June 19, 2016
Our rainy second day in Japan was spent at the Toei Kyoto Studio Park, which is home to many anime blockbusters (Dragonball, Sailor Moon, and the original Power Rangers), and where around 200 Japanese films are produced every year. The movie theme park also functions as an Edo period film set. In fact, some scenes of Rurouni Kenshin (Samurai X) were shot there.
Kyoto was once known as the Hollywood of Japan. Instead of spending a day at the Universal Studios Osaka, we thought of checking this park out to learn more about Japanese film-making. We were lucky to have been there on a Sunday as there were many shows happening and mascots roaming around. Truly worth every yen ($2200/person) spent!
June 18, 2016
Our afternoon was spent at the picturesque Golden Pavilion or the Kinkaku-ji, a Zen Buddhist temple and another UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is about a 9-minute bus (Bus No. 204) ride away from the JR Emmachi Station, which in turn is just three stops away from the JR Saga-Arashiyama Station. Also, the hydrangeas found along the way were so pretty.
June 18, 2016
We flew to Japan last week for a family vacation. We arrived early in the morning of June 18, claimed our West Kansai-Hiroshima JR pass (which we will be writing about when we summarize our trip), deposited our luggage in the coin lockers found at the train station, and explored Kyoto for our first day. Note that we had no fixed itinerary for the entire trip. We just had some sites in mind (thanks also to suggestions of friends, especially Janna’s boss) but we had to make up our itinerary as we went along because of changes in weather conditions.
Sagano Bamboo Grove
Our first stop was the Bamboo Grove in Arashiyama, which is considered nationally as a “Place of Scenic Beauty” and also a “Historic Site”. Our photos here do not give justice to the magical feeling of being surrounded by tall bamboos.
Just within the area is also a Buddhist temple built in the 1300’s, the Tenryu-ji, which has been designated as a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site for being a Historical Monument of Ancient Kyoto.
May 27, 2016
We started our Cebu trip by going to the Cebu South Bus Terminal at around 4A.M. to take an Oslob-bound bus. Fare costs P160 per person.
We asked the conductor to drop us off at Brgy. Tan-awan. There, we were greeted by May-Ann, our contact in Oslob, who took care of tickets for our Whale shark Watching Activity, and our day trip to the Sumilon Island sandbar.
The whale shark is the largest living fish, and swimming with them was a different kind of experience for us. From what we saw, the whale sharks are well taken care of. The municipal officers are strict with rules, and they have marine biologists overseeing everything. However, we can only wish that every visitor interacting with the whale sharks would be as responsible.
After a 30-minute encounter with the whale sharks, we had lunch and prepared for our trip to the Sumilon Island sandbar, which was just a 15-minute boat ride away from Brgy. Tan-awan. We waited until late afternoon for the sandbar to emerge but we had to leave when it was already getting dark. We were able to enjoy the crystal clear waters of the Sumilon Island anyway.
We’re back from our 3-day Cebu adventure. We got to cover more than what we expected that’s why it’s going to be tough to share everything right away. Maybe, we’ll just do it in installments and then summarize everything in one post later on.
This part is about Osmeña Peak, the highest point in the island of Cebu. Situated in Dalaguete, Cebu, the peak is at 1,072.6 meters above sea level. However, it was a very short hike because the jump-off point is already near the peak. Since we were pressed for time, we didn’t get the chance to hike all the way up, and instead cheated with the help of a motorcycle, or habal-habal to get to the hiker’s registration area. (Note: We chartered two motorcycles for two days to get to different parts of South Cebu to cover as much as possible, and we’ll write about this in the coming days). From there, it took us around 15 minutes to get to the peak.
The entrance fee is just at P20 per person, while there are no fixed fees set for tour guides.
At the summit, you will see some extraordinary “hilly” formations, the shore of Moalboal, and the islands of Badian, Siquijor, Bohol, and Negros. Definitely a must-do when visiting Cebu!
May 14, 2016
Whenever we want to go on a hiking trip but don’t want to travel as far, the province of Rizal is our go-to place. The town of Montalban , which is just an hour away from Cubao, Quezon City, offers different trails going up different mountains, which form part of the Sierra Madre range.
Last Saturday, we hiked Mt. Hapunang Banoi. Just like Mt. Pamitinan and Mt. Binacayan, the jump-off point is at Brgy. Wawa. Entrance fee is at P25/head, while the services of tour guides are at P500/group. The trail is very challenging and would require climbing sharp rocks. It took us probably three hours to reach the summit (which was definitely worth it) and an hour to get down.
May 7, 2016
If you’re looking for a private beach for that barkada/family outing, you may want to check out Palm Beach in Brgy. San Roque, Sariaya, Quezon, which is approximately 2.5 hours away from Manila (via Maharlika Highway or the newly-opened Quezon Eco-Tourism Road). In this beach, one can enjoy the calm waters of the Tayabas Bay, brown powdery sand, and a view of the Mount Banahaw.
For more information, you may contact Mr. Al Gutierrez at 09088639148.
April 23, 2016
The province of Laguna is blessed with many waterfalls, one of which is this 90-ft. Buntot Palos Falls, which according to our tour guide is the highest among the province’s waterfalls, and ranked 4th nationwide during the It’s More Fun in the Philippines Department of Tourism campaign.
Situated in the town of Pangil, one can easily reach the jump-off point from Manila by riding an Infanta-bound bus, getting off in Famy, and then riding a tricycle to get to Panguil River Ecopark, Brgy. Natividad. An alternative would also be taking a jeep bound for Siniloan from Robinson’s Cainta, riding another jeepney bound for Famy and then taking the tricycle.
However, from the Panguil River Ecopark, it would take a 1.5 to 2-hour challenging trek, to get to this amazing view.
The services of a tour guide cost P500/group of 5, while entrance fees are at P25/person. Pretty cheap for such a breathtaking experience.
You may reach Kagawad Ester, who’s in charge, for more information at 09267001056. We also offer joiner’s tours; email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 17, 2016
Sunday lunch was spent at Marcia Adams’, a Tuscan-themed garden restaurant near Tagaytay City. For the ambiance and a three-course meal, consisting of an appetizer, a main course (Grilled Aromatic Pork Chop), and dessert, the price (at least P700/head) was just right.