Posts Tagged ‘island’

While looking for a hotel in Alaminos, I came across numerous posts with recommendations to try the food at Maxine by the Sea’s in-house restaurant. Not wanting to pass up the opportunity to eat good food, we decided to book a room and stay there for the night to be able try out as many of their meals as we can.

pangasinan5

Before I get to the restaurant and the food, I will quickly talk about their room accommodation. We reserved a room that could fit all 7 of us because we wanted to stay in just one room. We’re clingy like that, LOL. The room we got had 3 double beds and we requested for an extra single bed. With all the beds in there, the room didn’t feel too cramped – we still had space to move around. It was pretty basic, exactly just what we needed.

pangasinan41

The restaurant is built on the water and it offers a vast view of the distant Hundred Islands. You are able to smell the sea breeze as you eat in their al fresco dining area. It was quite perfect to beat the summer heat. It is also extra calming to stare out into the open sea while you wait for your food to be served. Service could get real slow during busy hours so you really need to calm yourself down LOL.

pangasinan33

pangasinan34

pangasinan36

pangasinan42

Our accommodation came with a free breakfast which we eagerly gobbled down upon waking up. They have a selection of the traditional -silog meals and I had the Bangus-silog. When in Pangasinan, eat bangus! It was perfectly deep-fried and the marinade was mild yet tasty. We also ordered a platter of fresh fruits in season and everything was so fresh and sweet. The day before that, we all had our fair share of their fresh fruit shakes – I especially loved the ripe mango shake.

pangasinan35

pangasinan38

pangasinan39

pangasinan40

But my favorite was the SEAFOOD GRILL PLATTER. Capslock para intense haha! This was what we ordered for our lunch during the whole day island hopping tour and OMG it tasted even better than it looks. It had grilled eggplant, boiled okra, grilled shrimp, bangus, liempo, squid, chicken, seaweed ensalada, kinilaw na oyster, fried saba and unicorn blood and glitters. HAHAHA. I am seriously drooling right now! We also brought bottles of gourmet tuyo and bags of chicharon. I mean, heaven right? It was a VEEEERY satisfying lunch.

pangasinan29

We all thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Maxine by the Sea and especially loved their food. I would definitely stay there again if I ever go back to Alaminos and I highly recommend you stay there, too. Or at least taste their food because it was THE BOMB DIGGITY.

pangasinan43

Maxine by the Sea Lodge & Restaurant is located near Lucap Wharf and you may check their website out for more information –> http://www.maxinebythesea.com/home/

Advertisements

pangasinan25

After our mini trek to the top of Governor’s Island, we made our way to our next destination – Quezon Island, which was named after our late President Manuel Quezon.

pangasinan22

pangasinan23

Out of all the other islands, Quezon Island seems to be the busiest. There are large concrete huts all over the island dedicated to all sorts of recreational activities. When we got there, all tables were already occupied mostly by families and we did not even bother fighting for one because we were more interested in swimming rather than just lazing around. We plopped our things under the rock with the Alaminos City sign, and immediately got into the water.

pangasinan24

We swam all the way to that floating gazebo (pictured below) mainly because we had nothing else to do, and also because the water near the shore is a little murky due to more construction still ongoing all over the island. I’m afraid this island will be over crowded and abused in a few years’ time. 😦

pangasinan26

Midway, we realized that we underestimated the distance of the gazebo from the shore. Not wanting to let our efforts go to waste, we pushed through anyway and made it after quite some time (the strong winds didn’t help much either). It was like a private party in the middle of the sea because not many people dared to swim that far off. When we got back to shore, our boatmen led us to where the giant clams were, but no photos because I didn’t have an underwater camera with me that time. Nonetheless, we thoroughly enjoyed the view of the Giant Clams and corals inhabited by a variety of fishes.

pangasinan27

After that long swim, we were quite worn out so we spent some time rolling around the fine white sand, people-watching while trying to get re-energized.

pangasinan28

By this time, we were more than ready for our lunch but our boatmen insisted that we just eat when we get to our next destination – which I will share with you next. 🙂

Edit: LOL scratch that last part. As it turns out, I do not have any photos from the day’s last destination but believe me when I say it’s amazing. We rolled around the beach’s powdery white sand and hiked up a hill just to jump down a large basin of water inside a cave. I swear it was amazing. But no pictures, bummer! 😦

Borawan is a play on two words – Boracay and Palawan. It’s an island named so because, as some people claim, it has white sand reminiscent of Boracay and rock formations the same as Palawan’s limestone cliffs. If one gets the chance to have the Boracay and Palawan experience in one at a measly price, one grabs it.

DSC_0741

My friends and I boarded a bus bound to Lucena, got off at the Grand Terminal. Got on a mini bus and alighted at the town of Padre Burgos where we got on tricycles that brought us to the port. From there, we rented a boat that would take us to Borawan Beach. Someone gave us a tip that people usually do the Borawan to Dampalitan route so we decided to go against the flow of people and camp out at Dampalitan Island instead.

DSC_0747

Upon arrival to the island, we pitched our tents and settled down for the day.

DSC_0768

DSC_0777

In all fairness, Dampalitan Island’s sand could pass up as Boracay’s shores from afar. While the sun is shining its brightest, the white sand seems to glow it almost hurts the eyes.

DSC_0789

DSC_0811

DSC_0852

After lunch and a quick nap, the water level went down low enough to reveal a little sandbar. We walked on the sandbar and took photos farther out into the sea. That entertained us for about 30 minutes until it got too hot to be enjoyable. We went back under the shade and napped some more while waiting for the sun to go down. When it got a little cooler, we explored the opposite side of the shore and came across some sea friends.

DSC_0805

DSC_0812

DSC_0824

We watched the sun set and it was beautiful. It was made better by the absence of a big crowd. Guess going against the norm paid off, after all.

DSC_0857

DSC_0885

DSC_0901

When it got dark, we cooked and had our dinner. We built a fire and drank and danced around it. We also roasted marshmallows for our s’mores. It was a great night. 🙂

DSC_0932

DSC_0935

DSC_0985

The next day, our boat came by and brought us to Borawan Beach.

DSC_1019

DSC_1005

DSC_1061

I had to agree that the cliffs do resemble the limestone formations in Palawan albeit being miniature compared to the real thing. When we got to the island, there was a group of rock climbers uhmmmmm climbing the rocks LOLOLOL. We contented ourselves in climbing on top the less intimidating ones and swimming around the clear waters. We didn’t really do much at Borawan Island and I have to say that I liked Dampalitan better.

DSC_1008

DSC_1033

DSC_1038

Borawan is being marketed better than what it actually is. But if you’re looking for a new beach to explore this summer, it is still worth the try.

It has been a tradition for most Filipinos to escape somewhere during the annual observance of Holy Week. Some go on religious excursions and take part of traditions observed by their church. Admittedly, I am not much of a religious lot so instead of going to church, I mostly go out-of-town and relax on the beach. This year, I tagged along with some friends on a trip to Polillo Island.

polillo1

The first half of our group went ahead on Holy Thursday. I was flying home from my Indochina trip on the dawn of Good Friday so Chris had to wait for me and we would just travel a day behind. Upon landing, I went home, swapped backpacks and made my way to Quezon.

Now, Good Friday in the Philippines is called “patay na araw” which literally translates to A DEAD DAY. Everything stops – shops close, malls close, and worse, no transportation. We overlooked this fact and that led to a lot of misadventures. Long story short: we were not allowed by the Coast Guard to travel to Polillo that day.

polillo2

Through all the commotion, we met a bunch of surfers who were kind enough to take us back to their surf camp. It ended up as a happy accident after all, will tell you the story in a separate post. We spent the night in tents and made our way back to the port at the crack of dawn. We finally made it on the first boat out to the island and literally met the rising sun.

polillo6

The boat had an upper seating area and as if by some magic, everyone in our group gravitated towards the front deck. We put on some reggae music, dangled our feet down and watched the rising sun. It was so calm, a stark difference from the previous day’s chaos.

polillo5

polillo4

After over an hour, we finally reached Polillo. We reunited with our other friends and sadly had to part ways with our new-found surfer friends. They were in search for waves and weren’t really interested with island hopping. Our group continued on with more travel and rented tricyles that would take us to the town of Burdeos where we would board another boat to take us to the islands. When we got to the pier, I got super excited to get back to the water upon seeing another huge boat.

polillo7

Imagine my disappointment when the boatmen insisted that we take the small ones instead.

polillo8

See what I mean?!? We got the dinky, little boats instead of the fancy looking bigger one. Oh well…

polillo10

We spent quite a while in the ocean, circumnavigating island after island after island. I was honestly getting bored after some time and I was just itching to be on land. Finally, we moored on the shores of Anilon Island.

polillo11

According to our boatman, Anilon Island is the best beach in the area and a favorite place of many locals for picnic and beach excursions.

polillo12

It is a beautiful island surrounded by fine sugary sand. Its waters were calm and had the most beautiful shades of blue. The other side of the beach was much more rocky and the ocean floor dropped down more abruptly.

polillo14

polillo15

polillo16

The part where our boats were docked was much more friendly for an easy swim. I spent a sizable amount of time here after lunch, wading in its clear water. I was enjoying myself too much that the sun bearing down didn’t bother me at all.

polillo13

When the sun was about to set, we piled ourselves back to the boats and made our way to another island. The setting sun gave the beach a different kind of charm.

polillo18

polillo17

polillo19

polillo20

polillo21

At this point, I actually didn’t care anymore where we go next so I missed the name of our next stop. This is where we watched the sun set.

polillo22

polillo23

polillo24

When it got dark, we gathered up some dry branches and built our small bonfire. We passed the time swapping stories with our boatman and his wife,  sipping on hot coffee.

polillo25

When the last embers of our bonfire died down, we bid goodbye to the island and headed back to mainland. Sailing in the middle of the ocean at pitch dark with only the moon guiding us was part terrifying and mostly enchanting. The water glistens like silver as boat cuts into it. What a great way to end our unforgettable Polillo experience.

 

 

After swimming around in the calm waters of Maya Bay, we piled back into our speed boat and made our way to Monkey Beach.Monkey Beach is a must see in Phuket even if it’s just a quick stop on the well-worn track of the Phi Phi Island Tours. Unfortunately for us, the tide was high so we were not able to dock in its white sand beach. That didn’t stop me from admiring the humongous rocks that surround the beach.

1004464_10151537661288652_785945176_n

1074077_10151537662523652_243819493_

 

Apparently, hundreds of monkeys live in this island. They do not hesitate to come out of their natural habitat to greet tourists that drop by nonstop. Throw some food into the water and be surprised at how fast they scramble (and swim) to get them. I had a good time playing spot the monkey which wasn’t all that easy given the poor state of my eyes. Thanks to my camera phone’s wonderful zooming power, I was able to observe the monkeys more up close.

1013102_10151537614598652_1772575518_n

1074494_10151537606568652_701891933_o

1002774_10151537662133652_1019847057_n

995394_10151537613863652_1669771760_n

 

This is definitely my favorite monkey. I’m not sure if horribly fat or just pregnant, though. LOL.

1075691_10151537614268652_1715616497_n

 

Our second day in Phuket was solely for island hopping. After a filling breakfast, we shuffled over to the marina where we were to hop on a speed boat along with other tourists. Too bad my friends and I were not the first ones on board, I would have loved to sit in the front deck of the boat. The seats inside were still fine, just limited view of the surroundings.

image

 

 

The ride was really fast and quite bumpy! In no time, we arrived at our first destination: Ko Phi Phi Leh (“ko” means an island in Thai). Ko Phi Phi Leh is the second largest island in the Phi Phi archipelago, the largest one being Ko Phi Phi Don. Phi Phi Leh houses Viking Cave, from which there is a thriving bird’s nest soup industry.

image

image

image

 

The island consists of a ring of steep limestone hills surrounding two shallow bays, the Maya Bay and Loh Samah. Although we didn’t get to Maya Bay’s coast, it is essential to mention that this is where the Hollywood movie The Beach was shot. The cliff faces remind me so much of our very own Coron, Palawan.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

 

Since this island is just a small part of our whole day tour, we didn’t dock on its shores. Instead, our boat stopped near Viking Cave and our tour guide told us that we could swim around if we wanted to. We immediately strapped on our life vests and dove into the crystal blue waters.

image

 

Shortly after, I fully abandoned my vest because it was becoming more of a nuisance for me. I swam Maya Bay’s deep waters and marveled at how calm the water is. I could easily carry on a conversation while treading, it was THAT calm.

image

image

 

Some people on deck started throwing bread into the water and swarms of fish swam further up to get a nibble. The water was so clear, I didn’t even need goggles to see them (which was also a good thing because stupid me forgot to bring my snorkeling gear).

image

After swimming around for almost an hour, our guide started calling us on board and we made our way to our next island destination. Come back here soon to read about it! 🙂

If you want to check out how we spent our first day in Phuket, click here –> Phuket, Thailand (Day 1)

 

 

I just came back to the Metro from attending my sister’s high school graduation in Ilocos. Separation anxiety is hitting me big time so I guess I should just blog about the places I got to visit for the very short time that I had to spend with my family.

I touched down at Laoag International Airport late Saturday afternoon, no thanks to Cebu Pacific Air’s perennial delayed flights. Hay naku, what’s new. That day was put to waste because of a delayed flight. Tsk. So anyway… On Sunday, my mom finally brought out the lobsters that were frozen for a long time (coz they were waiting for me to come home, sweet! ♥♥♥), and decided to go out of the house and spend the day at the beach.

1

We drove for more than an hour to get to Blue Lagoon in Pagudpud. I have been to Pagudpud many times over the years but I’ve never really been to Blue Lagoon before. We always used to go to Saud, mainly because it is relatively nearer from where we live. Driving further up north was worth it, though.

2
6

The weather was so nice that day. One thing I love about being in the province is that it was still very breezy despite the sun being all out Mr. Bright. We rented out a small hut where we could feast on our lunch. After filling up on lobster and watermelon (yum yum yum!), the oldies settled down for siesta time. The young ones, including me lol, opted to bake under the sun.

3
5
9

The best part is that we felt like we had the beach all to ourselves. Apart from our group, there were only a few others who were around that area. I guess most tourists were drawn to the more famous and much more crowded nearby resort – Hannah’s. I especially loved watching those three kids play around the water.

8
7

The water at Blue Lagoon is so mesmerizing. The varying depth of the sea resulted to a beautiful mix of blue hues. The clean, white sand provides a perfect base for all the blue colors. One needs to be wary when getting in the water, though. It might be scary for non-swimmers because the waves could pull you in farther into the sea really fast and this could be disastrous because the sea bed dips low so suddenly.

4

The waves are so strong I actually saw this girl lose her bikini top. LOL. And I might have seen a few too many buttcracks that day. O_O

Two other tourist spots to visit will be featured in my next entries. Stay tuned!