Sky Experience Adventure at Crown Regency Cebu

9 Oct

I have heard of the Sky Experience Adventure at Crown Regency weeks before its opening day two years ago. But I just haven’t gotten around to trying it. Until last weekend.

Crown Regency tower

Tallest building in Cebu

My friend, R, was here in the city for a few days. And Skywalk was on top of her TO DO List. I decided to accompany her to try it for myself.

The reception area was empty at 4 PM

We got the 800 php package. This includes the Edge Coaster, Skywalk, 4D Movie, and dinner buffet at Sparkz Restobar.

We watched the 4D movie first. Supposedly, our tickets only allow one movie (The Lost Island). But the guy in charge let us watch another one (Ode to Life) for free. Maybe because there were only two other people in the theater.

R inside the 20-seater theater

After the two movies, we went to the 37th floor for the Edge Coaster. We walked around the area where they had a few coin- operated telescopes to view the city skyline.

You have to drop a 10-peso coin to use this.

Before we got on the Edge Coaster, we were asked to register and leave everything (cameras, cellphones, bags…) at a counter.

Two at a time

As we got ourselves seated, we were given instructions on how to operate the tilt control. The coaster then started to move. It was slow but after a few seconds it automatically tilted to a 50- degree angle. At that moment, I was able to prove to myself that I don’t have an insane fear of heights. I didn’t let out a scream! ;) But it was still quite scary. Although knowing that the control was just right in front of us made a lot of difference.

There was an official photographer that took a few pictures of us. But we didn’t get them. Simply because they were ridiculously priced! For 6 photos, we have to pay 550 PHP to have them in a CD and 230 PHP for each photo print-out. We just agreed to save our money for our Skywalk photos. Such cheapskates! ;)

After the Edge Coaster, we went to Robinson’s Mall (a few blocks away from the hotel) to get something to drink. We decided against buying drinks from the snack bar because 3 pieces of siomai and iced tea costs 150 php! We waited in the mall until it got dark so we will have a good view of the city lights when we do the Skywalk.

When we got back to the hotel, there were significantly more people.

We again had to register and were given a key for our locker.

We had to leave everything in the locker. Accessories, even stud earrings, are not allowed when doing the skywalk.

Skywalkers have to wear rubber shoes. That’s why R had to buy a pair of socks (20 PHP) at the registration counter and borrow a pair of shoes from them at no extra charge.

That's Fuente Osmena Circle right there. ;)

It would have been nicer if we could have stayed longer to enjoy the view of the city below us. But alas, thirty minutes was all we had. It was great fun, nonetheless. It is not everyday that you get the chance to be “on top of the world”! ;)

And for that, we got this:

I survived!

What’s inside:

The proof :)

We were down to our last adventure- the Food!

There were so many dishes to choose from!

And, we ended the night with very full bellies! ;)

Note: For the skywalk, it is better to go in groups so the photos will come out cheaper. They have different packages for various group sizes.

Day 1: Hong Kong Science Museum and Hong Kong Museum of History

2 Oct

We planned to visit five museums over the course of our stay. However, we ended up visiting only two and that was on our first day.

Here are the interesting museums in HK that you can visit.

From Nathan Road near Tsim Sha Tsui Exit B1, we took an A21 bus to get to the Hong Kong Science Museum and paid 8 HKD with our Octopus Card. The driver of the bus was very friendly. He was more than happy to talk to somebody in English. He told us when it was time to get off at 119 Chatam Road South and pointed the Hong Kong Museum of History across the road.

If you have the time to visit most of the museums in HK, it would be better to get this pass. This weekly pass will save you some money. This is available in all the museums.

I initially thought we would be able to cover more places on our first day since the Science Museum and the Museum of History are just across each other. It turned out the Science Museum was so big we spent almost two hours there.

They had different exhibits on construction which were quite amusing.

This plasma ball looks more magical in person as you get to see purple-colored currents, which the camera failed to capture.

I didn't pay much attention but I think this was about the amount of groceries consumed within a particular period of time, if not their nutritional value.

Cathay Pacific plane and the Junk

There are four floors to this museum catering to the many different branches of science. It was kind of hard to resist the interactive exhibits. So yeah, an hour will pass you by before you even know it. ;)

There were more of these puzzles. ;)

Head on a plate?!

This reminded me of that scene in The Night at the Museum. :p

After we finally managed to get ourselves out of the Hong Kong Science Museum, we crossed to the history museum. It has a more serious atmosphere to it. It was quiet and we saw only few visitors. But it was still big. And still, we spent more time in there than we had planned.

Stone Age

Junk is the famous symbol of Hong Kong.

This is a part of a traditional Chinese wedding ceremony.

Chinese Opera

Photos in this post are from Ate R, P, and B. Thanks, guys! :)

Island Hopping in Mactan, Cebu

28 Sep

Last Saturday I went island hopping with my dad and a whole bunch of people. Our take off point was the Boyla Diving Resort. The place wasn’t very accessible such that we got lost along the way. The driver of our bus had to call another driver several times for directions. :(

Our boat was very spacious and had its own toilet.I think it's new as it still smelled of paint.

After about 45 minutes, we reached our first stop- Hilutungan Marine Sanctuary. I was disappointed for two reasons. One, guests were restricted to go any closer to the island. And two, there weren’t that many colorful corals and fishes. I even had to swim far just to find blue starfishes, which are rather common. I expected a lot since it’s a marine sanctuary but Moalboal is so much better. In Moalboal, you would already find Nemo and his friends even before your toes could no longer touch the seabed.

One can't go past those buoys. :(

We didn’t stay here for some reason. After spending thirty minutes in Hilutungan, we sailed to Caohagan for lunch. It was low tide when we approached Caohagan. Thus, we had to ride a small banca to take us to the island.

Thiswas as close as we can go.

It was my first time in Caohagan. There’s quite a big number of residents. I was surprised to find a handful of Koreans playing with the local children. Indeed, they are everywhere!

Barangay Hall

We had to walk all the way to the other side of the island to eat. But it was all worth it. The view, the water, the sand, were so much better. Even if Caohagan is not a very big island, there were still vendors. I guess no island is too small for business here in the Philippines.

Seafood anyone?

What about seashells?

This was my favorite. Unfortunately, those were not very young coconuts!

Lunch was served by the cottages across the coconut shop.

We had crabs, squids, fish, pork, and chicken. All grilled. Yum!

It rained a bit while we were there. It was a good thing since the sun that day was on the verge of giving us a heat stroke.

White sand beach. Too bad we can't swim because it was low tide.

On our way back to the boat, I chatted our bangkero. He said the small boats are the normal means of transportation of the people in Caohagan. They ride a banca to reach the city and it takes them about 1.5 hours.

Some of us went on a banca. But there were those who decided to just walk.

From Caohagan, we headed back to Mactan. Overall, it was a so-so trip. Island hopping in Mactan is not really my favorite but the people I’m with that day made up for it. ;)

Disclaimer: This was a sponsored trip so I cannot give any information on costing.

Hundred Islands in Alaminos City, Pangasinan

5 Aug

I have dreamed of going to Hundred Islands since I was in kindergarten. I was still very young when my mom’s friend came to our house. She just came back from her vacation. She shared how she enjoyed her time in Hundred Islands. It must have been with how her face brightened up as she was describing her experience and her overflowing excitement that got me to promise myself:  I will also visit that place someday.

Fast track to 2007, a few days after my Pagsanjan trip, I found myself and C on a bus to Pangasinan.

Hundred Islands is about 5 hours away from Manila. I used to think these islands were very small that they are just a few steps away from each other. I really thought you can explore all one hundred islands by foot! Much to my surprise, it did not turn out like that.

They were this size. Some were even much bigger!

Well, we didn’t actually see the islands until the next day. Since we arrived in Alaminos around7 PM, we just checked in to a resort. Its name escapes me now.

This is just one of the beds in the room. Shame on the T&B, though. It was just too small for my liking.

We went to the wharf early the next day. We got a small boat since there were only us two.

I think we paid about 600- 750 php for the boat.

Our boatman gave us the names of the islands as we pass by them. He mentioned Marcos Island, Governor’s island where there’s a Pinoy Big Brother (reality TV show) house, and  Quezon island where most boats make a stopover. Guests can go swimming and cook here. This is where we rented a kayak.

Some islands are not developed and don't have names

At that time, a lot of people where in Quezon island so I convinced C that we go to another island. It was C’s first time to try kayaking. I’m sure she found it a fun challenge to kayak all the way to Lopez island.

It was a long way for us to get to Lopez island but it really made our adventurous spirits happy.

Lopez island is great for sunbathing. We got to enjoy the clear waters and fine sand all to ourselves. It was like we have our very own island.

The island farthest in the background is the Quezon island.

We stayed for a few hours just swimming and getting baked.We also looked for shells and whatnot from the sea.

Limestones behind C

We didn’t bring anything to eat. So when we could no longer ignore our stomachs, we had to leave. The current by this time was significantly stronger. But we made it safely back to Quezon island.

We then went back to the resort for some food.

C shocked by the amount of food we have to devour

Me feeling all excited to finally fill my stomach with something

After lunch, we hurriedly packed our things and checked out so we can catch an earlier bus to Manila.

The view outside our room and C with her funny face! ;p

It was really a great trip! And I proudly ticked it off the list. ;)

Laguna in ’07

2 Aug

A little more than three years ago, my friend C and I decided to explore Laguna. I was about to quit my call center job at that time and I thought of using up all my leave credits. C lives in Manila so I just met up with her there.  The main reason we were going to Laguna was to see the Pagsanjan Falls. But just like in every trip, I wanted to make the most of our time. So we also got to visit other places. We didn’t hire tour guides and private vehicles. We just brought a map and made commuting and walking on foot fun for the both of us. ;)

Seeing each other again several years after college

C picked me up from the airport. We then took the MRT (Metro Rail Transit) to get to Alabang (south of Manila). We took a bus from there to get to Laguna. It was already late and we didn’t have any reservations. When we reached Pagsanjan, we just asked a tricycle driver to take us to any good resort in the area. He took us to Pagsanjan Falls Lodge and Summer Resort. The only accommodation they had available for that night was this:

The boat house

And we could not complain. ;) The boat house has two rooms. Our room cost 1500 php/ night. It was decent and quite stable for a boat house. Not that I have been on any other boat houses before. ;)

We woke up early the next day for our trip to the falls. Reservations can be made with the resort.  I think we paid a little less than a 1000 php for this trip.

Our ride

The canoe can accommodate a maximum of five people- three tourists and two boatmen. In our case, we had a father- son tandem. The father was a bit chatty. He told us about participating in the boat racing contest during the Bangkero Festival. This is a festival held every first week of March in Pagsanjan, Laguna.

The view on the way to the falls is very enchanting.

The trip was quite long. We didn’t mind though. There were a lot of things to see, just like this life- size Lady of Guadalupe in front of a colorful house.

Our Lady of Guadalupe is the town's patroness.

It was amazing how our boatmen maneuver the canoe against the strong current and the many rapids along the way as we pass through cliffs. It definitely requires some serious skills. They paddled, they pushed their feet against the rocks, and they carried the boat. Still, they managed to make it look so easy.

Mr. Boatman expertly maneuvering our way to the falls.

Our boatmen parked the canoe  as we caught sight of the falls. We had to get on a raft to take us closer the falls. We paid about 15 php each. It was a good thing that we got their early. There weren’t a lot of tourists yet.

Behind the cascading waters is the Devil's cave

We stayed here for a while, just swimming and enjoying the cool waters as it hits our bodies angrily. It was really relaxing.

We then headed back to the resort to take some pictures before we checked out. The resort was big. It had a swimming with a long, winding slide.

The resort had a good view of the river.

From the resort, we went to explore more of Laguna. We saw old houses and churches. Most of the time we were walking or riding a tricycle to get to our destination.

Lumban Church

Then we went to the Japanese Garden in Cavinti. We had quite a trouble finding this garden. For some reason, the locals whom we got to ask were not very familiar with it. But we did eventually find somebody to take us there.

It was very quiet when we got there and we hardly saw anybody. The silence was so deafening that I had to play some music from my phone, just so we won’t be scared out of our wits! I was thinking maybe it was because we visited during noon. We still continued to walk further. We then climbed the steep stairs.

Since this garden was created in memory of the Japanese soldiers who died during World War II, I wasn’t surprised to find tombs with Japanese inscriptions. But they surely added to the eerie feel of the place.

Japanese Garden

The steep stairs seemed endless. It had a landing every fifteen steps or so. But as you reach a landing, you will only be greeted by another set of stairs. And from each landing, you won’t really see what’s up ahead. You will just see the stairs meeting the sky. As much as we were hesitant to climb that next set of stairs, we were also curious of what lies ahead. We even heard voices that really made us reconsider our decision of continuing the plight of stairs.

Boy, were we glad we didn’t give up!

At the Japanese Garden with a view of Lake Caliraya

After that last step, we were greeted by the magnificent view of Lake Caliraya. And those voices, they actually belonged to a family who were there to have a picnic. We couldn’t help but laugh at ourselves! We were such scaredy cats! I couldn’t even stop laughing as I am writing this!

We took more pictures and spent some time just to take in the view. And of course, to rest a bit after that climb. When we headed back, we found some picnic huts on the lower level of the garden. By this time, there were more people in the garden as it was already about 4pm.

Entrance to the cemetery

Our last stop for this trip was the Underground Cemetery in Nagcarlan. There weren’t any tourists when we got there. We went inside and headed to the chapel. We saw a guy who introduced himself as the guide and caretaker of the place. We signed the guestbook and we started the tour. The guy was nice and he clearly knows what he was talking about.

No picture taking was allowed inside the cemetery. Most of the things we saw inside were really, really old. Some parts of the structure haven’t even been replaced yet. According to the guide, if there’s heavy rain, the whole underground will be filled with water that entered through the windows.

Outside the Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery; the guy at the back was our tour guide

We were hoping to visit the house of Jose Rizal in Calamba but we were already pressed for time as we had to go back to Manila on that day.

Overall, it was really a fun experience. :)

Last Summer Hurrah

16 Jul

Summers are made of fond memories.

It has already started to rain in my country but that did not stop us from going on another beach trip in the middle of June. I know, this is a long overdue post and I apologize for not updating my blog regularly. Life is just crazy these days. ;)

Anyway, my family have talked about this trip for a while but wasn’t able to come up with any concrete plans. Carbin Reef was mentioned but since we didn’t have any reservations we were hesitant to go there. Nonetheless, we took off very early on a Sunday, brought some essentials- extra clothes, swimwear, food, and water, and headed to Sagay City. This is located in the northern part of Negros island. If you are coming from Bacolod City, which is the capital of Negros Occidental, it will take about an hour and a half to reach Sagay.

As we reached Sagay, we went to Museo Sang Bata Sa Negros. A guy let us park the car beside the building. He also arranged for us to get to Carbin Reef. On a normal occasion, we most likely wouldn’t be able to cross because only a few boats are allowed to bring guests in a day. Luckily for us, a group canceled and we went in their place.

There’s a wet market across the museum. Visitors can buy food there to take with them. Grills are available at the sandbar.

We paid a total of 1560 PHP covering the fees for the parking, boat,  cottage, and entrance for 7 people.

A notice found outside Museo Sang Bata Sa Negros.

The wharf is just a short walk from the museum.

I think it took about 30 minutes to reach the sandbar. Carbin reef is just one of the reefs in Sagay. But this is the most popular and the most visited. According to the Sagay website:

Carbin Reef is a marine sanctuary with its huge, tongued-shaped, creamy white sandbar and its clear waters offers the freshest option for swimming, snorkeling, picnic,  or just frolicking in the sand.

There are only few cottages available. Guests who prefer to stay overnight can sleep at the tower (far left).

We enjoyed the sun, sea, and sand for two hours. Fishes underwater were not as colorful as I had hoped but they were still fun to watch.

Guests are prohibited from swimming near the tip of the sandbar. The current in this area is rather strong.

We only had bread, peanut butter, chips, and candies with us. So the first thing we did after reaching dry land was to look for a place to eat. There are several good restaurants in Sagay. Enting’s and Sutukil are among them. We initially wanted to eat at Enting’s but they didn’t have any seafoods to serve. So we ended up at Sutukil which is just located next door. Although, we did buy roasted native chicken from Enting’s to take with us to our next destination. The chicken costs 150 PHP each.

We had calamares (fried squid rings), tinolang isda (soup with fish), and grilled fish . The meal was completed with a big serving of rice.

After lunch, we still haven’t decided where we will go next. Our options were Lakawon Island in Cadiz City or Bonista Beach Resort in Escalante City. I am alright with either of the two since I have already visited these places. But some family members and friends who were with us have never been to Bonista. Going to Escalante was also more convenient for us at that time. So my mom called the owner and when she said they had a vacant room, we headed to Escalante.

Top row: apple mango; resort's swimming pool; restaurant; century-old tree; Middle row: slices of apple mango and our room key; resort's signage; our room; stairs leading to the rooms on a cliff; Bottom row: fambam and friends lazing under a tree; inside the restaurant; inside our room

We were informed beforehand that the room is actually just good for two. But the owner said she can allow all seven of us to squeeze into the room. That wouldn’t have been a problem. However, the airconditioning system inside the room simply couldn’t bear to cool the entire room with all of us in it. Fortunately, a group of guests had to cut their stay short so we got to have one of the rooms on a cliff. Aren’t we the luckiest ones? ;)

Our room was very spacious and had seven mattresses laid out on the floor. They also provided us with an extra electric fan to make the room cooler.

The view that greeted me in the morning. =)

One of the things that we enjoyed so much at the resort was their apple mango. They were very delicious we couldn’t have enough. We even bought more to bring home with us. The resort has their own apple mango trees which they allow to grow naturally. No chemicals are used on these trees.

We didn’t do much while we were there. We just ate, talked, slept, and ate some more. It was a great vacation. It also didn’t hurt that the weather was great. The night sky was literaly littered with bright stars that we spent a good time just gazing at them.

We left early the next day because we had to meet my brothers for a lunch in Silay City and I have a plane to catch later that afternoon. Along the way, we bought some puto (rice cakes). The municipality of Manapla in Negros Occidental is known for their good-tasting rice cakes.

Plain puto and puto with margarine @ 25 PHP per pack from vendors along the highway in Manapla

We had lunch in Balaring. It is a barangay in Silay City that is famous for their seaside restaurants. We often eat at Tama Plaza. This place serves sumptuous dishes they make you forget you are on a diet, if you are on one. If not, I’m sure all the more that you would be enjoying your meal to your stomach’s content. ;)

Clockwise: shrimp; sizzling squid; sizzling bangus (milk fish); the happy eaters; soup with fish; stuffed squid; restaurant's menu; dining area; oysters; entrance to the restaurant (We also had sizzling blue marlin but I was too busy eating to take a picture. It arrived late, you see.)

Just as we were leaving the restaurant, it started to rain.

So long summer... until next year.

As we arrived there, we went to Museo Sang Bata Sa Negros. A guy let us park the car beside the museum building. On a normal occasion, we wouldn’t be able to cross to Carbin Reef He also arranged the boat for us.

This is where we parked our car and paid for the boat that would take us to Carbin Reef. [1560 PHP covering the entrance fee of 7 people, the boat, and the cottage]

Last Day in Negros Oriental (in Pictures)

12 Jul

We started the day early.

Our first stop was the fruit market.

We then bought some food and drinks at the Public market.

We headed to Dauin and met my dad's friend and his family.

We stayed in this hut while waiting for lunch.

We then went for a swim.

Took a quick shower here before heading back..

My family left me at the sea port in Sibulan..

On the way to the boat.

Santander Express @ 62 PHP per head. This ferry travels several times a day from Santander to Sibulan and vice versa.

There were only a handful of passengers on board.

I arrived in Liloan, Santander (Cebu) after20 minutes. From the port, I took a motorcycle to go to the highway. I then hopped on a Ceres bus (130 PHP) to Cebu City. The bus traveled for 108 kms and took about 3.5 hours.

Bethel Guesthouse

11 Jul

Bethel Guesthouse

Okay, here is a little story:

When we got to Dumaguete, we went straight to Bethel Guesthouse. We didn’t have any reservations. And, according to one of the receptionists, they were almost fully booked. They only had one twin room (1,200PHP/ 2 pax) and a villa suite (4,000 PHP/ 2 pax) available. To get both rooms plus paying for extra beds would be quite expensive, considering that we arrived late in the afternoon and will be leaving early the next day. We asked her to check again. She said she was sorry but that there weren’t any other rooms available. So, we decided to just go with it.

As my aunt was filling up a form for the twin room, the receptionist was talking to somebody on the phone. When she put the phone down, she was all smiles. Somebody just  canceled their reservations. We got to have another twin room which also happened to be on the same floor as the other one.

I guess we were very lucky! :)

The lobby and Information counter

Our Twin Room with the extra bed at the far end.

When we got to our room, Kung Fu Panda was on. I haven’t seen that movie and still wasn’t able to watch it then as we went down to the restaurant after a few minutes.

Cafe Filomena; They had a special buffet @ 175 PHP for adults. The dinner was filling and so much better than what we had in Siquijor.

An hour or two after dinner, we had a massage in the room. We just requested the receptionist to make a call for the masseuses.

It was a great way to end a tiring day. :)

Second Day in Siquijor (Part 2)

30 Jun

There was no electricity pretty much the whole day that we spent a lot of time at the restaurant. However, when the resort staff couldn’t assure us that they will have a working generator for the rest of the day, we decided it would be better if we just spend the night in Dumaguete. And, of course, they did not let us leave right away. The manager tried to make us change our minds by giving us discounts and saying that the resort van is unavailable to take us to the ferry terminal. But we were firm on our decision that we soon found ourselves negotiating with motorcycle drivers. From this point on, we no longer have an itinerary to follow.

That's my brother on one of the 4 "habal- habals" that we hired. We paid 75 PHP each.

The resort is located in Candaping, Maria. This is about 30 minutes away from Larena. From Larena, we hired two tricycles to take us to Siquijor, which is 20 minutes away. Supposedly, the fare per head is just 20 PHP but we were overcharged. Our driver asked for 150 PHP when there were only three of us. It was definitely a rip off! :(

The ticket counter at the Siquijor port.

We were hoping to catch the 3 PM trip but it was already fully booked. Since it was a Saturday, meaning only Delta Ferry is available, we had to wait for the next one which was at 4:30 PM.

We were starving by this time but there were no restaurants in sight. We just stayed at a cafeteria and ate some chips and biscuits and had cold drinks. After about an hour, we headed to the terminal and waited for the ferry. It was hot inside the terminal so I stayed outside where there’s shade.

The terminal fee is only 17 PHP.

Good thing the ferry was on time. Boy was I glad when we set foot in Dumaguete!

Second Day in Siquijor (Part 1)

20 Jun

We woke up early the next day. I went for a stroll with my aunt while my parents went to look for some snacks. There weren’t any snacks, like biscuits and chips, available at the resort. Save for some salted nuts that cost 45 PHP per pack (which I managed to haggle down to 30 PHP)! Ridiculously expensive, I must say. Even the lady at the counter thought so too.

We saw this guy cleaning the shore very early in the morning.

We walked this whole stretch and stopped just before the lush greens at the far end.

As we were walking, we saw several fishing boats out into the sea. There were also a few families who have houses amidst the coconut trees.

Happy locals looking for sea weeds

We would have wanted to cross to the other side but the water was starting to rise, making it impossible for us to do so without getting totally wet. So, we just went back. We spent a good time sitting under a tree while our feet frolic in the water.

We sat here and talked until we got hungry.

We met my parents at the outdoor restaurant and ordered some breakfast.

Outdoor restaurant

We got complimentary breakfast for two. This is what I had.

After breakfast, I went around the resort and took some pictures. I saw a group of fishermen who delivered some fresh fish to the resort. I called to my dad to have a look and he bought some to be served for our lunch.

View from the restaurant

Some of the flowers grown at the resort

I walked some more and found a set of stairs by the pool.

Stairs near the pool that leads to the beach

I went down to the beach again and played in the sand for a little while.

Enjoying the sand on my feet

The heat started to become too much for  me that I walked back to the restaurant. On my way, I found a hammock.

To the left of this sun bed is a hammock

And I fell asleep on it. :)

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