Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Laguna: 2 Days Itinerary and Budget Expenses

Our weekend was full of unforgettable first time experiences. What's great about this trip was that we were able to do many things in just 2 days and swim in different bodies of water - falls, batis and lake. See, Laguna is more than just hot springs, slides and theme parks.

what our Php2000 budget allowed us to do ^_^

Laguna Weekend Series:

Travel Video: Laguna Weekend Getaway
Laguna: The 2-Hour Plan Challenge
Pagsanjan Falls: The Php150 Challenge
Villa Sylvia Resort, Nagcarlan
Lake Pandin: Not Your Ordinary Outdoor Pool

Places we visited: Pagsanjan Falls (via Cavinti Trek), Villa Sylvia Resort in Nagcarlan and Lake Pandin of San Pablo.

Here's a rough draft of our itinerary:

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lake Pandin: Not Your Ordinary Outdoor Pool

The road leading to our next destination was notably clear of traffic, we can even count in our fingers how many jeeps and cars passes by. Although uncommon, it wasn't surprising as this scenario happens every time a Pacquiao fight transpires.

Lake Pandin

I've been to a number of lakes. One of our clan's property sits in a charming cove in Lake Sebu which I try to visit every time I fly south of Mindanao. Understandably, I feel much at home with lakes. Swimming in it is another thing.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Villa Sylvia Resort, Nagcarlan

Nagcarlan, Laguna may be more famous for its Underground Cemetery, a one of its kind in the Philippines. On the other hand, we were introduced to a more exciting Nagcarlan during our recent Laguna Weekend Getaway. All thanks to this beautiful mountain refuge, Villa Sylvia Resort.

Just a little more than 2 hours from JacLiner Bus Terminal in Buendia on a night time commute, we decided to start our weekend trip and rest for the night here at Villa Sylvia Resort. My companions, all tired from office work wanted to start the trip that Friday evening. We hopped on a Lucena bound bus and alight at San Pablo Church (city plaza beside 7/11). From there, hopped on a jeep bound to Nagcarlan and dropped of at the resort situated just along the highway. It was 12mn when we arrived at the resort and were welcomed by Ving. We chose the Php1,800 air-conditioned room (good for 8 people) and dozed off in no time.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pagsanjan Falls: The Php150 Challenge

I have lived in Laguna for 19 years but it was only this June 2012 was I able to visit the famous Laguna tourist spot, the Pagsanjan Falls. As much as I enjoyed seeing the falls, the journey, however, was much more memorable than the actual falls itself as we had to endure a 45 minute trek, rappel on a 90 degrees enclosed vertical metal ladder and walk past steep staircases - yeah, this is what you get when availing the cheapest Pagsanjan package.

The group was extremely excited when I told them that I included Pagsanjan Falls in the itinerary - a plan that I was forced had to put together within 2 hours. From Villa Sylvia Resort, we hopped from one jeep to another until we reached Pagsanjan Aresi Complex. Asking for directions initially from the locals was a breeze but finding our way to Pueblo El Salvador (the jump off point) proved to be a challenge since all the locals we asked knew only of the usual Php1,250 route, doesn't know where Pueblo El Salvador is or what it is. We probably asked the wrong people, those men at the terminal at the back of Jollibee - Pagsanjan Aresi Complex offering a staggering boat tour doesn't help either.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Laguna: The 2-Hour Plan Challenge

While commuting all the way from Laguna to Makati on a rainy Thursday night, my hands were busy texting other boatmen in Zambales, hoping to get a positive feedback on the weather update. I already have my backpack all set for an overnight camping in Nagsasa Cove.

I'm with my brother who's about to take the PRC Board Exam.We'll stay overnight in a cousin's house in Makati for my brother's early trip to Manuel l. Quezon College to take the 2 day licensure exam for architects, while I'm left at the house to wait for that Friday night's trip bound for San Antonio, Zambales.

I was tasked to do all the planning which I happily did weeks before the travel date. After all, I'm dying to see Anawangin, Nagsasa and Capones, but I was also in doubt since June starts the month of the rainy season. My contact in Pundaquit told me that for as long as there's no typhoon, we can do island hopping. That made me think positive since typhoon Ambo is already leaving the country. 

However, I also got another sms from another boatman saying the waves are already big and it's not safe to travel during the rainy season. He advised November to be closest month to sail. What made me feel scared even more is that all of my companions doesn't know how to swim!

Getting ready to help out my brother prep for the much anticipated exam and being the supportive ate that I am, I was up and awake by 4 that Friday morning. I also asked our boatman for one final update so I can advise my travel companions as well who all will be coming from office work. When he replied with the words "malakas ang alon" - that's it, change of plans!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Farm That Funds My Travel Fancy

It has been 4 years since I left the kapamilya network. Since then, I never had a regular day job, never looked back and started to enjoy the freedom of TIME I dearly missed.

I'm not rich and I'm still on the process of working hard to achieve the financial freedom I yearn to have. But somehow, surprisingly, as much as I hate Math, I realized the knack for money matters comes easy for me, and that somehow helps me fund this wanderlust. So how do I do it?

Let me share one in particular...

I'm proud to have come from a really big clan in Southern Mindanao, with both Ilonggo parents together with their siblings owning hectares of farm lots in Sultan Kudarat which I often visit every time I travel back in the province. I love farms as much as I enjoy lakes, falls and mountains, so when offered by a trusted uncle to invest with mom in the clan's farm two years ago, I immediately said yes.

Dad has personally planted fruit seeds in his farm lot. I've tasted fruits from his mango trees, kalamansi and banana trees and seen them grow but it wasn't much as income generating. Mom's farm lot planted with palay on the other hand, while being managed by my uncle who knows heaps about organic farming has made me and many farmers smile big time.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Travel Video: Laguna Weekend Getaway

I spent my last weekend exploring the backyard of the nearby towns of my province in Laguna. True enough, Laguna is more than hotsprings and resorts, it's a melting pot of scenic sights and enchanting waters. This video previews how I spent my measly Php2,000 budget that covered our 2 nights accommodation, trekking and rappelling to the famous Sibika at Kultura tourist spot that is Pagsanjan Falls, a dip in a cold batis with waters coming from equally enchanting Mt. Banahaw and a swim with buffet lunch in Lake Pandin.    

To my newfound travel buddies Anna, Macy and Ghia and to my best lakwatsera buddy MC - here's the travel video you've all been waiting for with the most requested music from Carly Rae Jepsen. Enjoy!

*Note - watch the video in 480 resolution (wheel button) for better viewing.

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