a journal on hiking and traveling around the Philippines

Mt. Pulag's Akiki-Ambangeg Trai

A day hike to Luzon island's highest peak

Review : Asus ZenFone 2 Laser

Check out my experience using an Asus ZenFone 2! :)

Hiking 6 peaks over the weekend

Click to read about one of my all-time favorite hiking adventures. :)

Osprey Pack : Nova

My new reliable backpacking buddy

Hiking in Bukidnon

A day hike to Mt. Kitanglad and Dulang-Dulang

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Going Solo in the City of Gentle People, Dumaguete

After a short hike up Mt. Kanlaon, my hiking bud Arisse and I went on separate adventures. From Canlaon City, Arisse traveled back to Bacolod for a quick food trip before catching an evening flight to Manila, while I rode a 4-hour van down Dumaguete City where I spent 3 days. 
Sibulan Airport near Dumaguete's city center
Known as a slow, quiet city where people are uber friendly, I knew it was the perfect place to hibernate as I was craving for time to just stop. 

As we had spent several days in Canlaon which is up in the mountains and twice more quaint that Dumaguete, I was slightly overwhelmed as I walked around the city center on the first day. There were vehicles zipping everywhere, several ATM machines and lots of huge building.  I soon got into the slightly quicker groove of things and in no time, I was wandering around on foot comfortably. 

The elevated tricycle along with motorbikes are the main mode of transportation
in the city.
I stayed at Harold's Mansion, a backpacker's lodge near Siliman University, established in 1901 and is the first American university in Asia. It's not just an educational institution but also a tourist  attraction with its old buildings, Acacia trees and its very own Marine  and anthropology museums.

Everyday, I walked along Rizal Boulevard, a strip of land lined with ginormous trees and a view of Dumaguete City bay, a treat to the eyes for nature-lovers! :) Across the boulevard, are restaurants and bars where locals and tourist hang out. 

Of all the trees along this airy boulevard, this is the one I fell in love with.  :) I am
amused how its branches stretches upward, like it's embracing the sky. 
Lookie, scattered cloud formations! :)
Food tripping was excellent too for all its cheap yummy food. I dined at Sans Rival cafe a couple of times which is popular for its silvanas and pastries.  In fact, many people come here just to buy silvanas. 

Since I came there frequently, I actually made friends with the guard who conversed with me in Bisaya. My little understanding of the dialect proved to be useful as I I was able to answer back in Tagalog. :P Kasabot ko gamay pero dili kaistorya. :P I need practice.

Breakfast is served at Sans Rival Bistro from 7AM-10AM which is right next door to
its cafe, Sans Rival Cakes & Pastries which opens at 9am. Sans Rival Bistro is quite elegant with waiters and chandeliers inside,a nice place to dine with a group.
Cookie Monster cake and a nice cup of brewed coffee at Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries.
I can't believe this delicious cake's only 29 Pesos while the cup of joe's at 30 Pesos!
A place which I truly enjoyed hanging out solo was at Mooon Cafe along Siliman Avenue. It's a Mexican-inspired cafe with attentive, smiley staff, colorful, interesting interiors and aptly priced drinks. 
On the Photo :  A cup of rice, Tangigue steak &   Pomelo and Mango shake.
I also tried the Gambas Al Ajillo (shrimps sauteed in olive oil). Bill was at 400 Pesos
which is fair enough.

Another treat which I drooled over was the fried ice cream at Panda's Ice Cream Haus. It's ice cream that's place in the middle of deep-fried dough. The place is open daily from 9AM-8PM and is a few blocks from Siliman University along Ma. Cristina Street. 
My first "meal" in Dumaguete (55 Pesos)

Those who love old buildings will also be intrigued with the Spanish inspired interiors of Cafe Antonio. Located at the second floor of the Spanish Heritage building along the corner of Santa Catalina and San Juan Street, one can find paintings and other interesting decors. It's open 10AM-11PM, Monday-Saturday.  Food I tried was decent although it's nothing that I'd be missing. I'm willing to go back and try more though.


Romantic ambiance at Patio Victoria inside Cafe Antonio
Slow, quiet time was what I craved for and it's what I got in the three days I was here.

Daghan salamat Dumaguete! :)

Travel Notes :
- Van from Canlaon City to Dumaguete departed at 11:00 AM and took 4 hours (185 Pesos). The terminal's near the city center and here's where you can also find the Ceres buses back to Bacolod city and to the nearby province of Cebu.  The scenic route passes by the national highway which has really awesome views of the turquoise waters of TaƱon Strait. There's also several resorts along the way. 

- If going back to Manila, take a tricycle to Sibulan Airport (it costs 50 Pesos/trike if you're at Hibbard Avenue where Harold's Mansion is). Airport Terminal fee's 75 Pesos as of (Sept. 2013). 

Budget Accommodation in Dumaguete :
If you're on a budget and traveling solo, try Harold's Mansion. It offers clean single rooms with t&b at 400 Pesos/night and comes with a free continental breakfast & unlimited cups of coffee at tea from 6AM-10PM. Breakfast is served at its roof deck, an airy open space with a great view of Mt. Talinis, one of the highest peaks in Negros island. From here, you can walk to Ibiza bar, Siliman University and the famous Rizal Boulevard (a 15 minute walk). Trike drivers know this place  a lot as it's a fave among backpackers. 

- Other good places to stay is Bethel Guesthouse (across Rizal Boulevard, really good location and close to restaurants) and One Bethany Place (a 10-Pesos trike ride away from Rizal boulevard) and walking distance from the pasalubong center, Sidlakang Negros Village.

- For other accommodation options, check out this helpful blog, Explore Dumaguete

Pasalubong Shopping :
Sidlakang Negros - along E.J. Blanco Drive in Piapi showcases delicacies and crafts from Negros Oriental
Bong Bong's - Robinson's Mall

Dumaguete Travel Itinerary? Pinoy Adventurista shared these very informative posts: :)
Pinoy Adventurista : Travel Guide to Dumaguete City
Pinoy Adventurista : Food Trippin in Dumaguete City





Monday, September 9, 2013

Gift Ideas for Traveling Loved Ones

September's here and in the Philippines, the first "Ber" month marks the start of this much-awaited holiday. Stores and television shows start playing Christmas songs while some families start putting up their Christmas trees. 

As I'm one of those who get overly excited over this holiday season, I've started hunting for gifts to loved ones and for myself :P (thinking about Kris Kringles/exchange gifts now). 

Here's a list of gift suggestions for your loved ones. I've excluded the items from an old post of mine, Gift Ideas for the Outdoor Hotties and if you want to get started with a hassle-free early Christmas shopping, visit Zalora's Christmas Rush Bazaar. It's arranged according to brands and category for easier browsing. ;)

1. Foldable Flip Flops/Shoes - for lady loved ones who are eternally running out of storage space in their bags or for those sisters who simply love packing it light. These foldable slippers and shoes are generally lightweight and durable. Lots of brands, both local (Suelas, Punchdrunk Pandas) and foreign (Flipsters),  are already available in stores around the Philippines. I've also read great things about Tieks  but I don't know if it's available locally yet. 
Redgirlshop's Dr. Scholl's for Her Fast Flats, Php 1,200.00 (Photo from Zalora.com.ph)
How Much? 500 Pesos above 
Where to Buy? R.O.X. carries Flipsters, Olympic Outlet, Zalora (Punchdrunk Panda, Spare Soles) 

2. Lagu Beach Blanket - now this is a gift that even a non-beach person like me wanted! The world's first beach-friendly blanket, Lagu repels sand which helps preserve our precious shores. It's available in 5 vibrant colors,  lightweight, dries quickly and is allergen-free, awesome for a whole day of lazing on your back. :P  
With the cool breeze whirling around while snugged under a Lagu, I couldn't help dozing off on a hammock
How Much? 999 Pesos
Where to Buy? Click here for a list of retailers

3. Scarf  - scarves are great because they not only protect you from the cold, it also spruces up your outfit. 

How Much? 100 Pesos above
Where to Buy? For cheap scarves go to Landmark Makati

4. Sleeping Accessories - let's not neglect the value of a good night's sleep. These accessories are great for those who are fond of overnight travels and riding sleeper trains. Inflatable pillows, ear plugs and eye masks are sleeping accessories that would be practical for frequent travelers. 

How Much? Inflatable Pillows retail at 200 Pesos while eye masks and ear plugs can cost as low as 100 Pesos each. 
Where to Buy? Olympic Outlet in Robinson's Forum, Handyman, Tickles  sells cute eye masks. :) 

5. Foldable Fan - traveling to humid locations will make one appreciate  a handy foldable fan. It's lightweight, shaped like small pita bread and takes up so little space! I've used mine on hiking trips and walking tours. :P 

How Much? 20-50 Pesos 
Where to Buy? You can find it in bazaars, online site Practical Packer

6. Scratch Map, Philippines Edition - do you know someone who's planning to set foot on all 80 provinces of the Philippines? Support them by giving them this scratch map! :) It measures 42 x 59 cm with gold foil stickers to peel off. It also contains useful information on Philippine festivals, regions, provinces and capitals.  

How Much? 1,350 Pesos

Where to Buy? Quirks Novelties & Curiosities (Do browse their website for other interesting travel-related accessories)

7. Dispatch, Indie Travel Issue - a handy compilation of travel and adventure stories from Filipino independent travelers & bloggers such as pinaytraveljunkie, Escape Islands, Wanderlass and more. It's produced by Dispatch Media, a website promoting travel & advocacy. It's also where I'm a current contributor. :P 

Photo from Dispatch Media FB Page
How Much? 200 Pesos
Where to Buy?  R.O.X  Branches : Bonifacio High Street, Ayala Cebu, Marquee Mall (Pampanga), Camp John Hay (Baguio), Centrio (CDO)
The Travel Club Branches : SM Megamall, Shangri-La Plaza Mall, TriNoma Mall, Abreeza (Davao), Ayala Cebu, Powerplant Mall, Newport Mall
Flight 001 BHS Central and Fully Booked Bonifacio High Street

8. Deuter Backpacks  - durable and gorgeous looking bags. It's design minimizes the weight on your back which makes it great for wandering around. I've been using these since 2006. I have one for work, for camping trips and for day hikes. I'm a big fan!
River crossing in Bataan. That's me using a Deuter Spider backpack. Photo from Arisse
How Much : 1,995 Pesos above
Where to Buy? R.O.X., Toby's, Chris Sports

Got anything to add on this list? Just write me a comment or send me a Tweet via @jovialwanderer (I reply much faster there). :) Advance Merry Christmas everyone! :) 



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