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

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

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.

Work-from-the-beach at Birdland Beach Club

Some of us are already working from home when the pandemic started. This gives us the flexibility of taking our jobs anywhere where there is an internet connection. And that is how Birdland Beach Club came up with the idea of making their beautiful resort into a tech-resort to allow online workers to work from the beach!

ABOUT BIRDLAND BEACH CLUB

Birdland Beach Club is an eco-oriented resort in the heart of Bolinao, Pangasinan. This resort was built around existing corals and trees without destroying them. It’s a pet-friendly resort that also offers high-speed internet for working from home individuals who are in dire need of a trip to the beach.

The resort offers several accommodation options like modern-airconditioned cabanas, Ifugao-inspired wooden homes, and outdoor Kubo huts.

HOW TO GO TO BBC Bolinao?

Bolinao, Pangasinan is a 6-hour drive from Metro Manila. Here are a few tips on how to get to BBC Bolinao:

PRIVATE CAR: If you’re up for the challenge, you can drive north to Tarlac via NLEX. Bolinao is just a couple of hours away from Tarlac.

*You may also opt to rent a van for your family’s trip through Van Rental services. I highly recommend Taong Kalye Van Rental Services. Visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/noahoberez

COMMUTE: Five Star bus offers a direct trip from Cubao, Quezon City to Bolinao. You may also take a bus to Tarlac, and then take a regular bus from Tarlac to Bolinao. From the bus station, you can ride a tricycle to the resort which is just 6 minutes away.

WHAT TO DO IN BIRDLAND BEACH CLUB?

Birdland Beach Club is a birds’ paradise. Imagine waking up in the morning to the sound of singing birds. It’s certainly one of the best ways to relax your soul. There are also several things to do here since Bolinao is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Pangasinan. Here are things that you can do while in Bolinao:

  1. Take a dip at the resort’s swimming pools

Birdland Beach Club has two swimming pools that you can enjoy. Each pool has its own identity and both are artistically designed to match the resort’s rustic jazzy style.

2. Visit Patar Beach and Cape Bolinao Lighthouse

Although Birdland Beach Club is right at the beachfront, you should not miss taking a side-trip to Patar. Patar Beach is a public beach area in Bolinao, but it’s the best beach in this municipality! The Cape Bolinao Lighthouse is just a few minutes from Patar beach.

3. Waterfalls chasing in Samang Norte

Samang Norte boasts of three waterfalls in its barangay. The waterfalls are only 30 minutes away from the resort, and it’s certainly worth driving to.

4. Discover the underwater caves along Patar Road

There are three underwater caves along Patar Road. Each cave has a natural spring water pool inside. It’s a must-visit in Bolinao! These caves are just a few minutes away from the beach.

5. Work-from-the-beach!

I was so amazed that I was able to work and speak with my US-based clients on my mid-range laptop without any technical issues. There are three working stations in Birdland Beach Club with decent Wi-Fi connections sufficient for online tasks. I also tried using my cellphone as a Wi-Fi hotspot and Smart Postpaid’s connection in Bolinao didn’t disappoint.

WHY VISIT BIRDLAND BEACH CLUB?

Birdland Beach Club is one of the few eco-tourism resorts in the country. They also support sustainable tourism by growing their own fruits and vegetables and serving them directly in the resort.

This rustic-style resort has been featured several times on TV. It was also nominated as the best resort in Pangasinan in 2017. We have been to Bolinao several times already, and I can say that this is indeed the best place to stay in the province of Pangasinan.

During this pandemic, tourism is one of the most affected industries globally. Though it is unsafe to go out on a leisure trip at this time, supporting resorts such as BBC Bolinao is one of many ways on how we can help in these trying times.

Please visit Birdland Beach Club soon and take your office works on the beach!

You can book your stay by contacting them using the following information:

Birland Beach Club, Bolinao
Website: https://www.birdlandbeachclub.com/ 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/birdlandbeachclub 
Phone number: +63 977-807-4794

Links to previous blogs: Antipolo, Bolinao, Cebu.

Antipolo City, Pilgrimage City of the Philippines

Antipolo city is the new capital of Rizal Province. Antipolo has been the most populous component city in the Philippines for years, but it did not become the province’s capital until July 2020.

This highly-urbanized city prides itself as the Pilgrimage Capital of the Philippines. Religious Catholic people will never miss visiting Antipolo during the Lenten season. Antipolo is also one of the best choices for a quick vacation with its proximity to Metro Manila.

WHAT TO DO IN ANTIPOLO CITY

To some religious Catholic people, Antipolo is the pilgrimage capital of the Philippines. During the Lenten Season, my Catholic friends will never miss visiting Antipolo Cathedral, the Mystical Cave, and the White Cross of Antipolo.

But Antipolo is actually a mix of urban and rural life. You’ll get both the taste of crowded city life and the tranquility of a quiet camping area not too far from the city proper. The city, with its high elevation, also boasts of a panoramic view of Metro Manila. Thus some resorts and restaurants are too perfect for relaxation.

PLACES TO VISIT IN ANTIPOLO

Here are few places worth visiting in Antipolo:

Mystical Cave – A cave full of beautiful stalactite formations and shiny minerals. This cave is just 30 minutes away from the city proper. It is popular as one of the pilgrimage destinations in Antipolo.

LULJETTA’S HANGING GARDEN SPA – Luljettas is a resort and spa that offers a spectacular view of Metro Manila. It’s a beautifully designed resort sitting on the cliffs of Antipolo ridges.

CLOUD 9 ANTIPOLO – Cloud 9 is a hotel and restaurant that offers a 360-degree view of Metro Manila and Antipolo. They accept walk-in tourists, so you don’t necessarily need to book accommodation or a pricey dinner to get access to the viewing deck. A hanging bridge connects the restaurant and the viewing deck.

Cloud 9

MOUNT PURRO NATURE RESERVES – Mount Purro is a 36-hectare forest sanctuary in the Sierra Madre mountain range. It offers Filipino hut accommodations and camping options for its guests. For more information, please read my Mount Purro blog.

BUNSURAN FALLS – Bunsuran is the most accessible waterfall in Brgy. Calawis, Antipolo City. It has few swimmable basins, and its water flows on a huge wide rock. Read more about Bunsuran by following this link: Bunsuran Falls.

Bunsuran Falls

HINULUGANG TAKTAK PARK– Hinulugang Taktak was the flagship of Antipolo long before it became a city. It used to be a beautiful waterfall. Today, the waterfall is no longer swimmable but still offers a magnificent view.

PINTO ARTS MUSEUM – A museum with a gallery, a cafe, and a park all in one place. It’s a museum in the middle of a forest!

 WHERE TO STAY IN ANTIPOLO

Due to its proximity to Metro Manila, a day trip to Antipolo is more than enough to visit a place or two. But staying for more than just a day is not a bad idea at all. Here are the recommended places in every corner of the city.

LULJETTA'S HANGING GARDEN SPA
https://luljettas.com/
Address:  Sitio Loreland, Barangay San Roque Antipolo City, Rizal 1870
Contact Numbers: (+632) 534 2517, (+63) 925-766-7544
MOUNT PURRO NATURE RESERVES
https://www.mountpurronaturereserve.com/
Address:  Purok 5, Brgy. Calawis, Antipolo City, Rizal 1870
Contact Numbers: (+632) 534 2517, (+63) 925-766-7544
LEBLANC HOTEL AND RESORT
https://www.facebook.com/LeblancPhilippines
Address:  3 Taktak Rd, Antipolo City, Rizal 1870
Contact Numbers: (+632) 518-9303
CAFE LUPE ANTIPOLO
https://cafelupeantipolo.com/
Address: Sumulong Highway, Antipolo City, Rizal 1870
Contact Numbers: (+632) 470-3201, (+63) 945-432-1056
CITY SUITES
http://www.thecitywalksuitesapartment.com/
Address: M.L. Quezon Extn. Brgy. San Roque, Antipolo City, Rizal
Contact Numbers: (+632) 954-8607, (+63) 917-793-0973

HOW TO GO TO ANTIPOLO

Antipolo is really just a 30-minute drive from Makati City. This travel time may take up to two hours during rush hours. Ortigas Ave Extn and Marcos Highway are the most common way to Antipolo, but you may also travel via C6-Floodway to Angono Baytown to avoid heavy traffic.

UV express is the most convenient public transportation to Antipolo. UV stands for Utility Vehicle. They are mostly SUVs, and 18-seater Vans turned into non-metered taxis. There are several UV terminals in Metro Manila located in each Business Centers in Makati, Pasig, Taguig, etc.

Jeepneys and buses are also available as cheaper alternative transportation. Terminals are located in Cubao, Quezon City, and Edsa-Shaw Mandaluyong.

NEW TAGAYTAY?

They say Antipolo is an alternative to Tagaytay. Its high elevation provides cold weather and beautiful views of Metro Manila. Personally, I believe that Antipolo City has a totally different identity. Some tourists visit Antipolo for religious reasons, that’s why they call it the “Pilgrimage Capital.” But there is more to this city than just religious practices and sacrifices.

Antipolo City still has a long way to go with its tourism. At this time, it is not yet comparable to Tagaytay at all. But like what Tagaytay used to be (when it wasn’t yet too crowded), Antipolo is a perfect definition of tranquility.

See you around! À bientôt!

Wow, Bolinao! (Bolinao, Pangasinan)

Bolinao is one of the coastal towns in the province of Pangasinan. It is popularly known for its giant clams that are locally known as ‘Taclobo‘. This municipality is also widely known for its waterfalls and beautiful fine-sand beach.

Bolinao Falls 2

HOW TO GO TO BOLINAO PANGASINAN?

Bolinao is a  6-hour drive from Metro Manila. Here are a few tips on how to get to Bolinao:

PRIVATE CAR: You can drive north to Tarlac via NLEX. Bolinao is just a couple of hours away from Tarlac.

*You may also opt to rent a van for your family’s trip through Van Rental services. I highly recommend Taong Kalye Van Rental Services. Visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/noahoberez.

COMMUTE: Five Star Bus offers a direct trip from Cubao, Quezon City to Bolinao. Or you may also take a bus to Tarlac, and then take a regular bus from Tarlac to Bolinao.

WHERE TO STAY IN BOLINAO?

Birdland Beach Club

We have been to Bolinao four times already. And during our most recent 3-day stay in Bolinao, we stayed in Birdland Beach Club in Long Beach, Bolinao. It’s the best place to stay in Bolinao! It’s just 5 minutes away from the market and bus terminal. It has a reliable internet connection, several room accommodation options, and an overall quiet, relaxing environment.

You can book your stay directly by contacting them using the following information, or you can book using Airbnb, just like we did.

Birland Beach Club, Bolinao
Website: https://www.birdlandbeachclub.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/birdlandbeachclub
Phone number: +63 977-807-4794

Here are other accommodation options in Bolinao:

Treasures of Bolinao
https://treasuresofbolinao.com/
Address: Treasures Rd, Patar, Bolinao
Contact Numbers: +63 906-475-9366
Rockview Beach Resort
https://www.facebook.com/rockviewbeachresort14.net
Address: 2406 Patar Rd, Bolinao
Contact Numbers: +63 905-261-6686
Puerto Del Sol Beach Resort
www.puertodelsol.com.ph
Address: Patar Rd, Bolinao
Contact Numbers: +63 2 8710-7371, +63 917-554-2859, +63 908-895-8491
Sundowners Vacation Villas
www.sundowners.ph
Address: Luciente 1, Bolinao, Pangasinan
Contact Numbers: +63 (977) 859 7299, +63 (998) 544 8070
El Pescador Resort Hotel
www.elpescadorbolinao.com/
Address: San Andres St, Bolinao, Pangasinan
Contact Numbers: +63 999-992-6184, +63 927-145-0110

TOURIST SPOTS TO VISIT IN BOLINAO PANGASINAN

Bolinao is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Pangasinan, and even in North Luzon. Not only that it has very good and relaxing accommodations, but it also has a few places worth visiting! Here are some of the places you should not miss visiting when in Bolinao:

Patar Beach

Patar Beach

Patar beach is a public beach area in Bolinao. It has beautiful cream-white fine sand and clear turquoise blue water. It is free for everyone’s access, and one is not required to rent a cottage. Wouldn’t it be nice if all beaches in the Philippines are like that?

Cape Bolinao Lighthouse.

Bolinao Lighthouse

This lighthouse was built in Patar, Bolinao in 1903. It stands at 351 feet above sea level on top of Punta Piedra Point. It provides a panoramic view of Patar white beach and Cape Bolinao Dendro Thermal Ipil-Ipil Plantation.

Enchanted Cave

The enchanted cave is indeed so enchanting. It’s probably the most beautiful underwater cave that I have seen so far. It has clear cold water inside and there are lights installed. There are also giant clams shells around the area which means that this cave as well as its surrounding used to be part of the ocean!

There are two other underwater caves in Bolinao, but the Enchanted Cave is the most popular.

Bolinao Falls 1

Bolinao Falls 1

Bolinao has a series of waterfalls on its streams. The first waterfall that you will see when entering Brgy. Samang Norte is simply called Bolinao Falls 1. It’s the tallest waterfall in Bolinao and has a deep basin of more than 30 feet.

Bolinao Falls 2

Bolinao Falls 2

I like the second waterfall better than the 1st one. It looks more quiet and peaceful. It has several huts beside the waterfall perfect for a family picnic or barbecue time.

There is a third waterfall downstream which we decided not to visit at this time.

WHERE TO EAT IN BOLINAO

My personal favorite in Bolinao is Tummy Teasers because they offer a variety of food options on their menu. For budget travelers, I would also highly recommend JQ’s Corner. Tummy Teasers restaurant is in Poblacion, along Saturnino Camaingan Street (the road leading to Patar Beach), while JQ’s Corner is right beside the bus terminal.

Here’s my list for you:

JQ's Corner
Type: Budget Breakfast
Location: Poblacion
Contact number: +63 915-925-7627
Giant Taklobo Resto Grill
Type: Sea food
Location: Patar Road
Contact number: +63 921-463-0623
Bolinao 2 London
Type: Grill and Cafe
Location: Poblacion
Contact number: +63 921 563 5765
Sungayan Grill
Type: Sea food
Location: Balingasay 
Contact number: +63 912 353 4433

WHY VISIT BOLINAO?

Bolinao, Pangasinan is a 6-hour drive from Metro Manila, but it’s so much worth it. It has everything that you will ever wish for in a vacation; waterfalls, underwater caves, a white-sand beach, and a totally relaxing accommodation.

It is possible to visit Bolinao on a one-day trip. Some tour agencies and operators offer day-tour packages to Bolinao which are normally really cheap. The itinerary includes leaving Manila at 12 AM, arriving in Bolinao at 6 AM, and going home after a whole day full of adventures. But I highly recommend that you stay for a few days so you can maximize your time at each tourist destination.

The secret to a perfect Bolinao trip is to spend a few days and just feel the serenity of the place. Thus, choosing the right accommodation is certainly one of the most important things in planning your travel to Bolinao.

Let me share a few photos of our very cute accommodation in Birdland Beach Club.

Links to previous blogs: Cebu, Bataan, and Antipolo.