Friday, April 30, 2010


In my years of traveling, I always look forward to the different modes of transportation that will take me to my destination....

Airplanes are, of course, the fastest way around. My favorite part is when the plane is taking off... that moment when you feel its full speed as it runs on the ground, and slowly taking off to defy gravity. My least favorite part is the landing... the uncertainty of getting that smooth transition from being airborne to being in contact with the ground.

Riding a small plane is one adventure I will never forget. Each of the production team was assigned his/her own plane. I felt like a VIP! The lightness and size of the plane were enough to make me really scared, as soon as we took off. You felt so vulnerable and you could actually feel how the wind up there affects your flying. But the magnificent view made me forget my fear... The plane only flies at 1000 feet, so you can really see the details of the islands scattered in the emerald and deep blue seas.

(Route: Cebu to Siargao, 1.5 hours)

Habal-habal (simply a motorbike) is a popular means of transportation in some far-flung areas in the country. It's actually a fun ride, knowing that there will be no cars, buses or any big vehicles that will hit or bump you. Never mind the dust, it's part of nature like the trees and the rustic landscape that surround you.

In Corregidor, this is the only way to get around the island. An improvised jeepney where one can have a good view of the island's ruins.

As a nation of 7107 islands, it is only appropriate to experience traveling around by ship. I remember as a young boy, whenever we go to our province (Negros Occidental), we would always take the ship. Back then, the facilities were still very simple and poorly maintained. Thank heavens, traveling by ship now is not that boring anymore, as numerous activities can now be done onboard.

The 7107 Islands Cruise was a great way to discover and explore our country. It was an attempt to familiarize Filipinos with the concept of "cruise ship". However, due to "politics", the ship's operation is currently on hold.

I was able to visit Coron, Palawan with these ships - 7107 Islands Cruise (2009, above) and the T/S Kapitan Felix Oca (2010, below).

T/S Oca is a training ship where cadets from the Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific are trained with the intricacies of shipping. The ship also happens to be the venue of my first Extra Challenge episode. I never thought that I would get to ride Oca again... It's a great feeling to get aboard this ship once more. The challenges... the conversations... the haggardness... they all came back vividly :-)

Speaking of sea vessels, this is the boat that takes passengers from Manila to Corregidor. Smooth and short ride...

(By the way, it was only in Corregidor and the waters of Bataan that T/S Oca brought us for our Extra Challenge shoot).

Of course, when you travel to the Philippines to explore its islands... you can't get away with these BOATS in all shapes and sizes!

Sipalay, Negros Occidental

Sipalay, Negros Occidental

Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro

a military speedboat we used to
get to Cagbalete Island, Quezon

a private speedboat that brought us around
the islands of San Vicente, Palawan

Thursday, April 29, 2010


This is my second time in Coron. I am still amazed and awed with its rustic and pristine beauty. I wouldn't mind going back here again and again. It's simply spectacular!

The Twin Lagoon. Before, the only way to get to the other lagoon is thru swimming in a hole underneath the rocks. If it's low tide, it's quite easy to do. But if the waters rise, you must really take a deep breath and dive. But now, they already made a make-shift ladder where you can simply climb up and get to the other side.

One of the many rock formations of Coron. Unlike in El Nido, these rocks are usually clustered near each other.

Probably the most photographed islet in Coron. Became so popular after Mabuhay Magazine (PAL) put the photo in its cover 2 or 3 years ago. Since then, no Coron visit is ever complete without a photo on this spot. The spot, by the way, is the halfway point of a short hike going to Kayangan Lake. The spot is actually the entrance of a cave.

The Kayangan Lake - reputed as the Philippines' cleanest lake. I think this lake is a volcano crater... I'm not sure. hehehe... Great place to swim, though. So crystal clear, and the water is brackish, which means a mixture of seawater and "tabang" (spring/mineral water).

Friday, April 9, 2010


El Nido is one of my dream destinations in the country. I have always been intrigued with its karsts / stone formations, and its clear waters. And when I got there, my initial impression was... WOWWWW!

It's really a land of wonders! The stones mountains that surround the town plaza were so magnificent, one gets a feeling of amazement and intimidation upon seeing them all over you. As an urbanite, I am used to seeing tall skyscrapers surrounding me. But these karsts are really magical! I wouldn't mind staring at the them whole day!

The islands are also beautiful, and so are the waters surrounding them. Now I know why foreign tourists love this part of Palawan. You can actually see them in the islets/islands enjoying the waters or just the view! Our nation is indeed blessed!

I just observed that most Pinoy tourists who were at the lagoon were quite funny! They were so afraid to jump in the crystal clear and calm waters despite having their life vests on. And once they're on the water, they cuddle together like playing "the boat is sinking, group yourselves into..."! And just a few meters away, you can see the foreign tourists snorkeling without their vests on, moving (or swimming) or swimming around like children thrown in a pool! How ironic that as a nation surrounded with waters, most Pinoys don't know how to swim... or are afraid of the sea/waters.

El Nido is such a paradise... and the only way to truly enjoy is to dive into its sparkling beauty, literally and figuratively!