Saturday, April 30, 2016

What's in a (Business) Name? Cincuenta y uno

This bee must have drunk some Flying V gasoline.
Spotted along H Abellana St, Canduman, Mandaue City, Cebu

For more amusing business names, please visit Go Random.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Bohol Local Hot Cold Spots

Canawa Cold Spring
Brgy. Canawa, Candijay, Bohol
Adults Php 10
Children Php 5
Cottage Php 100
Toilets/Changing Rooms available

We drove over rough roads to Canawa Cold Spring for a look-see. When we reached Canawa Cold Spring there was a group of teens having a grand time getting to higher ground and then jumping into the water. Again and again.

The aquamarine water was a temptress. It tugged at my shorts but I had to restrain myself from tearing 'em off and jumping in—my companions stressed that we would just stay for a few minutes because our main destination was still an hour away: Badiang Spring.

Canawa Cold Spring

Brgy. Anas, Valencia, Bohol
Adults Php 30
Children Php 10
Cottages start at Php 60
Shower Rooms/Toilets/Changing Rooms available
Rooms start at Php 1200

It was past noon when we reached Badiang Spring and almost all of the cottages were taken. We found a vacant cottage and hurriedly arranged our containers of food and dug in. After having lunch, I forgot my mother's age old advice not to swim right after eating. We jumped into the big people's pool...which wasn't for me and my friend, the weak swimmers. The big people's pool at its shallowest was 6 feet deep! We transferred to the kids' pool...which was too shallow and swarming with kids (and hopefully not saturated with their pee). After a few minutes of being with the wild kids, I decided to go back to the big people's pool which was bigger, colder, and with less people.

The big people's pool 

The kids' pool

These two cold springs in Bohol are so hot, locals flock here to cool down.

Bohol Bound
Bohol Local Hot Cold Spots (you're here!)
The Usual Bohol Land Tour
Tagbilaran Heritage Walk
Abatan River Firefly Watching Tour
Panglao Island's Dumaluan Beach
Dolphin Watching and Island Hopping (Balicasag Island and Virgin Island)

Monday, April 11, 2016

Samboan Action Verbs

Sitting. Going to Samboan from Cebu City involves sitting on a bus for 4 hours. At South Bus Terminal, take a bus bound for Bato via Barili (Php 168, non AC).

Sleeping. We wanted to stay near the town center but, according to the habalhabal driver [Dario 0943 252 4136] we hired to take us around Samboan, there was only one and it was full. We stayed at Villa Isabella instead, a lodging house by the beach, about a kilometer from the town center (Php 10 for habalhabal or Php 7 for tricycle ride from the town center).

Ponong, Brgy. Poblacion
0999 530 2603
Php 1500 AC room for 5 pax
Php 1000 AC room for 2 pax

AC room for 5 persons

Swimming. You're staying at the beach, why not go for a swim? The beach at Villa Isabella is not of fine white sand but of broken pieces of corals.

Strolling. Start at the Boluntaryo Monument (World War II Volunteers Monument), that little green kiosk with a man on the roof along the highway where habalhabal drivers converge. Go up the road to the Samboan Museum (closed on weekends), town plaza, St Michael Archangel Church (built in 1842), Campanario de Antigua (watchtower), and then go down the Escala de Jacob (Jacob's Ladder, a 147-step stairway built in 1878 to make it easier for the people living along the coastal area to go to the church).

Samboan Plaza, Campanario de Antigua, St Michael Archangel Church

Snorkeling. Colase Marine Sanctuary, located just two barangays short of the next town of Santander, is a nice little underwater world of corals and fish just a few kicks and paddles from the highway. It was very near the shore, thus shallow, that I had to be careful to keep afloat to avoid stepping on or hitting the corals. The lifevest I rented kept me afloat but I had to steer myself with one hand because the other hand had to hold the lifevest in place (the lifevest's cords were broken). Once past the shallow area, I enjoyed spying on the lionfish, clown fish, and a long thin fish that I don't know the name of. 

Colase Marine Sanctuary
Brgy. Colase
Snorkeling Fee Php 100
Snorkel and mask rental Php 20
Lifevest rental Php 20

By the way, highway 

Finding Nemo

Sweating. The jump off point for Dau Falls is a 15–minute motorcycle ride from the highway. Sweating would start from the highway if you attempted to walk from there. If you don't, don't pump your fist in triumph, from the jump off you're still 30 to 45 minutes away by foot and for sure your shirt won't be as fresh before you reach Dau Falls. A guide is assigned to each group whether you ask for one or not (there is no guide fee, it is up to you to give them a tip). And you would be grateful for that. The way is long and easy, but there are no directional signs. We crossed a bamboo bridge, got our feet wet in streams, climbed a short ladder, stuck our bodies close to rock walls, and climbed so many steps before we reached the dam–looking Dau Falls. The basin of Dau Falls is shallow and there is only a small portion deep enough to jump in.

Dau Falls
Brgy. Suba
Entrance Fee Php 20

Scrambling. The jump off point for Aguinid Falls is less than a hundred meters from the highway. Before we reached the registration area, we passed by eateries and shops selling souvenirs, waterproof pouches, swimming attires. At the registration area we paid the entrance fee and our group of four was assigned two guides, one of whom gave a briefing before we commenced the trek. The trek started off easy for the first ten minutes or so, and then the challenge appeared in the form of a huge, daunting rock with water constantly flowing over it: Level 2 of Aguinid Falls. Those wearing slippers were asked to go barefoot while those wearing trekking sandals were given the go signal to follow the guide all the way to the top. I thought it would be a slippery and difficult climb, but it wasn't, thanks to the handholds/footholds carved on the rock and to the guides for orchestrating our arm and leg movement. Five seconds of scrambling over the rock and we were already soaked. At the third level, we had to scramble up a head-high rock, again with the help of handholds.  Past that, the rest of the way to Level 5 was easy peasy.

Aguinid Falls
Brgy. Tangbo
Entrance Fee Php 20

  • Go to Aguinid Falls early, before the crowds stir up the silt and the waters all the way down to Level 1 become cloudy.
  • Bring as few things as possible and put it in a waterproof bag.
  • Listen to your guide.

2nd Level of Aguinid Falls 

5th Level of Aguinid Falls

Soaking. Soaking our feet in the shallow pool at the fifth level of Aguinid Falls. In truth, we were feeding the fish with our dirty feet and dry skin. The fish happily gnawed my toes and heels while I tried to keep a straight face (it tickles!).

Shivering. The jump off point for Hidden Falls is not so hidden, it is just by the highway. From the jump off point, it is an easy 15-minute walk to the waterfall. We were once again assigned a guide though the way was so easy, we could have found the waterfall ourselves. But I guess it's protocol and a way for the locals to earn extra income. We reached a small waterfall, climbed some steps, made a U-turn and found Hidden Falls...a bit crowded. Because the basin is small. Nevertheless, we dipped in Hidden Falls' freezing water and joined the shivering crowd.

Hidden Falls (aka Triple Drop/Binalayan Falls)
Brgy. Bonbon
Entrance Fee Php 20

A beautiful gem of a waterfall...except for the vandalized rock walls :(

Staring. Weren't we told that staring is rude? But not when you're staring at something as beautiful as a sunset. Especially in this part of Cebu, the west side, the perfect place to watch the sun dip below the horizon. Or in this case, behind the mountains of Negros island.

Spending. Nothing is free.
Bus from Cebu to Colase, Samboan Php 170
Snorkeling fee Php 100
Lifevest rental Php 20
Mask and snorkel rental Php 20
Bus from Colase to Poblacion Php 8
Room in Villa Isabella Php 1500
Meals, average of Php 80 per meal
Habalhabal for the three waterfalls Php 500/2 pax
Dau Falls entrance fee Php 20
Aguinid Falls entrance fee Php 20
Hidden Falls entrance fee Php 20
Tips for the three guides
Bus from Poblacion, Samboan to Cebu Php 168 (non AC)

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Accommodations in Langub Beach, Sipalay

After an overnight stop at Dumaguete City, 3.5 hours on the road, and a short pumpboat ride (Php 300 for 6 pax), we reached Langub Beach (better known as Sugar Beach) in Sipalay City.

The kilometer–long cream–colored sands (salt and pepper color upon close inspection) of Langub Beach brings out the lazy in me. Although there are other activities such as scuba diving, stand up paddleboarding, island hopping, kayaking, and exploring (there is a langub or cave a few minutes walk from the beach, thus the name Langub Beach), I chose to do the lazy: Sleep, swim, eat, wait for sunset. Repeat.

My feet sinks in this sand

But it wasn't all laziness. One morning, I peeled my butt off the hammock and walked the kilometer–long beach. It was a difficult walk...the sand would swallow my feet with each step. But I trudged on just to gather contact information of all the resorts for your benefit!

When facing the beach, these are the resorts from the leftmost end down to the last resort along the stretch.

Langub Beach Resort
0999 880 6610
AC Room for 4 pax Php 1500
Fan Room for 8 pax Php 2500
AC Room with kitchen for 12 pax Php 6500
Extra pax for fan room Php 150/head
Extra pax for AC room Php 200/head

Langub Beach Resort

Sulu Sunset Beach Resort
0919 716 7182
All fan rooms
Rooms start at Php 650

Buenaventura Beach Resort
0947 328 2771 / 0939 927 1210
Fan Rooms start at Php 390
AC Rooms start at Php 1390
Note: Buenaventura Beach Resort is about 50 meters farther behind the beachfront resorts.

Big Bam Boo Beach Resort
0999 671 6666 / 0908 454 4600
AC rooms Php 1500 (low season) / Php 1700 (high season)
Fan rooms start at Php 500 (low season) / Php 700 (high season)
Dorm beds (fan) at Php 300 (low season) / Php 400 (high season)

Big Bam Boo Beach Resort

Driftwood Village
0920 900 3663 / 0919 236 7055
All fan rooms

Green Garden Beach Resort
0946 677 9302
Family Cottage for 4 pax Php 2500 (one bedroom is AC, the other fan)
AC Room for 2 pax Php 1200
Fan Room for 2 pax Php 800

Family Cottage for 4 pax at Green Garden Beach Resort

0921 611 2039
All fan rooms
Room for 2 pax Php 900 to 1000
Room for 4 pax Php 1200

Didai's Garden Resort
0939 624 8350
AC Room for 2 pax Php 1600
Fan Room for 4 pax Php 2100
Experience: We stayed in the fan room—a huge cottage—with its own toilet and bath (but the door to the toilet and bath was just a curtain!). There is WiFi for a fee of Php 100 for the entire duration of stay (I noticed this is the norm in all resorts in Langub Beach). Meals at Didai's Garden Resort are cooked by Didai's son, Edison, and I could say he's a really good cook!

Fan room for 4 at Didai's Garden Resort

Bermuda Beach Resort
0920 529 2582 / 0919 591 3805
Rooms start at Php 1050
Memory: This is where we stayed in 2008 (back then there were only five resorts in Langub Beach) and there are two things I remember: the boat–shaped bed and the geckos in the room. The geckos kept us on our toes (nobody wanted a gecko stuck on himself!).

Takatuka Lodge
0920 230 9174 / 0920 679 2349 /0915 628 3516
Rooms start at Php 1275
Experience: A colorful and artsy resort with decors made from recycled materials. On our first visit in 2008, we often had our meals here. On our recent visit (2016), we wanted to eat here but was turned away (they prioritize in–house guests)....rudely.

After the walk, it was back to being lazy again. Swim, eat, wait for sunset, sleep. Repeat.

Swim in its crystal clear waters 

Watch the great ball of fire

Three days of this lazy cycle wasn't enough. We wanted to stay one more day. All resorts were fully booked but it wasn't crowded at all and this is what we loved about Langub Beach.

Road to Sipalay
Recharge, Refresh, Refuel in Dumaguete
How to Go to Sipalay City, Negros Occidental
Accommodations in Langub Beach, Sipalay (you're here!)

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

How to Go to Sipalay City, Negros Occidental

Click to enlarge

From Cebu City, Cebu
Go to the South Bus Terminal and take the one and only direct bus to Sipalay at 5AM. (The return trip from Sipalay to Cebu is at 5PM.) The trip takes about 8 hours.

If you miss this bus, you can opt to go to Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental or Bacolod City in Negros Occidental. You can do this by air (Cebu Pacific flies direct from Cebu to both cities, and Philippine Airlines flies direct from Cebu to Bacolod) or by land and sea.

To go to Bacolod City by land and sea, at the North Bus Terminal take a Ceres bus bound for Bacolod. There are four routes:
  • Cebu - Toledo - San Carlos - Don Salvador - Bacolod
  • Cebu - Toledo - San Carlos - Canlaon - Bacolod
  • Cebu - Toledo - San Carlos - Escalante - Bacolod
  • Cebu - Tabuelan - Escalante - Bacolod

To go to Dumaguete City by land and sea, at the South Bus Terminal take a Ceres bus bound for any of these three:
  • Dumaguete.
  • Bato, Samboan. Then take the ferry from Bato to Tampi, Amlan, Negros Oriental. From Tampi, take a bus going to Dumaguete.
  • Lilo-an, Santander. Then take the fastcraft to Sibulan, Negros Oriental. From Sibulan, take a jeepney to Dumaguete. If you miss the direct bus from Cebu to Dumaguete, this is the next best option.

To go to Dumaguete City by sea, take a ship (Cokaliong Shipping Lines) direct from Cebu to Dumaguete.

For information on schedules and fares, contact:
For bus: Vallacar Transit (Cebu), better known as Ceres Liner (032) 345 8650
For fastcraft to Sibulan: Cuadro Alas Navigation Lines 0922 423 2400 / 0922 985 8234
For ferry to Tampi or Sibulan: Maayo Shipping 0917 710 7080
For ship to Dumaguete: Cokaliong Shipping Lines (032) 232 7211 to 18

From Bacolod City, Negros Occidental
  • Take a direct bus to Sipalay (4-5 hours).
For information on schedules and fares, contact Vallacar Transit (Bacolod) at (034) 446 0861.

From Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental
  • Take a direct bus to Sipalay at 1PM (4 hours).
  • Or take three buses to get to Sipalay:
    • Dumaguete to Bayawan (2.5 hours)
    • Bayawan to Hinoba-an (1.5 hours)
    • at Hinoba-an take a bus bound for Bacolod, and get off at Sipalay (45 mins)
For information on schedules and fares, contact Vallacar Transit (Dumaguete), better known as Ceres Liner at (035) 225 9030 / 225 0406.

Road to Sipalay
Recharge, Refresh, Refuel in Dumaguete
How to Go to Sipalay City, Negros Occidental (you're here!)
Accommodations in Langub Beach, Sipalay

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Recharge, Refresh, Refuel in Dumaguete

Warming the backseat of a car for four hours straight can be boring and draining, what more for 7 to 8 hours. And what more if you're the driver! So on our road trip to Sipalay City, Negros Occidental (and vice versa) we welcomed the idea of staying a night in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental.

This was so we could...


By sleeping at Hotel Nicanor.

On the first night, we stayed in the Family Room (Php 2100) which had two single beds and one king size bed. The room was spacious, the toilet and bath just right. On the way back to Cebu, we stayed in their Executive Deluxe Room (Php 2200). It had two king size beds. The Executive Deluxe Room was smaller than the Family Room, but the toilet and bath was huge (and it had a tub).

Hotel Nicanor was a good choice for recharging ourselves. Clean. Quiet. Room air conditioning freezing—but the blankets were thick enough to keep warm. The curtains, when drawn, kept the room dark making us want to sleep all day...which one of our friends almost did—he slept for 15 hours straight! Plus Hotel Nicanor was just walking distance from the places where we could refresh and refuel.

San Jose Street
(035) 421 0787
Rooms from Php 1050 to Php 2600

Family Room


By walking along Rizal Boulevard.

A stroll along the boulevard at the start of the day (with an awesome view of the sunrise!) or on a breezy late afternoon or on a cool moonlit night is a good way to reset the mind (and get a bit of exercise too).

I admit I did not do any of these because I was too comfortable under the blanket in the cold and dark hotel room that I missed the sunrise or I was too busy eating that I became too lazy to take a stroll along the boulevard.

Stroll along Rizal Boulevard

Watch the sunrise (Photo by D. CaƱete)


By going on a food trip. A visit to Dumaguete City is not complete without having some good grub!

53 Silliman Avenue
(035) 421 2392
Daily 8AM to 930PM

Kri Restaurant was full when we went for dinner and we had to wait for a few minutes to get a table. It took me quite a bit of time to decide on what to eat: everything on the menu sounds so good.

Each of us chose a different dish and we tried each other's food. Everything was superb! I especially liked General Tso's Chicken, Thai Basil Chicken, and Burschettas de Gambas (not in photo). Heads up though: the price on the menu does not include the 12% VAT.

 Kri Restaurant's Menu (Click to enlarge)

San Jose Street corner Rizal Boulevard
(035) 421 0338
Sunday to Thursday 10AM to 11PM
Friday and Saturday 10AM to 12MN
*Breakfast is served daily from 7AM to 10AM

3 San Jose Street
(035) 225 4440 / 422 9482
Daily 9AM to 7PM

Ground Floor Robinsons Mall
Lamberto Macias Road corner Calindagan Road
(035) 421 1524

We had breakfast at the al fresco area of Sans Rival Bistro along Rizal Boulevard (breakfast is served from 7AM to 10AM). My friends chose this place because of the ambiance and because of the unlimited coffee that comes with their breakfast meals. I wanted cake for breakfast but they don't serve cakes and pastries until 10AM.

Their original branch, just behind the Bistro, opens at 9AM. While I was having breakfast at Cafe Mamia, I spied a bunch of people waiting outside Sans Rival. This is how famous they have become that people line up even before they open just to buy silvanas (Php 140 per box) for pasalubong.

Sans Rival Bistro

Sans Rival Bistro's Breakfast Menu (Click to enlarge)

Paseo Perdices, Rizal Boulevard
(035) 522 3219
Daily 8AM to 10PM

Florentina Homes, Rovira Road, Brgy Bantayan
(035) 422 0827
Daily 7AM to 11PM

Another place I like to eat at when in Dumaguete is Gabby's Bistro. They recently opened a second branch in Paseo Perdices along Rizal Boulevard, just next to Sans Rival Bistro—good for me because this is way closer to Hotel Nicanor than their original branch in Florentina Homes.

Gabby's Bistro at Paseo Perdices was packed on a Saturday night and we had to wait a bit before we could get a table and before I could get my hands on Pollo ala Marsala (chicken). My mouth was watering while waiting for my dinner. And when it finally came, my eyes watered in disappointment—I found it overly fried and the sauce too little. I should have gotten the Pork Marsala which my friend swears is really good.

14 San Jose Street corner Sta Catalina Street
(035) 422 2664
Daily 630AM to 11PM

Another place we had breakfast at was Cafe Mamia, a simple cafe just a stone's throw from Hotel Nicanor. We loved Cafe Mamia's huge bowl of Arroz Caldo and size-just-right Spanish Chorizo meal (but if you have a big appetite the spanish chorizo meal might not be enough). Cafe Mamia is affordable and cheaper than Sans Rival Bistro.

I heard their sisig is really good too. I shall try that next time I find myself having lunch or dinner in Dumaguete (I think sisig for breakfast would be too weird).

 Cafe Mamia's Menu (Click to enlarge)

I had no time to go to City Burger or CB Grill and no space in the stomach for their chicken inasal. Yes, I can get chicken inasal just about anywhere, but I miss City Burger's finger lickin' chicken inasal! Oh well. Next time.

Thank you Dumaguete City for being our recharging and refueling station! Now time to resume our journey...

This article is now available as a mobile app. Go to GPSmyCity to download the app for GPS-assisted travel directions to the attractions featured in this article.

Road to Sipalay
Recharge, Refresh, Refuel in Dumaguete (you're here!)
How to Go to Sipalay City, Negros Occidental
Accommodations in Langub Beach, Sipalay

Friday, April 1, 2016

Wisdom From the Road #38

On footwear
Check your footwear/flipflops before leaving home.

I slip on my flipflops (slippers) without thinking. Always.

Walking home one afternoon from a weekend trip out of town, the strap of my left slipper broke. I called home to check if anyone could bring me another pair since I was just less than a kilometer away. Nobody was home. I ended up walking on the sun-warmed road with one foot bare.

New pair of slippers. Months pass. New pair becomes old. I was in J Centre Mall to run some errands. I went to the third floor and that's where the strap of my left slipper snapped (left one again—my left foot must be too fat or something). I had to drag my foot with my toes desperately holding on to the slipper all the way to the ground floor where the supermarket was and where I knew rubber slippers were sold. Once I got through the glass door of the supermarket, I took off my slippers and walked barefoot on the cold tiled floor to the slippers section.

I still slip on my flipflops without thinking. When I remember these two incidents, that's when I remember to check my footwear. Sometimes a little too late.

For more lessons from the road, please visit Go Learn.