From Palawan

12 Asian Destinations for First-time Solo Backpackers

In 2012, I traveled solo for the first time in my life.

I still remember how scared I was before the trip. With only a small backpack, a Neil Gaiman book, a thousand dollars, and a will to get out of my comfort zone, I boarded the plane to Bangkok. As I was checking in, there were no butterflies in my belly, only a great fear that I might find myself unfit for the travel lifestyle and come running back home earlier than planned.

Read more

All You Need is Pag-ibig: 4 Filming Locations in Coron, Palawan

When I quit my full-time corporate job a couple of months ago, I thought I could finally have the time to update this blog on a regular basis. But I was wrong. Love happened. Pag-ibig happened.

All You Need is Pag-ibig is a Star Cinema entry to the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) this year. When I was first invited by Director Antoinette Jadaone to co-write this, the concept was so distant from it has become. To be honest, I declined initially. I just didn’t know where to get the time to do it. But it is hard to say no to somebody like Direk Tonet who, as Kris Aquino put it, has the ability to make stories feel like “it happens to all of us and yet she does it a cinematic way.”

Read more

SPIN Designer Hostel El Nido: Our Best Hostel Experience in the Philippines

They found me at the common area, playing bingo. Yes, bingo.

“We’ve been waiting for you downstairs,” my new friends said. “We thought you were in your room.”

Alas I was not. I was in the company of fun-loving backpackers from around the world, each of us meticulously arranging our piles of tiny pebbles that would be my markers on the two cards that bore random numbers. The next round was just about to start. Friday nights are Bingo nights at SPIN El Nido.

Read more

Long Beach, San Vicente, Palawan: The Longest White Beach in the Philippines

If I ever wondered how hot a motorcycle’s muffler could get after 15 minutes of non-stop driving, I got the painful answer as soon as I reached Long Beach. Out of utter excitement, I carelessly got off the vehicle with my right leg touching the searing muffler. It was excruciating, to say the least. I let out a shriek, the same shriek I make when I open my wallet at the end of each month. And for a moment there, I was in hell.

But only for a moment.

The pain was nothing compared to the pure, anesthetic bliss delivered in big doses by the sand sparkling under the equally scorching summer sun.

Read more

6 Popular Restaurants in El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Dining is a big part of travel. Food is an essential part of any destination. The same holds true for El Nido.

Although this humble town tucked in the northern tip of Palawan does not have a distinct, world-famous cuisine, a trip here is not complete without trying its many restaurants — something I failed to do during my first visit. My equally wanting wallet at the time could only spew enough money for bread for breakfast and street barbeque for dinner. Not complaining, but still.

Read more

The Twin Beaches of Nacpan and Calitang: El Nido, Palawan

We were in the mood to bask in the sun that morning. El Nido wasn’t.

It was sweet and sunny when we left our hotel. Despite the heavy rain the night before, we kept our optimism on the way to our destination. As I sat inside the van, I thought, “This is going to be a great day!”

All of a sudden, the vehicle stopped. It was bogged. The continuous raining the past days had turned the dirt road into chocolate marshmallows and now swallowed the tires of our van. We hopped out, removed our slippers, and walked several hundred meters barefoot to the beach. Still, nothing was going to spoil the day!

Read more

Coron on a Budget: Travel Guide

It was like a giant bucket of paint spilled into the water that morning. Dazzlingly, the sun showered the world with a whole lot of gold and red. Half-awake, we got up and watched  our boat made futile attempts to scratch the mirror-like surface of the sea. The sun, bursting into full glory, just snatched us out of slumber completely. The day had officially begun and if the view was any indication, it would be an unforgettable one.

Read more

Maquinit Hot Springs: Tub Therapy in Coron, Palawan

The Boiling Frog popped up in my head as soon as I took the first step into the pool. My reflexes instantly pulled my leg out of the water. It wasn’t lukewarm; it was scalding. Playing within 39 and 40 degrees Celsius, scalding may be exaggerating it, but it was almost unbearable at first dip. Blame the the unusually cold wind even though it was a mid-summer night. Still, I trod on and tiptoed to the middle of the pool. The heat had turned into warmth, and I allowed it to envelop my body as it began to sweep all my troubles away.
Read more