Monday, April 27, 2015

Travel Guide to San Antonio Cove, Pundaquit, Zambales

Capones - Nagsasa - Talisayen
San Antonio Cove, Pundaquit, Zambales

Capones Island!
When Basekamp Galleria went to this cove last March, I was not able to go with them because of my busy schedule in school. Then, my brother asked for my help to organize their trip because I discourage him to get any deal from the Internet (especially from MetroDeal). Unfortunately, I was still not able to go with them because we had Visita Iglesia. After few weeks, when my schedule allowed me to go, I grabbed the chance to go with my friends and organized the whole trip.

This was my first time to organize a group of 30! Freaking 30 people. Yikes! It was a successful trip because I saw that most of them enjoyed it and the trip was really cheap. It only costs us 1,500 Pesos per person. Amaaaazing. 

I am going to share with you guys some tips on how to organize your own trip with your barkada to the cheapest way possible. Start organizing your own trips to avoid expensive travel deals. The following are the things you need to consider when organizing an event:


Ensure that you have enough participants to your event. If you are planning to rent a van, you need 12 - 15 pax to fill it up, depends on the capacity of your van, it always to cheaper to hire a van if you are a large group.

Bragging my first time to organize such a huge crowd!


Make sure that you have a wide range of contact for renting van, so that you will have options. In renting a van, you must consider the following:
- Knowledge of the driver about your destination. Does he know about the ways on how to get there.
- Inclusions of the deal (e.g. driver's meal, gasoline, parking, toll fees)
-  How many is the seating capacity of their van.

For van rentals you may contact these numbers and tell them that you are my friend. They will give you discount.

Sir Efren - 0923 - 862 - 9922 | 0929 - 602 - 5080
Sir William - 0933 - 313 - 4411
Sir Tirso - 0920 - 614 - 6961


It is always better and convenient to have a contact on your next destination, who will prepare all your needs e.g. boat, kitchen utensils, water, etc.

For our San Antonio Cove trip, I highly recommend Kuya Jess as your guide or contact. He is easy to deal with and answers all your queries. Here is his number (0920) 274 - 4651 and facebook account (Jesus Bansales III)

Sorry, I was not able to have a picture with Jess. This was the boat he provided for us.
He offered us to stay at Tinalisayen, a private cove that is not crowded compared with Nagsasa and Capones! Sweetest deal everr! Thanks Jess. Its like we rented the whole island. Amazing experience.

See! No crowd at all at Tinalisayen Cove.

Our socials. :D


Budgeting is the most important of all. You don't want to end up paying all the excess because your budget did not suffice what you needed or asking for too much.

Want to know my secret? Benchmarking! Always ask questions to different people, compare and contrast. Ask fellow travelers, it will not only expand your network but they might help you in planning the itinerary and budgeting. ;)

This are things included in the 1,500 Php budget:

  • Van transfer 
  • Tour coordinator 
  • Toll fee 
  • Gas 
  • Driver | Driver's meal, fee, & accommodations 
  • Boat transfers 
  • Use of life vests 
  • 2 breakfasts and 1 dinner 
  • Use of shower room and toilet in the island 
  • Side trip to Anawangin Cove & Capones


Safety first, you don't want any trouble or accidents during your event. So if the weather is not inviting better cancel it than gamble your fate. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

PLUS! Always wear a life vest when going on a island hopping!

This was our itinerary for our Capones - Nagsasa - Talisayen Trip:


12:00MN Meet up at McDo Q. Ave (near MRT Station)
1:00 AM ETD Manila
4:00 AM ETA Bgy. Pundaquit, Breakfast (Hosted Meal), Prepare for island hopping 
6:00 AM Start of Island Hopping
6:30 AM ETA Capones Island (Explore it!)
7:20 AM ETA Lighthouse
9:00 AM ETD Capones Island
10:00 AM ETA Tinalisayen Cove, leave things. Lunch (Packed Lunch)
1:00 PM ETD for Nagsasa Cove
7:00 PM DINNER & Socials (Hosted Meal)


6:00 AM Wake up call
7:00 AM Breakfast (Hosted Meal)
8:30 AM Break Camp
9:00 AM ETD Tinalisayen Cove to Bgy. Pundaquit
11:00 AM ETA Bgy. Pundaquit, Lunch
1:00 PM ETD Bgy. Pundaquit to Manila
6:00 PM ETA Manila

NOTE: Organizing events is  not a piece of pie, one must have skills especially in coordinating, communicating, organizing and researching. I cannot blame other travel organizers to ask higher prices because this is their source of living and they invest their time and effort in doing this.

That's it. You may leave a comment if you have any questions or queries. Feel free to ask, I won't bite! ;)


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Travel Guide to Bantayan Island, Cebu

Last November 2013, typhoon Yolanda struck the Philippine Archiepelago and left devastating aftermath in most parts of Visayas. One of the most hard hit by the said typhoon was Bantayan and Malapascua. At first, I was hesitant if I should go to the Northern part or Southern part of Cebu but my eagerness to see how the northern part rise after the devastating typhoon motivated me to visit the place.

If you are planning on your first backpack trip, I highly suggest that you visit Bantayan and Malapascua. It is a very tourist friendly and your craving for island paradise will be satisfied! 

How to get there:

From Cebu City:

You must ride a bus or van from Cebu North Bus Terminal going to Hagnaya Port or if you are lucky ride a bus that goes straight to Sta. Fe. There is an hourly trip from Cebu to Hagnaya Port from 4:00 in the morning until 5:00 in the afternoon. 
From Hagnaya Port hop on RoRo going to Sta. Fe and from there, you may opt to ride a habal habal or walk!

From Malapascua Island: (This was my route)

Hiring a pump boat is definitely a NO-NO for a solo backpacker like me. Don't worry, traveling from Malapascua Island to Bantayan Island is like a piece of cake. 

1. Ride a passenger boat from Malapascua Island going to Maya Port (40 Php)
2. Wait for a bus that is bound for Cebu and ask the driver to drop you off at Hagnaya (70 Php)
3. Take a public tricycle from highway to Hagnaya Port (25 Php)
4. Ride a RoRo going to Sta. Fe Port. (147 Php - Student Rate)

Where to stay:

Bantayan is cheaper compared to Malapascua and there are lots of accommodation waiting for you to discover. Since I stayed here for 2 nights, I opted to try the cheapest accommodation and a high - end resort that is still under my budget. 


This nice place is very accessible! It is just few minutes away from port, market and it is along the national road, you could just wait outside for a jeep going to the town of Bantayan. 

I loved the simplicity of this because the staff are accommodating and I only paid 650 Php for an overnight a/c room with shower. Ooh, and you can cook your own food at their kitchen, for FREE.

I recommend that you stay in this place if you are on a tight budget but does not want to sacrifice comfort.  



I read a lot of bad reviews about this place but I gave them the benefit of the doubt and they did not disappoint me. Kota Beach has the best beach front along Sta. Fe Beach, mainly because of its sandbar. Though, their staff are a bit arrogant, maybe they cannot speak fluent Tagalog. Nevertheless, the view is really amazing! I didn't try their food because it was expensive and the service is soooo slow.

The rooms are really nice, the accommodation can range from 900 - 5,000 Php per night. I stayed at a standard room which costs 1,400 per night. Fair enough, the room is air conditioned plus hot and cold shower. All their rooms are newly refurbished because it was damaged during the typhoon Yolanda but some rooms are still under renovation. 

 What to do in Bantayan:

1. Stroll around the long stretch of white sand beach of Sta. Fe!

2. Set up a hammock and drift all your worries away.

Met new friends through this hammock. Shoutout to my new hungarian friends who really enjoyed being in the hammock! :)

3. Bike your way to the places. It is eco -friendly and budget - friendly at the same time! :) Naka - tipid ka na, nakapag -burn ka pa ng fat.

4. Visit Ogtong Cave, Bantayan Town Proper and Kota Ruins via bike or motorcycle or jeep.

5. Try their KFC (Karlito's Fried Chicken) partnered with Puso!

6. Join a tour going to Virgin Island early in the morning. Shoutout to my new found friends from Cebu! :)

7. Party all night long at a local bar.

8. Watch Bantayan Sunrise!!!

  • Rent a bike, it will save you a lot of time and money from going to places. Bantayan is very small but if time is of the essence, biking is the most convenient and cheapest way to explore the place. 
  • Food are really cheap! You just have to explore the place. 
  • Always talk to the locals, you will learn a lot from them and they can bring you to places in the cheapest way possible. 
  • Hydrate. Bantayan heat will really penetrate in your skin!
  • ENJOY!

Verdict of  Tara Gumala:
Bantayan Island is suitable to all ages. This is one of my favorite summer destinations. 
I will definitely come back and bring my friends.

I hope my post helped you, if you have any questions feel free to put it in the comment section!



Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Travel Guide to Malapascua Island, Cebu


Malapascua Island is a small island that is very popular for Scuba Divers because of its famous thresher sharks and fine white sand.

Based on the blogs I've read, this place is really expensive and it is really expensive. I became out of budget because of how expensive this place is! As in 300Php for every meal. I was not able to go around the island because I was alone and it was my first destination for my first SOLO backpack trip! I was scared because people are looking differently and the island is infested with foreigners. It sucks to feel a stranger in your own country. 

Anyway, as I've said, Malapascua is my first destination. I am going to give you guys some tips on how to get there, what to expect, see and do. 


First you have to get to CEBU NORTH BUS TERMINAL, this one is very near to the airport. I was so thrifty that I rode jeepney instead of hailing a taxi from the airport. It was a easy ride just 3 short rides from the airport. For only 27Php I was able to reach the terminal. 

From the terminal you can ride a bus or van going to MAYA PORT, your jump off point going to Malapascua Island. It will take you 3 to 4 hours to reach the place. I opted to take the public van because it is faster and my itchy feet can't wait to get to Malapascua Island. The one - way fare roughly costs 180Php.

Then, from MAYA PORT ride a public boat going to MALAPASCUA ISLAND, which only costs 40Php. Note that there is no exact time of departure for this public boat, they leave whenever the boat is filled with passengers. 

See it was a piece of cake to reach this wonderfully expensive island. 

1. Ride a van or bus going to Maya Port
2. Ride a public boat going to Malapascua Island. 

Total waiting and travel time: 5 hours!


I was browsing through the internet of the best and cheapest place to stay in Malapascua, a place that is cheap but comfort is not compromised. Until I stumble upon the Tepanee Beach Resort. I loved it in an instant because it has its own beach front compared to other resorts in the island and the best view for sunset! 

Tip: Booking can be done at their website, it is cheaper compared to Agoda plus they will quickly respond to your queries.

I booked the cheapest accommodation in the resort. It is a basic fan room without TV or Wifi BUT you have your own veranda plus T&B. You will not need the former because the view will be your entertainment.  The room rate plus breakfast costs 1,500! It is expensive but somehow worth it. 


1. Just keep walking. 
This whole island is blessed with white sand. Well, you can also see the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda.

2. Be sure to visit Ocean Vida during happy hour, you'll get a free booze when you buy one. :)

3. Tour around the island. 
Since I was travelling alone, I shed 800 Php to tour around the small island of Malapascua. -__- I am a bit disappointed because I was not satisfied. I was assisted by two young men, younger than me! Yikes. Anyway, they kept me safe and I am hoping that I helped them. My contact is Kuya Michael, a local of Malapascua, (0935) 124-0244.

See how young he is!

I was the only passenger of the boat

A sunken battle ship in Malapascua, near the lighthouse

We were not able to dock at this castle because it was low tide.

See that long stretch of white sand

Snorkeling time!

Their so-called Fish Sanctuary

He is the youngest boatman I have ever seen

4. Go diving and say hi to their famous thresher sharks. 
Sorry, I do not have a SCUBA diver's license AND I do not have that much of money to spend, since I was travelling alone. Though I met an instructor, he seems nice. You can contact him with this number (0936) 3040-968. His name is Jim and he can speak fluent English, Bisaya and Tagalog. :)

5. Visit Kalanggaman Island, Leyte. 
Yes you hear it right, locals will be offering you to bea joiner to their trip to Kalanggaman, Leyte. I don't exactly know what's the price but a lot of locals will approach you. 


1. Ride a public boat back to MAYA port.
2. Ride a bus going to Cebu.

You may opt to go back to Cebu OR visit Bantayan Island. Check my Travel Guide to Bantayan to learn how to get there from Malapascua! 


1. Bring lots of extra cash though some hotels and establishments are accepting major credit cards.

2. Bring your own water, there is a scarcity of water in this place.

3. Be sure you have your own snorkeling gear, though there are few corals to see around the island.

4. Malapascua Island is really for divers. There are lots of diving shops.

Verdict of Tara Gumala:
To appreciate more and make the most of your stay in Malapascua Island, you should try SCUBA diving. This place is perfect for divers not for a usual travelers and those in a strict budget.