The Little Vigan in Gapan, Nueva Ecija

Little Vigan

Vigan is the capital of Ilocos Sur and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s a well-preserved city with Hispanic colonial heritage houses in the northern part of the Philippines. Vigan is 400 kilometers from Metro Manila, so if you’re too lazy to drive that far, maybe you can visit the little Vigan of Gapan, Nueva Ecija as an alternative destination.

Little Vigan

Where is Little Vigan located?

Little Vigan, also known as ‘Ang lumang Gapan” is situated in the city of Gapan, Nueva Ecija. It’s just a 2-3 hours of drive from Metro Manila. Nueva Ecija is the next province after Bulacan and is sitting between Tarlac and Aurora province in the central part of Luzon.

How to go to Little Vigan?

PRIVATE CAR: Drive to NLEX and exit at Balagtas Exit. Use Plaridel By-pass Road all the way to San Miguel, Bulacan. After seeing the Welcome to San Miguel arc, keep driving to the left and follow the signs that lead to Nueva Ecija. Turn right to Tinio St once you see SM Savemore. Turn left to Jacinto street when you reach Jollibee.

*You may also avoid using Express Way by driving through Mc Arthur Highway (For motorcycles and scooters).

COMMUTE: Take a bus to San Jose, and drop off at Gapan Savemore. Take a tricycle to Little Vigan.

What to do in Little Vigan?

The Little Vigan is just a new attraction in the city of Gapan. There’s not so much to do yet at this time except take some pictures. There are food stalls there however it seems like it wasn’t really planned carefully. There are at least 6 food stalls that sell the same products (Milk Tea) and there is no authentic local food.

Is it worth driving two hours?

I love the place, but my wife totally disagrees. So I’d say, it may not be worth driving if it’s the only place you will be visiting in the area. I think it’s still being developed and it’s far from the real Vigan. And it may not be comparable to Intramuros yet. It would be great if one of the heritage houses gets converted to a hotel, just like Las Casas Filipinas, or perhaps a restaurant that can offer authentic food instead of instant ramen.

The Little Vigan of Gapan still has a long way to go, but so far the development is really great for the city. For now, it’s only a good side-trip after visiting Minalungao National Park, or Mount Manalmon.

Links to previous blogs:

Tila Pilon Hills
Rizal Province
Cebu Travel Guide

Our Facebook page: Backpacking Stories Philippines

The Little Baguio of Antipolo City

Sapinit Road

Marilaque highway has been one of the go-to places for the motorcycle community. Its zigzag roads, cold temperature, and beautiful landscapes are the main reasons why it is best to drive around here. And there’s one place off the beaten path that draws people from the Metro recently. It’s Sapinit Road, which was recently known as the Little Baguio of Antipolo City.

Sapinit Road

Little Baguio is the end part of Sapinit Road in Brgy. San Juan, Antipolo City. It’s a privately owned land with a 2 KM road full of perfectly planted pine trees by the roadside.

Where is Sapinit Road?

Sapinit road is part of Brgy. San Juan, Antipolo City. Brgy. San Juan is sitting right next to Brgy. Inarawan and Brgy. Calawis. Few known establishments nearby are the Boso-boso Highlands resort and the RC Cola Plantation.

How to go Little Baguio?

PRIVATE CAR: Drive to Marilaque via Marcos Highway, passing Cogeo/Padilla. A few minutes after passing the RC Cola Plantation, there is a Welcome Arch that says “You are entering the Upper Marikina Basin Protected Landscape”. Turn left when you see that arch and turn right when you reached the Loyola Gardens of Antipolo. The little Baguio is only 12-15 minutes from the highway.

COMMUTE: Take a jeepney to Paenaan. There are terminals in Marikina and Cogeo. Tell the driver to drop you off at the ‘Cabading Arch’. Take a tricycle to Sapinit Road.

Where to eat in Sapinit Road?

We discovered two places to chill around near the Little Baguio site. They are Camp Sandugo and ATV Adventure Rizal Allday Breakfast.

camp sandugo

Camp Sandugo is a biker’s stopover and they offer the best Siomai and brewed coffee at a very affordable price. They also offer rice meals, pasta, and pizza.

atv adventure rizal cafe

ATV Adventure Rizal is a place where you can rent ATVs and horses. They also have a cafe that the owner decided to set up to support their rescued cats and dogs. The profit of the cafe all goes toward the budget of the rescued animals.

A Few Reminders

The Little Baguio is a private place. When we ask to enter to take pictures, we should ask the security guards politely and abide by their rules. Parking is only allowed on the concrete part of the road, do not park by the grass. Lastly, the place is only open until 6 PM.

Links to previous blogs:

Las Cas Filipinas de Acuzar
Rizal Province
Cebu Travel Guide

Our Facebook page: Backpacking Stories Philippines

Lugaw N Toppers

Lugaw N Toppers

Small-business owners love what they do, and they treasure their relationships with their customers. They are usually the ones who have better customer engagement than big restaurants or fast-food chains. This is why we love supporting small businesses in our local community. And there is one family-owned small business in Taytay that we love coming back to whenever we’re in Rizal – Lugaw N Toppers!

Where to eat in Taytay?

Taytay is known as the garments capital of the Philippines. And now it’s slowly becoming the Tiangge capital for its affordable fashionable clothes and bargain-priced apparel. But after all that shopping and bargain hunting, where is the best place to eat in Taytay?

Taytay has too many fast-food chains around the vicinity of the Tiangge area. But if you’re looking for something other than the usual burger and fries, it’s time to explore further into Taytay and support its small businesses that are thriving during this pandemic.

Taytay

What to eat in Lugaw N Toppers?

Lugaw is essential. That’s a proven fact! But Lugaw N Toppers is not just about rice porridge, as they also offer rice meals and chicken wings. Here are some of the best-sellers in Lugaw N Toppers:

Goto overload

The best seller in Lugaw N Toppers is none other than the Goto Overload. Served hot in a bowl full of inviting ingredients topped with a crispy-licious chicharon. Wow just wow! You need to order this in advance as it tends to get sold out quickly.

Lugaw n toppers
Chicken wings

The LNT chicken wings come in 4 different flavors; Buttered Garlic, Creamcheese, Garlic Parmesan, and Honey Barbecue. It’s available in a minimum of 4 pieces, and up to 50 pcs for a bulk ‘bilao‘ order.

NILAGANG BAKA

This Filipino dish has always been underrated compared to other internationally known Pinoy food. It’s probably because Nilagang Baka is known for its generally mild flavor that is far from an overpowering taste. It’s a must-try in Lugaw N Toppers!

Lugaw n toppers
BINaGOONGANG BAGNET

This one is my favorite. I believe bagnet is an Ilocano word. Thus, this dish has a touch of Ilocos on it. A flavorful dish such as this is best with a bowl of extra rice for sure.

Lugaw n toppers
GRILLED LIEMPO

They say that one of the best parts of the pork is the Liempo. And it’s hard to disagree. When a grilled Liempo is at the table and you can smell the smoky aroma, it’s too hard to say no to an extra bowl of rice.

Lugaw n toppers

How to go to Lugaw N Toppers

It’s not easy to find Lugaw N Toppers because it’s located inside Ciudad Grande in Taytay. The good thing is that we already have Google Maps and Waze. LNT is just less than 10 minutes away from Taytay Mega Tiangge.

PRIVATE CAR/MOTORCYCLE: Drive to Muzon, Taytay via Manila East Road, passing the Tiangge area and Puregold Taytay. Turn right on G. Borja ave, the street beside Muzon Elementary school. Turn right into Ciudad Grande executive village. Turn right to Jade street and finally turn left to Emerald street. LNT is right across the basketball court.

COMMUTERide a jeepney to Angono or Binangonan and drop off at Muzon Elementary school. Take a tricycle to Emerald Street or Ciudad Grande basketball court.

Why we keep coming back to LNT?

The food is the main reason, but more importantly, the service also which is really great. It’s totally obvious that the business owners and the staffs love what they do. They serve food with all their heart and passion. And that is evident in their customer interactions.

Let’s support small business owners in our local community such as Lugaw N’ Toppers, and we can all get through this pandemic together.

Follow them on Social Media and contact them for assistance with your orders.

Facebook: Lugaw N' Toppers
Contact #: 0920-787-7522
Links to previous blogs: 

Las Casas Filipinas
Cebu Travel Guide
Rizal Province

Visit our Facebook page: Backpacking Stories Philippines

5 coffee shops in Sumulong Highway, Antipolo

Antipolo is becoming popular with tourists because of its high elevation and proximity to Manila. Antipolo’s high elevation offers a scenic view of Pasig City and Cainta. Sumulong highway is one of the best spots in Antipolo to see an overlooking view of the city, especially at night. Here are 5 coffee shops in Sumulong that offer a spectacular view of Metro Manila.

Cafe lupe

Now called Casa Allegria, Cafe Lupe is one of the first things you will see as you drive up to Antipolo via Sumulong Highway. Casa Allegria offers a picturesque view of Cainta’s premium subdivisions despite sitting at the lower part of Antipolo City.

coffee shops in sumulong
KAULAYAW CAFE

Kaulayaw means “to be intimate”, and it’s a fitting name to such a romantic ambiance when you are with your special someone. This coffee shop seems to be the most popular amongst all the restaurants on Sumulong highway. And that’s probably why it’s always fully booked even on weeknights.

coffee shops in sumulong
AHON CAFE

Ahon Cafe Antipolo offers alfresco-style dining. They only have a small stall for their products and register. And you can chill alfresco with a cup of coffee underneath a huge Mango Tree overlooking Pasig City.

coffee shops in sumulong
ROOFTOP BAR & CAFE

The Rooftop Bar & Cafe is a 4-story building along the highway of Sumulong. The 1st floor is a receiving area where the register is. The second floor is for the coffee shop. On the 3rd floor is the rackety bar. And the last floor offers the best view of Pasig City which can accommodate both alcoholic drinks and coffee orders.

Rofftop bar and cafe
starbucks – sumulong highway

Finally, Starbucks realized the potential of Sumulong to draw tourists around Metro Manila. The Seattle-based coffeehouse chain known for its signature roasts and light bites is opening its newest branch in Sumulong very soon!

starbucks sumulong

Restaurants and Coffee Shops in Sumulong

There are a number of other coffee shops and restaurants along Sumulong Highway. Its scenic overlooking view of the Metro provides a different kind of relaxation. It’s something similar to that of Tagaytay, but just minutes to an hour away.

One of the best overlooking spots in Sumulong is Cloud 9 Antipolo. So if you’re in Antipolo other than food and coffee, you should never miss checking Cloud 9. Another interesting spot is for the club hoppers. Sumulong also has Padis Point for those who love to disco and listen to local bands.

sumulong highway

How to go to Sumulong Highway

Antipolo is just a few minutes away from Manila. You just need to avoid the rush hours. If you plan to visit to see the night lights, it’s best to leave Manila from 6 PM onwards. Earlier could get you stuck in bad traffic. Here are some tips:

PRIVATE CAR/MOTORCYCLE: We highly recommend going through White Plains if you’re coming from Edsa. Avoid Aurora Blvd, Ortigas Extension, and E. Rodriguez Pasig. From White Plains, turn right to Libis going to Marikina and use the Flyover to Santolan LRT Station. Once you’re on Marcos highway, Sumulong is just a few moments away.

COMMUTE: Commuting to Antipolo has been easier than ever when the LRT extension to Masinag was completed. You can either ride a bus or a jeepney to Antipolo, but it’s best to use the LRT and drop off at LRT Antipolo Station instead.

Links to previous blogs: 

Las Casas Filipinas
Bunsuran Falls
Rizal Province

Visit our Facebook page: Backpacking Stories Philippines

Tila Pilon Hills

Tila Pilon Hills

Doña Remedios Trinidad (DRT) is known as “Bulacan’s last frontier” due to it being the least traveled municipality in the province of Bulacan. This is a surprising fact because this municipality prides itself on an untouched natural environment like clean rivers, well-cultivated farms, dramatic landscapes, and 13 beautiful waterfalls. One of the most recommended tourism sites in DRT is Tila Pilon Hills.

Tila Pilon Hills

What is Tila Pilon Hills?

Tila Pilon means “Looks like a vase” and it pertains to the shape of its landscape. It’s a camping site with a scenic view of several greeny hills and peaks in the Sierra Madre Mountain Range. It’s located in Brgy. Kalawakan, DRT, Bulacan.

Tila Pilon Camping Resort offers hiking with a guide to its summit. They also offer camping by the resort and on their designated campsite near the summit. There is also a cafe inside the resort and a cheaper option for food for those who are on a tight budget. Tables and chairs are set up nicely underneath some tall Mahogany trees.

How to go to Tila Pilon Hills?

PRIVATE CAR: Drive to NLEX and exit at Balagtas Exit. Use Plaridel By-pass Road all the way to San Miguel, Bulacan. Turn right to Camias-Sibul Road. Doña Remidios Trinidad is just 30 minutes away from San Miguel, Bulacan.

*You may also avoid using Express Way by driving to Angat, Bulacan through Mc Arthur Highway or Commonwealth Ave.

COMMUTE: Take a bus to San Miguel, Bulacan and then a jeepney from Bulacan to DRT. You may also take a bus to San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, ride a jeepney to Angat, and then another jeepney to DRT.

What to do in Tila Pilon?

Hiking

Trekking to the summit of Tila Pilon Hills is the main attraction for tourists. The guide fee is 300 PHP for 5 persons. The view at the summit is breathtaking!

The hike was really straightforward and pleasantly easy even for non-hikers. We were not on hiking attires but we still managed to reach the summit without any issues at exactly 36 minutes. There are two trails to the peak of Tila Pilon. Most of the parts of the easier trail are shaded woodlands. You will be passing through a citrus farm and some huge mango trees.

Tila Pilon Hills

Camping

There is a designated campsite near the summit, and there is also one by the resort. DRT is indeed the least traveled municipality of Bulacan, as Tila Pilon rarely gets visitors that want to stay for camping. The guide fee for overnight camping is 800 PHP for 10 persons.

DRT Camping
Tila Pilon Campsite

Grab a cup of Coffee

Coffee lovers can enjoy a cup of coffee before or after hiking the summit of Tila Pilon. The artsy cafe is sitting underneath a huge Mahogany tree. Thus, not only that it offers aromatic coffee but fresh air and a beautiful view also.

Tila Pilon Hills
Tila Pilon Cafe

Cliff-side Swing

This one is probably not for coffee lovers. A thrill-seeking attraction is also available at Tila Pilon Hills. Take a swing beside the cliff if you get too bored of the 30-minute hike to the summit.

Cliff side swing

Waterfalls side-trip

DRT is popular for having 13 waterfalls in its municipality. These waterfalls however are located in different barangays. The trek to the falls is between twenty minutes to 2 hours on each waterfall. Thus, it may not be possible to visit all the falls in just one day.

What’s the best time to visit DRT?

You can visit the municipality of Doña Remedios Trinidad all year round. The 13 waterfalls of DRT are surely lively and majestic during the rainy season, while the hills and campsites would be perfect during the dry season.

Tila Pilon as seen from the registration area

Budget itinerary

Entrance Fee: 50 PHP
Hiking Guide Fee: 300 PHP (1 guide for every 5 persons)
Parking Fee: 50 PHP for Cars, 20 PHP for Motorcycles
Overnight Guide Fee: 800 PHP (1 guide for every 10 persons)
Links to previous blogs:

Las Cas Filipinas de Acuzar
Rizal Province
Cebu Travel Guide

Our Facebook page: Backpacking Stories Philippines

Where to eat in Amadeo – The coffee capital of the Philippines

where to eat in Amadeo

Amadeo, Cavite is a municipality right next to Tagaytay. Thus, it shares similar cold weather. It is also widely known as the coffee capital of the Philippines. In this post, let me share where to eat and chill in the quiet town of Amadeo, Cavite.

Amadeo Cavite

HOW WE DISCOVERED AMADEO?

We once visited a friend in Imus, Cavite, and we decided to drive all the way to Tagaytay using our Yamaha scooter. We were in casual attire with just a T-shirt on, and no jacket to protect us from the cold weather. It was 4 PM already when we got to Amadeo, but the coldness of the weather stopped us from getting to Tagaytay. And that’s when we decided to make a stopover and get a cup of coffee. And since then, we have been coming back.

WHERE TO EAT IN AMADEO?

There’s one place that we have been coming back to in Amadeo. It’s Ricardo’s Coffee + Classic Cuisine. Ricardo’s offers alfresco dining. Imagine having a cup of brewed coffee surrounded by plants and beautiful art pieces in a cold-weather less the traffic and the crowd. For me, it’s too perfect not to share. Yes, we love Tagaytay, who doesn’t, right? The weather is perfect, and the restaurants are great. But most of the time, it’s too hard to drive around the city because of its traffic. The restaurants are sometimes fully booked too. That’s why Amadeo is certainly the best alternative place to Tagaytay.

WHAT TO EAT IN RICARDO’S? 

Ricardo’s saucy Chicken Saltimbocca is a must-try! Gosh, the sauce is too tempting. I’m not really a foodie, so I don’t know how else to describe it. Lol! And since this is a coffee capital, don’t miss getting a cup of coffee. My own personal bias for coffee which is Caramel Macchiato is also highly recommended.

WHY RICARDO’S BECAME A FAVORITE?

Ricardo’s offers that quiet place to unwind and think. The food is really good, the coffee is fresh and aromatic, and the place is full of plants and art pieces. They also sell those plants and paintings by the way! Sometimes they hire classic musicians too. And last but not the least, they love bikers! So if you want to bike to Tagaytay, why not make a stopover in Amadeo, and grab a cup of coffee at Ricardo’s?

WHAT’S IN AMADEO BESIDES COFFEE? 

Amadeo is also home to a beautiful waterfall, the Balite Falls. This waterfall is just a few minutes drive from Tagaytay. It is under the management of MSSL Resort, a private resort in the municipality. You can contact them through Facebook at MSSL Resort Balite Falls.

where to eat in amadeo

HOW TO GO TO AMADEO?

Like other cities and municipalities in Cavite, Amadeo can be reached through either SLEX or CAVITEX freeways. Google says you can get there from Manila in just 1.5 to 2 hours of driving via the expressways. But you can actually get there in the same time frame without going through the freeway. You just need to avoid the rush hours. Here’s a detailed guide for driving to Amadeo without going through Express Way:

PRIVATE CAR/MOTORCYCLE: I highly recommend going through Moonwalk Access Road. You can get there from EDSA-Magallanes, BGC-Lawton Ave, or West Service Rd-Bicutan. You will be passing through SM City Sucat and Villar Sipag Complex. Drive all the way to Dasmariñas, and then turn right to Trece Martirez. Simply follow the sign that leads to Tagaytay, and you’ll be in Amadeo in 20 minutes.

COMMUTE: You may also opt to commute to Amadeo. You can take a bus going to either Tagaytay or Trece Martirez and drop off at Robinson’s Pala-Pala. There is a jeepney terminal to Amadeo right across the street.

WHERE TO EAT IN AMADEO GALLERY

Links to previous blogs: 

Las Casas Filipinas
Bunsuran Falls
Rizal Province

Visit our Facebook page: Backpacking Stories Philippines

Le Village Lifestyle Park

alfresco dining quezon city

This pandemic has been a challenge for all of us. And the weight of the problem is twice for restaurant owners. After a few setbacks, restaurant dining is back! But to stay safe, outdoor dining is mostly preferred while Covid is still around. Recently, we discovered a good place for alfresco dining in Quezon City.

alfresco dining quezon city

Mercato Quezon City

We were just strolling around on a scooter to find a good place to dine. Then we found the lifestyle park and it looks like Mercato so we decided to check it out. We were so amazed at how the place and the food concessionaires were so organized.

alfresco dining quezon city

Organized Food Concessionaires

Le Village has everything your food cravings could ever ask for. From milk tea to burgers, chicken wings, grilled food, and more. Each of the food concessionaires does not have direct competition as each one offers a different type of food. Here are some of the food stalls in Le Village:

Puto Voom Voom & Bibingka

alfresco dining quezon city

What a witty business name! And yes, that’s puto bumbong and bibingka, a Filipino steamed rice cake that is traditionally popular during the Christmas season.

Fruitas Creamery

Fruitas Creamery

We didn’t know that Fruitas offers premium ice creams and other frozen treats besides fruit-flavored beverages. This sounds like a really good product innovation on their part.

Tea Rex and Soy & Bean Desserts

alfresco dining quezon city

These are actually two different stalls, I just didn’t notice. Lol! Tea Rex offers milk tea and Soy & Bean offers beans-based desserts.

7,107 Islands Halo-halo

alfresco dining quezon city

Halo-halo used to be popular only during the summer season. But for the past few years, this Filipino dessert is already being served all year round. The halo-halo and fresh Buko seem a perfect match. It’s a must-try in 7,107 Islands Halo-halo!

Shou La Mien Hand Pulled Noodles

alfresco dining quezon city

Are you craving for Chinese-style hand-pulled noodles? Yes, that is also available here in Le Village.

The Bomburgers

alfresco dining quezon city

The Bomburgers offers an explosive menu of hamburgers and cheeseburgers. It’s a must-try!

Wing Commander

alfresco dining quezon city

We love Wing Commander. They offer a variety of flavors of unlimited chicken wings! They have fun restaurant staff as well. But a reminder to all the guys out there, they love taking pictures! Bring ONLY your wife or girlfriend to any Wing Commander restaurant.

La Petite Parisienne

alfresco dining quezon city

Red wine, or white wine? Which one do you prefer? La Petite Parisienne is the main restaurant in Le Village. They offer French-inspired food and winery. You can choose to dine indoors, or alfresco.

Mexi-Kalye

mexi kalye

I know nothing about Mexican food. Nothing but taco.

Munifico Pizzeria

munifico pizzeria

This stall is further inside the park. We thought that out of all types of food, Pizza would be missing. Guess we’re wrong.

Boy A-Boodle

alfresco dining quezon city

Feast on grilled seafood, chicken, and pork. Don’t be afraid of what’s written on the menu. Because as they always say, it’s okay to have a cheat day.

Filipino Kuxina Fusion

alfresco dining quezon city

If there’s American, French, Italian, and Mexican food in the food gallery, there is also Filipino cuisine available.

The Pub

the pub

The Pub offers alcoholic drinks and other beverages. All the other food concessionaires are really friendly, except the ones on this stall. Well, maybe they were already tired after a long day at work. Grab a bottle of beer, just don’t talk to them. They’re no fun at all.

Free Parking

Le Village offers Free Parking. The parking area is spacious enough for cars and motorcycles.

free parking

Highly Recommended Alfresco Dining in Quezon City

This pandemic is far from over, and we may not be able to dine inside the restaurants with confidence. Alfresco dining is a good alternative to get our cravings satisfied. And with that, if you are around Metro Manila, we can highly recommend Le Village Lifestyle Park!

alfresco dining quezon city

Pet-friendly

There are community cats around the park and it’s really good to know that many establishments and business owners are already accepting them.

pet friendly

Safe Alfresco Dining in Quezon City

Safety seems to be one of the business owner’s top priorities. The place has two entrances and each has a security guard. There is also a police mobile stationed right outside the park. Therefore, I conclude that alfresco dining in Quezon City is indeed safer than anywhere else.

Links to previous blogs: 
Las Cas Filipinas de Acuzar 
Rizal Province 
Cebu Travel Guide 

Our Facebook page: Backpacking Stories Philippines

Fortune Island, Batangas

Fortune Island Overnight

Batangas is probably the most popular beach destination near Manila. The municipality of Nasugbu in the province of Batangas is just 2-4 hours away from Metro Manila. Nasugbu has several white beaches to offer. But my most favorite is to stay overnight on an abandoned luxury resort, Fortune Island.

Fortune Island Overnight

ABOUT FORTUNE ISLAND

This island was formerly known as Fortune Island Resort Club (FIRC). It was established in 1995. The beach resort has a 20-meter stretch of pristine white sand. It used to have a saltwater swimming pool, clubhouse, cabana, helipad, and a small reptile zoo.

Today, you will find the cabanas, clubhouse, and swimming pool in ruins. And the island’s acropolis with Grecian pillars is still standing on the cliff of the island overlooking the West Philippine Sea.

Fortune Island Overnight

HOW TO GO TO FORTUNE ISLAND

Fortune Island is two hours away from the main island of Luzon by boat. You can reach the island from the municipality of Nasugbu, Batangas.

PRIVATE CAR via SLEX: From SLEX, take Exit 36 Greenfield City/UNILAB (Mamplasan Exit). Drive to Nasugbu via Tagaytay. Continue to drive through the main road of Nasugbu proper (J.P. Laurel St.) until you see Jollibee-Nasugbu. Turn left at Jollibee (C. Alvarez) and then turn right at Tanigue St until you reach the resort where boats are available to take you to the island.

COMMUTE: Take a bus to Nasugbu from Pasay. Look for Jollibee-Nasugbu, and ride a tricycle to Fortune Island resort where the boats to take you to the island are available.

WHAT TO DO IN FORTUNE ISLAND?

From a luxurious resort, FIRC became a beach camping ground. You can find the Cabanas and a Gazebo in ruins, and some campers would prefer to pitch their tents near them. There are small trees there that can be used as a shelter against the rain or heat of the sun.

Camping

fortune island overnight

Most island visitors prefer to visit on a day trip, while some outdoor enthusiasts take it as an opportunity to camp overnight in Fortune Island. If you are one of the few who prefers to stay overnight, please note that there’s no source of fresh water on the island.

Cliffdiving

fortune island cliff diving

If you are looking for some adrenaline rush, Fortune Island will not bore you at all. The back portion of the island is a cliff diving site. You can choose to jump from 5 ft all the way to 50 ft!

Snorkeling

snorkeling

Batangas is blessed with wonderful marine life and corals. Don’t forget to bring your snorkels and goggles. You cannot miss seeing what’s underneath the sea surrounding the island!

Picture Taking

fortune island

Fortune Island is also one of the most popular destinations for prewedding pictorials. This means that the island is indeed Instagram-worthy. From the Grecian pillars to its white sand beach, every corner of the island is so picturesque.

Chill by the beach

beach day

What’s better than being with your friends doing nothing and just laying on the fine sand beach all day? Well, yes, nothing. It’s everyone’s dream to stay on the beach on a weekend after a hard work week.

WHAT’S THE BEST TIME TO VISIT FORTUNE ISLAND?

They always say that a beach day is perfect for the summer. And that is so true for Fortune Island. This island is a few hours away from the main island of Luzon. Thus, it will be harder to get there during the rainy season in the Philippines. Expect bigger waves if you decide to visit during Ber-months, and you may not be able to jump at the cliff-diving site.

How much does the boat ride to Fortune Island costs?

I don't usually share pricing details on my blogs as it tends to change every now and then, but here's the latest info I received from Fortune Island Resort:

FORTUNE ISLAND RATES 

DAYTOUR Boat Rate 

1-4PAX  = 4,000 PHP 
5-8PAX  = 4,500 PHP 
9-12PAX= 5,000 PHP 
13-15PAX = 5,500 PHP 
16-20PAX= 7,000 PHP 

OVERNIGHT 

1-4 PAX  = 4,500 PHP 
5-8 PAX  = 5,000 PHP 
9-12PAX = 5,500 PHP 
13-15PAX = 6,000 PHP 
16-20PAX = 8,000 PHP 

ENTRANCE FEE DAYTOUR = 350 PHP  
OVERNIGHT= 500 PHP 

TENT Rental 
Good for 3pax = 500 PHP 

TENT PITCHING FEE 
DAYTOUR = 100 PHP 
OVERNIGHT = 200 PHP 

Fortune Island Gallery

Links to previous blogs: 
Las Cas Filipinas de Acuzar 
Rizal Province 
Cebu Travel Guide 

Watch our Fortune Island video in YouTube: Backpacking Stories PH

Our Facebook page: Backpacking Stories Philippines

A Romantic Hideaway in Anilao

stay in anilao

Anilao is one of the best diving spots in the Philippines. It features a great diversity of awe-inspiring marine life and beautiful corals. Though it doesn’t have a fine sand beach, it is certainly a diver’s paradise! But where is the best place to stay in Anilao?

where to stay in anilao

WHERE TO STAY IN ANILAO

We know nothing about diving, but we found a place that made us really interested in Anilao. A bed and breakfast accommodation that offers a perfect view of the calm blue sea.

J1 resort is perhaps the most convenient place to stay in Anilao. It’s just 5 minutes away from the port and public market. You can also bring your own food and drinks without paying corkage fees. It’s certainly perfect for family gatherings, friends getting together, and couples who just want to chill and watch the sea through their glass windows.

WHERE IS ANILAO LOCATED?

Anilao Proper and Anilao East are two barangays in the municipality of Mabini, Batangas. Mabini is just 2-4 hours away from Metro, Manila. It’s mostly known for diving, but its port is also known as a jump-off point going to other Batangas municipalities and islands such as Tingloy, Batangas.

A romantic hideaway stay in Anilao

We stayed in a room of the house situated in the middle. They call it ‘A romantic hideaway’. At first, I thought it was just a catchy caption for the advertisement. But when we got there, we were asked what room did we booked. And I was like, we were not given a room number, so I don’t know. Then the caretaker told us that the caption of the ads is the room name itself.

stay in anilao

The accommodation

Our accommodation room has complete kitchen appliances so you can cook your own food at your own convenience. It has a 2-door refrigerator, a microwave, and complete kitchen utensils. Husbands, this will make your trip very economical! A relaxing romantic trip without breaking the bank. Not bad, right?

The bedroom is spacious and it offers a perfect view of the sea through its window glass. It has a queen-sized bed, a split-type aircon, and a television with local channels only. There is no WiFi connection, but there is a cellphone signal for Globe and Smart subscribers.

Its bathroom and comfort room are uniquely designed. The bathroom is on the left, while the comfort room is on the right, and there is a space in between for handwashing and perhaps for brushing teeth as well. Looks like we found a brilliant idea for our future house!

The beach

Anilao has a pebbly beach instead of fine white sand. But its water is clear compared to the beaches in Ternate, Cavite. If you are looking for a white-sand beach, Masasa beach is just a two-hour boat ride.

How to go to Mabini, Batangas?

Mabini, Batangas can be reached through SLEX, or through Tagaytay. It’s just two hours via SLEX, but four hours of fun joyride via Tagaytay is not a bad idea at all. In our case, we chose the Tagaytay route.

Via SLEX: Take SLEX and continue to Star Tollway – Balagtas/Batangas Exit. Drive to Diversion road going to Bauan. At Bauan proper, simply follow the road to Mabini through Bauan-Mabini Road. Once you reached Mabini Tourism Triangle, follow the road to the right and the J1 Resort is just a few minutes away.

Via Tagaytay: You can also drive to Mabini and make a side-trip to Tagaytay for a quick breakfast. Mabini is just less than two hours away from Tagaytay through Lemery, Batangas (Diokno Highway). From Lemery, drive to Bauan, and turn right to Bauan-Mabini Road, and follow the same instructions above.

PUBLIC Transpo: There are buses in Buendia Bus Terminal going to Batangas port. Tell the driver that you are going to Mabini, and they will drop you off near a Jeepney terminal going to Mabini Port. There are tricycles that can take you to the resort near the port. J1 resort is just 5 minutes away.

How to book your stay at J1 Resort in Anilao

We booked our stay using Airbnb. Our host was Rochelle. You can contact her at 0917-804-7774.

Links to previous blogs:

Las Cas Filipinas de Acuzar
Rizal Province
Cebu Travel Guide

Our Facebook page: Backpacking Stories Philippines

PLACES WORTH VISITING IN TANAYRIZAL

Mt. Maynoba, Tanay

One of the municipalities that you can find in the Sierra Madre Mountain Range is the laid-back town of Tanay. This means that this municipality is full of adventures and ecotourism. Tanay boasts of many awe-inspiring waterfalls, majestic rivers, and hike-worthy mountains. In this blog, let me share some places worth visiting in the municipality of Tanay.

PLACES TO VISIT IN TANAY RIZAL

With its proximity to Metro Manila, a day hike in the mountains of Tanay is what mostly draws tourists to this municipality. Here are a few mountains worth hiking in Tanay:

MT. CAYABU and MAYNOBA TWIN-HIKE

The Maynoba Circuit boasts eight mini-waterfalls that can be reached after descending from its summit. They say that Maynoba offers the highest chance of witnessing the sea-of-clouds of all the Rizal mountains. It’s a twin hike because it requires you to trek Cayabu’s summit first for an easier trail to Mount Maynoba.

MT. DARAITAN

Mt. Daraitan Summit. Photo Credit: Daryl Ocampo

Daraitan is the most popular hiking destination in Tanay Rizal. Its summit has limestone formations, a view of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range, and a glimpse of Laguna de Bay.

MT. NGUSONG KABAYO

Mt. Ngusong Kabayo. Photo Credit: RB Platon Barit

Mt. Ngusong Kabayo in Brgy. Laiban is one of my favorite mountains to hike. Its summit has a limestone formation that looks like a horse’s muzzle. Hence came its name ‘Ngusong Kabayo’. A trek to the summit during the rainy season rewards you with sea-of-clouds and four beautiful waterfalls.

MT. BATOLUSONG

Mt. Batolusong is probably one of the easiest hikes amongst all Rizal mountains. Most of its ascending part is just at the start of the hike for one hour. And once you reached Duhatan Ridge, the trail gets easier all through Mapatag Plateau.

NAGPATONG ROCK FORMATION

Photo Credit: Leori Enriquez

Nagpatong Rock is really not a mountain per se, but nonetheless, an easy and very enjoyable day hike destination. It’s a must-hike during the pandemic as it tends to get crowded especially on a weekend.

THE WATER ADVENTURES

There are several waterfalls and rivers in the municipality of Tanay. Some are easily accessible, while some require hiking to get to the place. Here are some places worth visiting in Tanay for those who love water:

DARANAK and BATLAG FALLS

Daranak falls is the flagship tourist destination in the municipality of Tanay. It’s the most accessible one and no hiking is required to get to the waterfall. Daranak is managed and protected by the local government of Tanay. The upper part of the waterfall is a privately owned land. It has another waterfall which is called Batlag Falls.

LAIBAN FALLS

PLACES WORTH VISITING IN TANAY
Kalaparan Falls

Brgy. Laiban prides itself of four beautiful waterfalls. The falls can be reached through hiking Tangwa Peak, descending to the four waterfalls, or simply trekking through the river ascending to the falls.

SANGAB CAVE

PLACES WORTH VISITING IN TANAY

This cave is sitting next to a quiet campsite in Brgy. San Andres, Tanay, Rizal. It can be a perfect place to relax after hiking Mt. Batolusong.

TINIPAK RIVER

PLACES WORTH VISITING IN TANAY
Photo Credit: Crystalaine Rabino

What’s a perfect way to relax after a day hike in Mt. Daraitan than seeing the rapids of Tinipak River. You can take a dip on some of its swimmable basins, or you can simply relax and listen to the river.

KAY-IBON FALLS

PLACES WORTH VISITING IN TANAY
Kay-ibon Falls

This waterfall is easily accessible through Marilaque Highway. It can also be a side-trip when hiking Mt. Batolusong.

HOW TO GO TO TANAY RIZAL

Tanay is just a couple of hours away from Metro Manila. There are several ways to go to the hiking capital of the east.

PUBLIC Transportation: Jeepneys and UV Express (Public SUV’s and Vans) are the most common mode of transportation going to Tanay, Rizal. There are terminals in Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig, and Cubao, Quezon City area.

PRIVATE CAR: Driving to Tanay has always been the best option for me. There are three ways you can get to Tanay. First is through Antipolo, via Ortigas Extension (Pasig). Second way is through Binangonan, via Angono Baytown (C6-Taguig). And lastly, which is probably the most widely known option, via Lower Antipolo, or Marilaque Highway.

WHERE TO STAY IN TANAY

An overnight stay in Tanay is so satisfying. Rizal province has very good weather all year round. Thus, it is best for outdoor enthusiasts like me. You have a number of options with your accommodations. You can stay in a fancy hotel, a relaxing camping ground, or a budget-friendly resort hotel.

Ten Cents to Heaven Leisure Camp
http://tencentstoheaven.com/
Address: Sitio Mayagay II, Brgy. Cuyambay, Tanay, Rizal
Contact Numbers: (+632)8542-2087, (0999) 888-6227
Momarco Forest Cove Resort & Hotel
https://www.momarcoforestcoveresortandhotel.com/
Address: Sitio Bathala, Brgy. Plaza Aldea, TANAY
Contact Numbers: (+63)917-851-3623, (+63)928-559-5306
Lambingan Hills
https://www.facebook.com/Lambingan-Hills-Official
Address: Narra Street, Brgy. Cuyambay, Tanay, Rizal
Contact Numbers: (+63)921-571-2014
Treasure Mountain
https://www.facebook.com/TreasureMountainTanay/
Address: Sitio Maysawa, Brgy. Cuyambay, Tanay, Rizal
Contact Numbers: Not available at this time
Balai Tanay
https://www.facebook.com/BalaiTanay/
Address: Daraitan Rd, Tanay, Rizal
Contact Numbers: (+63)917-529-1578

Visit Tanay all-year-round

Tanay is known for a few things. Its mountains, waterfalls, highway, camping sites, and even its diction, ‘hane?’. But more than those things that we already know, Tanay always surprises us with new places worth visiting in this municipality that’s full of adventures. For me, Tanay is indeed the Philippines’ adventure capital of the east. If you are coming to Metro Manila for a few days, and want to escape the city for a day or two, Tanay is the place to go!

P.S.

Read more about the Province of Rizal on my previous blog.