Saturday, June 21, 2014

Things to do in Apo Reef

Apo Reef  | World's Second Largest Contiguous Coral Reef.

Before the month of May ended, I made a last Hoooraaah and got the chance to explore not just Mindoro but the famous Apo Reef. Since I missed it last January, I have been waiting for Plan B to have a "revenge" or re-visit the famous island.

Since this is a trip organized by Plan B, I do not have much idea on how to get there if you are travelling alone. Anyway, I am a bit OC when it comes to my trip, I make sure everything falls into places, what will happen next, where to go but this time I leave it up to the crazy peeps of Plan B since I have been with them in Biri. Worry free travel as other would say. 

Well just to give you a very brief background, I still did some research and asked the "caretakers" of the island. Apo Reef is the world's second largest contiguous coral reef. It has 32 squared - kilometer of protective reef. The Apo Island is a remote island that has a small lagoon and surrounded by mangroves, rock formation and fine white sand.

This place has been a protected area since early 90's as per Sir Albert. The joint forces of DENR, PNP, NAVY, and LGU have been appointing officials to secure the area and maintain the coral reef. They also have partnership with other international and local environmentalist group. As you can see, there is no electricity in the island but they used to have solar panels which were destroyed during Yolanda. 

To protect the reef, of course you need a budget. This is the updated rates up to 2020. Everything has a price. Diving is really expensive but the view is really worth it. My dream is to swim with a Pawikan and see other unique sea creatures and really go DIVING!

Back to Apo Reef. The island has white sand, well not all of it some part are cream and some parts are fine while others are not. Awesome right? 

Things to do in Apo Reef:

1. Explore the light house.

Ohh, Apo Reef also has a light house, a modern type of lighthouse. Too bad, I did not explored it. It was really hot and my humongous insect bites were irritating.. -___- Credits to Sir Macoy Mejia and Sir Ronie Santiago for these awesome photos! 

2. Explore the Mangroves and the Lagoon.

Another sight that must be explored in Apo Reef is the lagoon that is covered with Mangrove! It was kind of creepy because it has stagnant water which makes the soil to be muddy and the Mangrove itself is scary plus the dried trees. haha. Well, if you've watched Anaconda Movies and your imagination is wild, it will give you goosebumps. haha!

We were looking for the "balsa" or raft but it was on the other side. We thought of swimming through there but no one had the courage. hahaha. 

3. Picture taking at the Rock Formation. 

Another must see in the Island is rock formation. Same with other rocks but still worth to see. Also, dried corals were scattered everywhere.   

4. Sunset watching

Ooohhh! The sunset in Apo Reef is really romantic! Aaaagh. I love sunsets. Need I say more?

(hahahahahaha! They look like Pawikans right?)

5. Snorkeling/Diving! 

Never miss this, well this is the main reason you visit the Apo Reef, to explore its underwater sights! Too bad I do not have GoPro or any underwater cameras but the water is so clear, you can still see it from above. Early morning is the best time to snorkel. The ocean is calm and it is feeding time for the fishes. 

(c) Sir Macoy Mejia

6. Have fun with your friends, Go crazy with them!

There is no electricity and the whole island is dark. All we had were flashlight, booze, food, friends, cards and lantern! Socializing with them was crazy. 
Plan B!

with my new travel buddies. haha. #SugalsaIsla

Sky Lantern.

7. Photoshoot in the shoreline!

Yea. The island is white sand and make the most of it. There is a big swing that is perfect for Profile Picture. HAHA. Ohh, there is a big signage in the beach front that is so touristy. 

8. Watch the Pawikan Hatching During night time. 

I was not able to witness this personally. So sad. If you visit the place during the hatching season, you'll definitely experience this one. Watch this video made by Sir Jenel Mendoza. They were able to experience first hand a hatching of pawikan. :D Awesome. 2:11 - 2:!7!

So that was it. If you're planning to go to Apo Reef, do it around January or when it is cool. I swear there is no cool breeze even during night time in summer. I will post another entry that will give you some hints on what to expect in Apo Reef! Okay?



Monday, June 9, 2014

Uncle Cheffy | #MondayMunch

Brick - Oven Global Cuisine
Highway Hills, Mandaluyong (02) 925-1488

 Uncle Cheffy serves a variety of international cuisines, one of their distinct dishes is the Panizza. I couldnt agree more, their Panizza is not oily like those with the others, and it has different fusions! What I love the most is the East meets West pizza. It is a really a must - try.

Their interior is simple but this wall decor is fascinating. What I hate about this place is the displayed plates on the table even if there are no customers. You are inviting dust on your customers' plates. A total turn off. When I wiped my plate with tissue, the thick dust welcomed me! Haha. I need to ask for a new plate.

Their famous Panizza that is only good for one. :)

A spanish spaghetti. Didn't enjoy it because it was cold!

Not tasty enough.
All in all Uncle Cheffy is relatively expensive and their servings are not genourous. Totally not worth your money except for Panizza. Their other entrees are very similar with other restaurants. I commend them for their Panizza, nothing more, nothing less. If it wasn't for their Panizza, I will never go back at this restaurant. I am speaking on my personal experience ok? :)

Ano, Tara Gumala?


Friday, June 6, 2014

Road trip in the Island of Mindoro

Mindoro is an island province, actually the seventh largest island in the Philippines. It is famous for its white beach in Puerto Galera as well with the Apo Reef in Sablayan.This is one of the most visited islands in the Philippines.

Currently, Mindoro is divide into two provinces namely Oriental Mindoro and Occidental Mindoro. Puerto Galera is in Oriental while the Apo Reef is in Occidental. Since this is an island, you need to board a "RoRo" (Roll-On-Roll-Off a moving vessel that can carry vehicles).

A week before May ended, I got the chance to have a Road Trip in the whole island of Mindoro! No exaggeration but I really experienced it accidentally. I joined a group, Plan B, on their trip to Apo Reef and they rented a van.

Batangas Port is your jump off point going to Mindoro. They have hourly trips going to Calapan Port and Abra De Ilog. The most popular RoRo going to the said places is the Montenegro Shipping Line. You can check their site for more details about the schedules and fares.

Since this is a Plan B, literally speaking, we changed the main plan for safety reason. We boarded an old Roro going to Abra De Ilog, luckily we were warned by the coast guard that it is not safe, so the group decided to transfer to a much safer vessel but the route is Calapan. It was my first time to ride a Roro and I do not want to experience unnecessary things. Special thanks to one of my travel buddies who is a daughter of an Officer in the Port.

A bigger and safer Roro

Since it was crowded already, we opted to stay in the top bunk where the Pilot House is.

Inside the Pilot House

This is the scene inside the boat. Didn't expect this.
Pang masa kami. MASAndal TULOG! :D

After 2 and a half hours, we arrived at Calapan Port. You know the saying; " Late entrance, Early exit" this is the mantra of RORO. Those you came early will be the last one to alight in the vessel. boo! haha. 

When our van came out, we all rushed inside to get some sleep! We thought that if we take the Calapan to Sablayan Road it will only take us 4 hours but unfortunately it took us 6 hours! Whoa. It was really a Road trip, we really travelled the whole island province of Mindoro!

Scumbag Google Map!

The Road or the so called "Strong Republic Nautical HighWay" is a road less travelled. Some roads are developed but some are not, and the road going down to San Jose was really steep! Though the sights along the way are very worth seeing! According to the local that I talked to, long before, it was forbidden to pass through that Hi-way because the rebels used to block it. 

There are few vehicles passing by this road, a great facade for a long road trip. If you are up for a road trip, try driving the whole Mindoro Island, you can do it for less than 12 hours. You can start from Calapan going to Abra De Ilog! :) 

The road trip was really a Plan B. Our first plan was to docked at Abra De Ilog to get to Sablayan early in the morning but since we docked at Calapan, it took us 6 hours of long, steep, bumpy but worth seeing sight road trip!