon Island and do the long stay because we taught it might be crowded there just like the Children's Island.

Trail going to the view deck (photo from Gladys Dizon)
Governor Island's view deck! (photo from Gladys Dizon)
That's Julius and can you spot my friend Byron? (photo from Gladys Dizon)
There's this house that is popular in Governor Island called the Governor's House which is also known as the Pinoy Big Brother House. Yes that's right. This has been the guest house when the PBB housemates visited the Hundred Islands. I believe it was the batch of Kim Chui who stayed in this house. The house can accommodate 8-10 people at the price of 10,000 pesos.

The Governor's House also known as the PBB House (photo from Gladys Dizon)
Last among the 3 developed island is the Quezon Island. Quezon Island is named after the late President Manuel Quezon who proclaimed the area as the Philippines' first National Park. The island has lots of cottages and nipa huts, a grilling area, a convenient store, and restrooms. With all those pointers, Quezon Island is the most frequented stayed island of tourists and visitors. There is also a bridge that connects Quezon Island to another island. Aside from that, Giant clams are visible on the beach which is a fascinating view for someone who lives in the city like me.

Port of Quezon Island (photo from Gladys Dizon)
Look who we bump to! He's Buko de Ap! Hehehe (photo from Gladys Dizon)
You can also do kayaking, snorkeling, diving, and fishing in different parts of the National Park. Don't hesitate to ask your "bangkero" or boatman where is the best part to do those kind of stuff.

What's good in this trip is that since we took the Anda route, Tondol beach is just a few distance away. Tondol beach is one of the best, if not the best beach in Pangasinan. It has been called as the little Boracay of Pangasinan. A good side trip isin't it?

By the way I also had a photoshoot with my model-esque friends, Paula and Gladys at Governor Island.

Doing it like a pro!
Natural wind in the air
Senioritas of Governor Island

A City Tour: Different Tourist Spots in Cebu City


Before I head on nature tripping at the province of Cebu, our group decided to explore first the city. Aside from being the second largest city next to Manila, Cebu City is also the oldest city of the Philippines which makes it a significant cultural capital of the country. Wherein the sign of Spanish cultivation is distinct in different parts of Cebu.

Looks like Manila huh? (photo from William Bryan Cua)
As for our tour in the rich culture of Cebu, we mainly visited churches and museum alike to get to know well the city, the people, and the province as well. By the way, the group rented an ac-van which costs us 3,250 pesos. It picks us up from the airport, driven us down to our hotel to drop off our luggage, a whole-day city tour, and it drove us back again to our hotel at the end of the tour. We're 11 in group so it is only around 295 pesos per head. Commute-free and air conditioned tour, not bad!

So let the city tour begin!

The Taoist Temple

Look at those very intricate design
Residing in Beverly Hills Subdivision in Cebu City, this temple was built by a Cebu Chinese community. Unlike the the nearby temple named Phu Sian which was also built by a Chinese Community, Cebu Taoist Temple is open to public. So even non worshipers alike can visit the temple. However since this place is a Taoist Sanctuary of Prayers and Meditation, all visitors should also observe solemnity. Taking pictures of the Gods and inside the prayer room is strictly prohibited. Please abide rules to prevent confiscation of your gadgets. Aside from that, you can take pictures anywhere around the temple.

Seems like it was shot in China. By the way that's Anna (Author of Stupid Banana)
The Taoist Temple is comprised of a chapel, a library, a souvenir shop and a wishing well and it stands at 300 MASL. The balcony offers the downtown Cebu and Mactan. The Taoist temple is open from 8am-5pm. Temple facilitators were said to be strict when it comes to time so don't go there if you think you will reach the place beyond 5pm.

More tourists shot pose. Aizel (left) and Rina (right)
My very own tourist shot pose.

Fort San Pedro

Welcome to Fort Santiago... ooops, I mean Fort San Pedro (photo from Byron Cantonjos)
One can be quite familiar to this place if you are a Manileño. It is because Fort San Pedro of Cebu is somehow resemble to the Fort Santiago of Intramuros, Manila. Fort San Pedro is situated at Barangay San Roque in Cebu City. It serves as a military defense structure during the Spanish time in the country. Now, Fort San Pedro is one of the historical spots in Cebu City and known as the oldest and smallest fort in the Philippines.

Just playing with the open door. By the way that's Paula and Edward in the photo
A nice Sto. Niño on top of the entrance
It is also converted into a museum/park wherein a 30 pesos will be given out as an entrance fee if you want to explore the area. Displayed in the fort are documents, paintings, porcelain pieces, cannons and other Spanish artifacts.

Some of the items found inside Fort San Pedro (photo from Byron Cantonjos)

Basilica Del Sto. Niño

Basilica Del Sto. Niño, old yet standing still (photo from Gladys Dizon)
Also known as the Basilica of the Holy Child. This place is the oldest Roman Catholic church built in the country. Basilica Del Sto. Niño has also been the the roof of the oldest religious image in the Philippines and that is the Miraculous Image of the Holy Child Jesus also called as Señior Santo Niño. Aside from that, Basilica Del Sto. Niño was established at the exact location where the image of Santo Niño was found during Miguel Lopez de Legazpi's exploration in Cebu way back 1565. Lots of old stuff are situated in Cebu which makes this place interesting.

Inside and outside scene of the church
Picture taking at the garden. Byron, the author of Baron the Explorer

Magellan's Cross

The famous cross of Magellan (photo from Byron Cantonjos)
Just a few steps away from the Basilica Del Sto. Niño, the famous cross of Cebu resides. The Magellan's Cross was planted by the Spanish explorers led by Ferdinand Magellan as they landed in the city of Cebu in 1521. The arrival of the cross is also said to be the arrival of Christianity in the country. Today, the cross is housed at the center of a chapel found at Magellanes Street, Cebu City. A marker at the foot of the cross stated that the original cross that planted by Magellan is encased inside a Tindalo wood. Well I guess that is their way to protect and preserve the original cross from being destroyed.

This is an interesting fact

Mactan Shrine

Mactan Shrine, located in Lapu-Lapu City, is a must see spot for those people who are interested in the history of the Philippines. It is where the battle between Ferdinand Magellan and Datu Lapu Lapu took place in 1521. Also, this is said to be the place where Magellan was killed in the hand of Datu Lapu Lapu. Today, the battle ground is now turned into a historical park where people can visit and read markings of what happened in this place a hundred years ago. Inside Mactan Shrine lies two famous shrine - the Magellan Shrine and the Lapu Lapu Shrine. Magellan Shrine is a 98 feet monument that was built in honor to the Portuguese explorer that was asked to find a western sea route to Asia -- Ferdinand Magellan. Yes, he has been an enemy by this country however his contribution as a navigator is still should be recognized.

(Left - photo from Byron Cantonjos)

Just a few meters away from the Magellan Monument is the Lapu Lapu Shrine. It is a 66 feet bronze statue of the first native Filipino who resists from being colonized by the Spanish invaders. The statue projects the Datu's braveness and fearlessness as it stands facing toward the sea and seems like still guarding the land from future attempt of colonization - which I find so cool!

Taboan Market

Let the bidding begin!!! (photo from Byron Cantonjos)
And before we went back to our hotel, we visited the Taboan Market. This is a popular place where people can buy local souvenir items and famous delicacies of Cebu (like dried mangoes, danggit, otap, others). Inshort, Taboan Market is the "Pasalubong Haven" of Cebu. The price of goods here are all negotiable so if you want to save up for your "pasalubongs" you should be good in "tawaran" or bidding. Note: At the end of your tour in Taboan Market you will smell like dried fish too. Promise! Hahaha

Additional city tour destination: Sky Experience Adventure

Conquering our fear
Please click the link for the full details of this adventure:

And that's the end of my city tour at Cebu City! Yey! There are still lots of other beautiful and meaningful spots in Cebu but I have to leave it that way just for now. I guess I have to go back again here and explore it the next time. It seems like easy but even though we had fun, this tour is really tiring and draining. So make sure to charge up and you're energize before getting in to action. Unlike us who didn't have enough sleep and drive right after we landed at Cebu (No sleep since our flight at 3:45am). Look how exhausted we are in between the tour.

Look who's sleeping very soundly... hahahaha (photo from Gladys Dizon)
But I have no regrets with our itinerary. The more place to visit, the better the tour!!! And this wrap up my entry.

Kawasan Falls of Badian, Cebu


Aside from the hospitable people, Cebu is well known for its magnificent nature spots ranging from diving spots up to its clean and fresh bodies of water. One of which is the wonderful Kawasan Falls. Kawasan Falls is shared in the blogging community as one of the admirable attraction in Cebu, therefore I should experience and see it myself.

How to get there?
Matutinao, Badian is the town where Kawasan falls lies. It is a 3 - 4 hours travel from the City of Cebu and one can take a bus ride at the Cebu South Bus Terminal. Take any of these two bus lines: the Ceres Bus and the Rough Riders Bus. There is an alternative aside from taking buses at Cebu South Bus Terminal and that is to take a bus at Librando Terminal. Either of these three will bring you to the town of Badian. Bus fare is around 120 pesos.

The ride is pretty long so just relax and enjoy the view but as for us who had a 5am call time for this trip, it is an ideal time to gasp more sleep and charge up. We also took our breakfast on the road to conserve time and be on Badian the soonest time possible because we're all excited  to witness its wonder.

sharp eyesight is needed to be able to see them
(Photo from William Cua)
Alight at Matutinao Church, you will be mobbed by men soliciting for their tour services which I found annoying because they are being persuasive in a wrong way. Tip: Just ignore them. You don't need a guide because the trail going to the heart of Kawasan is easy and pretty obvious where to go. We got a guide and it was unnecessary. From our experience, guide may only be useful if you have lots of things to carry. You can give it to them as their service to you. Before you start trekking, get ready with 10 pesos as for registration fee. We trekked for about 15-20 mins which along the way we saw divers wild plants and monkeys that are swinging on the trees. I also noticed that the environment is clean and really taking good care by the locals. At the end of the trail we gave our guide 150 pesos (it is a group decision on how much you will pay your guide). By the way if you have your private vehicle with you, you can leave it in front of Matutinao Church and a 100 pesos mandatory fee will be charged.

The Mother Falls of Kawasan (Photo from Byron Cantonjos)
As we saw the first falls (since Kawasan is a cascade of falls), everyone was like, "wow" in the sense of being amazed with its beauty and tallness. From a far, we can still hear the strong splash as the water reaches the ground. It really made me excited!

But before we all go swimming and go wild, we first tried the bamboo raft. Heads up! Aside from the 300 pesos fee of the bamboo ride, your rafting guide(s) will also ask you to pay them. Make sure you ask how the raft is going to cost and how much each "guide" will charge you to eliminate misunderstanding which happened to us. Don't overpay for the bamboo ride and fix the price in advance. We had 3 rafting guide so we decided to give them 200 pesos each.

Off we go!
We start to feel the coldness of the water from that position
This bamboo ride will take you to the waterfalls and the raft will move carefully until you're all expose to the pressure of the water which makes a good water massage. One of your guide will choreograph the position you can do which target parts of your body and have it massage by the water pressure. Some group activities are really fun and we were all like screaming and laughing at the same time. It was a refreshing experience and people who'll visit the place should try it out.

Team Showtime position! 

After the bamboo ride, our group started exploring the other parts/falls of Kawasan. All of it have unpredictable water levels so for non swimmers you may rent safety vest at the first falls.

One of the few falls of Kawasan (Photo from Gladys Dizon)
I'm really paddling my feet so hard here. Caution: deep water, no joke (Photo from Byron Cantonjos)
There's another bamboo raft at the last station (Photo from Gladys Dizon)
We saw some folks jumping on a cliff at the last station, so we, Julius, Baron and I, decided to also give it a try. Apart from that, people who first jumped confirmed us that the level of water that we're going to land is deep and assured us that it is safe to do that kind of stuff in the area. The height of the jumping zone is 3-4 times of my height so it around 15-20 feet. I was scared then but excitement ruled me more. So I just prayed, jumped, and screamed!  After that jump, I was so happy that I can still do things despite the injury I had during our Mt Tabayoc climb. I guess nothing has changed and that I am back to my abnormal state. Yeah!

Baron, Author of Baron the Explorer (left) and Julius (right) (Photo from Gladys Dizon)
My version of our mini cliff jump! (Photo from Byron Cantonjos)
After our trek on the other parts of Kawasan Falls, we went back again to the first falls and spent some time there laughing, swimming, and having fun. Note: Don't take warnings who say that you need a guide in order for you to swim. You can go alone for as long as you know your capability as a swimmer. Just enjoy the cold water and the beautiful view of Kawasan Falls.

Photo op! (Photo from Byron Cantonjos)
Breakdown of Expense:
Transportation: 120 pesos (from Cebu South Bus Terminal - Badian)
Registration Fee: 10 pesos
Tour Guide: 150 pesos (good for group sharing; still negotiable)
Entrance Fee:
Bamboo Raft: 300 (good for group sharing)
Bamboo Raft Guide(s): 200 pesos each (good for group sharing; still negotiable)
Life Vest: 50 pesos
Chairs and Table: 300 pesos (good for group sharing)