Dicasalarin Cove, Baler (Day 2)

Dicasalarin Cove

Dicasalarin Cove

If you were in Baler, it would be a sin not to visit Dicasalarin, a beach cove 15-16km away from Sabang. On day 2 of our trip to Baler, our mission was to bike to the cove in the morning, be back by lunch, and leave for Manila by 3pm… non of that happened. #Lol!

That morning I woke up early to see the famous sunrise of Baler, did some rounds on my japa beads, then had some coffee… it seemed like a perfect and steady morning when suddenly, Louie, our friend/local host, arrived on his motorbike and interrupted our serenity. “Let’s go!” he said.

Without talking about the plan, we quickly packed our gears, hopped on our bikes and followed him to town. Within 5 minutes, we reached the HQ of Aurora Biker’s Club, where 20+ mountain bikers (as in bikers on mountain bikes) waited for us ready to roll. Our destination, Dicasalarin Cove.

The day before riding to the cove, Louie told us that the cove was only 16kms away from Sabang, and that if we rode out at 7am, we would be back by 10:30am, just in time for us to cook, eat lunch, and get ready to leave for Manila by 3pm. What he didn’t tell us was that we would climb up a mountain first before we got to the cove. It was the kind of climb that made me swear every minute and made me question my very existence every second. No kidding, I would never climb that peak again unless I rode a habal-habal or any form of motorized vehicle.

One thing I learned from this ride – Aurora Bikers are the true hardcore riders!

After an excruciating 1 hour hike, we reached the peak of Dica, where we found PAGASA / “Hope”.

PAGASA rooftop.

PAGASA rooftop overlooking Dicasalarin Cove.

From the peak, we descended to the cove. Naturally, what you descend, you must ascend.

From the peak, we descended to the cove. Naturally, what you descend, you must ascend. Non-stop of walking with our bikes.

20 minutes later, we arrived at the foot of the cove, finally! What to see in Dicasalarin:

  1. The Artist Village
  2. The bath house
  3. The cave
  4. The lighthouse (172 steps to get there)
  5. The creamy white sand beach
  6. A bathing spot where the river meets the ocean

By the time we had to leave Dica, it was already 1pm. The heat was unbearable and we still had to hike back to the peak again (not fun anymore).

Dicasalarin Cove

Goodbye Dicasalarin Cove

We arrived at our kubo at 4pm. The bus tickets were sold out. We decided to rent a van to bring us to Cabanatuan and took a bus to Manila from there.

We arrived at our kubo at 4pm.

So how did we get home? We rented a van from Baler to Cabanatuan (P2,700), then took a bus to manila from there. We left Baler at 9pm. We reached home at 4am, Monday.

What an epic weekend!

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Beautiful Baler (Day 1)

Cycling our way to Ditumabo "Mother" Falls.

Cycling our way to Ditumabo “Mother” Falls.

You know that girl next door you always wanted to ask out? That’s not Baler. Baler is the best friend of that girl, the one you forgot to notice.

Only 6-7 hours away from Manila, Baler is the new Baguio – lush, clean, and gentle. Last weekend, my traveling buddies and I headed to the beautiful capital of Aurora, Baler, armed with our bikes and camping gears, “S24O” style.

How to get there?

  • Take a Joy Bus from Cubao, Metro Manila
  • A comfy deluxe ride for only P700 per person (one way)
  • It will take you straight to Baler Terminal
  • We left at 1:30am and arrived in Baler at 7am.
Loading our bikes inside Joy Bus. No additional fee for bikes.

Loading our bikes inside Joy Bus. No additional fee for bikes.

Pusakalye power couple, Devaki and Rodel Guinto, ready to tour Aurora. Pack and pedal!

Pusakalye power couple, Devaki and Rodel Guinto, ready to tour Aurora. “All our bikes are packed and ready to roll.”

DAY 1 ITINERARY:

  1. Bike and hike to Ditumabo “Mother” falls (15kms from Sabang)
  2. Lunch cook-out (in Ditumabo) – Kubo rental P200
  3. Bike to Balete “Millennium” Tree Park, Maria Aurora (22km from Ditumabo) – P10 fee/head
  4. Bike to Museo de Baler (15km from Maria Aurora) – Donation only
  5. Check-in at Sabang Beach – P700/kubo with fan (very secure)
s24o in Aurora

s24o in Aurora

We rented a Kubo at the bottom of the mountain to keep our bikes and gears.

We rented a Kubo at the bottom of the mountain to keep our bikes and gears.

The hike to Ditumabo Falls.

The hike to Ditumabo “Mother” Falls.

"This is our playground."

“This is our playground.”

Afterwards, we walked back to our kubo and cooked some lunch. Along the way there are sari-sari/mini stores where you can buy banana-q, camote-q, buko juice, and other refreshments.

Chef Mel doing her thang!

Chef Mel doing her thang!

"Prinsipal ka ba? Dami mong alam eh!" - Mel

“Prinsipal ka ba? Dami mong alam eh!” – Mel

After lunch, we pedaled our way to Maria Aurora to check out the Balete “Millennium” Tree Park.

We then headed to Museo de Baler. It felt like we were doing our very own ArtBike in Aurora simultaneously with Rock Drilon’s Artbike in Taguig, Manila.

Museo de Baler

Museo de Baler

Finally it was time to call it a day. On our way to Sabang Beach.

Finally it was time to call it a day. On our way to Sabang Beach.

To be continued…
(c) Nityalila Saulo

Homestay In Tacloban

Recently, I had the opportunity to volunteer in Leyte with Team Bayani On Wheels, a group of cyclists raising funds for bikes to donate to Yolanda survivors. We rode 130+ kms from Tacloban-Carigara-Ormoc for two days, built houses in Ormoc through Gawad Kalinga’s Bayani Challenge for another 2 days, and then spent a night in Tacloban before flying back to Manila.

If you’re a volunteer on a budget and looking for a place to stay in Tacloban, Abad’s Homestay is an ideal place for you.

  • Location: #118 Jade Street, Fatima Village, Tacloban City (Walking distance from Robinson’s Mall; Easily ride a jeep going uptown or downtown)
  • Room Sharing: Non-AC room (fan only); 4 double deck beds (good for 8 pax)
  • Toilet & Bath: Small but clean; Tiled flooring, good supply of running water, with shower (no hot shower).
  • Rate: P300/head
  • Contact: Mrs. Edith Abad 0916.202.3907
4 double deck beds good for 8 pax

4 double deck beds good for 8 pax

Tacloban Homestay

Edith Abad Homestay

Ms. Edith was highly affected by Yolanda, all her appliances were destroyed, and she is slowly rebuilding her transient business again. The challenge is that she is competing with all the new hotels around her area and it hasn’t been easy getting customers. I am glad that I cancelled my reservation with the other hotel and opted to stay at this humble homestay. Because of our support, Mrs. Abad was able to acquire a new electric fan for her guests.

My special thanks to Bullet Dumas, Nikko Dumas, Lauren Sevilla Faustino, and Shoden San for recommending this place. Thank you very much. Padayon!

See more photos of our trip from Lilafair Facebook gallery. 

Calatagan Weekend

Another epic weekend with biker buddies in Burot, Calatagan.

With my gal, Melissa Sambajon, travel extraordinaire.

With my gal, Melissa Sambajon, travel extraordinaire.

Take a bus from Coastal Mall Provincial Bus Terminal to Calatagan:

  • Celyrosa Express leaves every hour.
  • Non-aircon bus until 9am, after 9am, AC bus is available.
  • P140/head
  • Non-stop 3-4 hr trip
For P150-P200, a trike can take you to Burot beach. We rented one to carry our bags.

For P150-P200, a trike can take you to Burot beach. We rented one for our bags.

Our first stop was the nearby market where we bought:

  • Drinking water
  • Food & Snacks

Make sure to buy everything you need because everything else in Burot is more expensive.

We grabbed a quick bite at the market, then pedaled our way to the beach (estimate 5KM). If you’re planning to bike to Burot, ensure that you have good wheels. The road is rough and full of sharp rocks. At one point, I had to walk because it was too bumpy for my small wheels.

The famous Burot sunset.

The famous Burot sunset.

Camp site

Camp site

Tent is the only option for accommodations in Burot. If you don’t have a tent, you can rent one for P300 – P500 depending on the capacity. Best to bring your own because the island can run out of tents during peak season.

For only P100/head one can go sandbar hopping. We went to 3 sandbars. If you really want to swim, take this offer.

There's always time for a selfie!

There’s always time for a selfie!

Loving the beach life!

Loving the beach life!

After 2 hours, we returned to our camp. When leaving your campsite, make sure to lock your tent and take your valuables with you. Rumor has it that visitors have lost stuff. In our case, we left Jen Mai behind. Well, she volunteered. Thanks dear!

Chef Melissa in her element.

Chef Melissa in her element.

Melissa makes the best vegetarian pasta with her ever reliable camping cook set.

Melissa makes the best vegetarian pasta with her ever reliable camping cook set.

Part of camping is preparing and cooking your own food. Master chef Melissa got it covered.

The next day, we biked to the lighthouse in Cape Santiago, about 10KM away from Burot.

We made it!

We made it!

Side trip: The Stilts. Normally, you have to pay a minimum amount of P350/head to enter The Stilts, lucky for us, we didn’t have to. I’m not really sure why… I think the guard had a crush on Jen Mai (Hahaha).

Thank you Calatagan!

Thank you, The Stilts!

We had to get extra seats for our bikes. The AC bus has a smaller compartment than the Non-AC bus.

Thank you Calatagan!

Thank you Calatagan!

More photos here!

 

Kwebang Lampas Weekend

Kwebang Lampas, Pagbilao Quezon, Philippines.

Kwebang Lampas, Pagbilao Quezon, Philippines.

Simplified beach life at Kwebang Lampas. No electricity, no amenities.

  • We took the bus from Manila to Lucena Grand Terminal via JAC Liner.
  • P209.00 / head (one way)
  • No stop over
  • 3-4 hours road trip

Buy everything you need at Pamilihang Bayan ng Pagbilao (Local market). Include these:

  • Three 5 gallons of water
  • A styro ice box
  • Food + Snacks
  • Drinks
  • Ponkan Ponkan Ponkan (an ideal beach snack)
  • Native fan (pamaypay)
Eat where the locals eat.

Eat where the locals eat.

  • Puto – P20.00 for 5 pcs.
  • Biko – P15.00 each
  • 7Up – P8.00
  • Cassava Cake – P35 / box

Getting there:

  • Rented jeep – P1,700 (good for 20pax)
  • Boat ride to Kwebang Lampas – P100.00 (inclusive of entrance fee)
  • Trek duration – 10mins.

Pack light. Bring only what you need. Must have:

  • Your own tent
  • Tissue paper
  • Black trash bag
  • Lots of drinking water
  • Hammok
  • Sarong
  • Travel towel
  • Sunscreen
  • Swimsuit
  • Shads + Cap
  • Power bank for your gadgets
  • Flashlight
  • Camp Kitchen (knife, paper plates, chopsticks, can opener, etc.)
  • Air pillow
  • Aqua shoes
  • Action camera (GoPro w/ extra batteries)

Simple amenities on the island:

  • Water for bathing (5galons) = P50.00
  • Drinking water (small bottle) = P40.00
  • Ice (nawasa) = P20 – P50.00
  • Weewee = P1.00
  • No.2 P5.00

GOPR3066

Bring aqua shoes! If you want to enter the cave, wear slippers or aqua shoes. You’ll thank me for it!

My home for the night. A very good purchase indeed. Coleman's Peak1 tent (good for 2 pax) proved to be a good tent during this trip. Waterproof, good ventilation, and spacious!

My home for the night. A very good purchase indeed. Coleman’s Peak1 tent (good for 2 pax) proved to be a good investment during this trip. Waterproof, good ventilation, and spacious!

The campsite

The campsite

Morning dip!

Morning dip!

Island hopping cost – P3,500 / roundtrip (good for 25pax). We visited Borawan but it was too crowded. We decided to skip Dampalitan too because it would be the same case. So manong Edwin took us to a sand bar. It was perfect! Just us and a place where we could swim privately.

Read with your feet, travel!

Read with your feet, travel!

Thank you #mamech!

Cambodia Discovered

Whether locally or internationally, the point is, travel. This year’s destination was Siem Reap, Cambodia. Discovering the city on wheels, setting foot on ancient temples, waking up for sunrise, chasing the sunset, hunting for good Khmer vegetarian food, getting lost, and finding our way back home.

When: February 13 – 17, 2014
Where: Angkor Friendship Inn
How: Cebu Pacific promo fair

More photos here:
https://www.facebook.com/lilafairblog

Conquering Valencia

May 07, 2013, Valencia, Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental. An adventure  like no other with cycling buddy, Tina dela Cruz. Highlights were visiting the market, breakfast at the boulevard, bathing in the river, and conquering Valencia.

Buying breakfast and souvenir at the Dumaguete Public Market

Buying breakfast and souvenir at the Dumaguete Public Market

Looking for local breakfast

Looking for local breakfast

Tina having some local breakfast made.

Tina having some local sandwich made.

Riding with my bayong and boom box

Riding with my bayong and boom box

On our way out, this "ATM" machine made us very happy.

On our way out, this “ATM” machine made us very happy.

Going local is always the best.

For me and Tina, going local is always the best way to go.

Breakfast at the boulevard

Breakfast at the boulevard

A morning to behold

A morning to behold

Immediately after breakfast, we pedaled our way to Mt. Valencia

Immediately after breakfast, we pedaled our way to Mt. Valencia

The road ahead

The road ahead

On our way to Valencia, we passed by this river/stream

On our way to Valencia, we passed by this river/stream

We crossed the bridge and took a dip

We crossed the bridge and took a dip

The water was too beautiful to ignore.

The water was too beautiful to ignore.

The water was cold and clean. First time river bathers. What an experience!

The water was cold and clean. First time river bathers. What an experience!

A few meters from us were local women washing their clothes and bathing their children.

A few meters from us were local women washing their clothes and bathing their children.

Up up we go

Up up we go

Bike weather

Surrounded by green.

Meeting an american cyclist on the road. Tim has lived in Dumaguete for 25 years and has a Filipina wife.

Meeting an american cyclist on the road. Tim has lived in Dumaguete for 25 years and has a Filipina wife.

When we got hungry or thirsty, we stopped. There was no rushing. We made sure we tasted and experienced local delights on our journey.

When we got hungry or thirsty, we stopped. There was no rushing. We made sure we tasted and experienced local delights on our journey.

I got too tired so we hitched a ride to Valencia town proper.

I got too tired so we hitched a ride to Valencia town proper.

Thank you Manong! Apparently, the muti-cab we rode was the property of Valencia municipality. So we got a free ride!

Thank you Manong! Apparently, the muti-cab we rode was the property of Valencia municipality. So we got a free ride!

Here was where we left our bikes. A carinderia just in front of the plaza. We just knew that our bikes would be safe here.

Here was where we left our bikes. A carinderia just in front of the plaza. We just knew that our bikes would be safe here.

The road to the Writer's Village was not going to be flat and smooth so we were advised to take the habal habal.

The road to the Writer’s Village was not going to be flat and smooth so we were advised to take the habal habal.

The road to the Writer's Village was misty and cold, they call this place the little Baguio of Dumaguete City.

The road to the Writer’s Village was misty and cold, they call this place the little Baguio of Dumaguete City.

Finally, after about 15kms of habal habal ride, we arrived at the Writer's Village.

Finally, after about 15kms of habal habal ride, we arrived at the Writer’s Village.

the Writer's Village

The Writer’s Village

The Writer's Village

The Writer’s Village

Meeting up with Tracy.

Meeting up with Tracy.

Then it was time to say goodbye.

Then it was time to say goodbye.

We took a habal habal back to Valencia town proper, and of course our bikes were still there. Had lunch at a local carinderia, then pedaled our way back to Dumaguete City, about 12kms of downhill. Fun! Thank you Tina for the unforgettable experience.

We took a habal habal back to Valencia town proper, and of course our bikes were still there. Had lunch at a local carinderia, then pedaled our way back to Dumaguete City, about 12kms of downhill. Fun! Thank you Tina for the unforgettable experience.

Thank you to the gentle people of Dumaguete city. We shall return for sure! More PHOTOS.

Escolta 98B

Bike date today with Miko Pepito from Mandaluyong – Makati – Quiapo – Escolta – Binondo – then back to Mandaluyong. Highlight of the day was at Saturday Market X Future Market at ESCOLTA.

Of course I had one made.

Share The Road bike plate by Mang Tony.

Arriving at Escolta, Manila

Arriving at Escolta, Manila

CREATIVES meet VINTAGE! Imagine artworks and antiques all housed in one charming relic from our past! The place to find these treasures is at the former location of the Berg’s Department Store. If you love artist-made merchandise, DIY stuff, independent labels, limited-edition handmade crafts and works of art, If you like hunting for dated accessories, old-fashioned clothes, period posters or period pieces… this is for you!

CREATIVES meet VINTAGE! Imagine artworks and antiques all housed in one charming relic from our past! The place to find these treasures is at the former location of the Berg’s Department Store. If you love artist-made merchandise, DIY stuff, independent labels, limited-edition handmade crafts and works of art, If you like hunting for dated accessories, old-fashioned clothes, period posters or period pieces… this is for you! (from 98B)

Not Made In China. This one was my favorite booth.

Not Made In China. This one was my favorite booth.

Live performance art by the group Sipatlawin (I think)

Live performance art by the group Sipat.

Artworks by Street Children

Sharing art with street children

Installation Art

Installation Art

Escolta is the new Mall

“Manila is my space”

Here was where I found myself.

“Find Myself”

For the love of art!

For the love of art, just buy anything. Support Local Artists.

Or we could just hang out too.

Or we could just hang out too.

Photographing and Framing Manila.

Photographing and Framing Manila.

Organic

Organic

Postcards

Postcards

For more information on Escolta Artisan Market, please go to https://www.facebook.com/98Bcollaboratory

Amazing Azalea

An unexpected beauty is how I would describe Azalea. A cafe/resto that sits on top of a mountain where you can view nature’s priceless elements: the sea, a stream below, and the vast mountains of Sibulan.

Riding our bikes from Dumaguete to Sibulan, about 19km.

Riding our bikes from Dumaguete to Sibulan, about 19km.

Riding the coastline of Sibulan is breathtaking.

Riding the coastline of Sibulan is breathtaking.

A quick stop to hydrate and take a photo.

A quick stop to hydrate and take a photo.

At the foot of the road going to Azalea/Twin Lakes.

At the foot of the road going to Azalea/Twin Lakes.

I highly recommend to ride the habal habal when going up to Azalea. Cycling up there is strictly for hardcore bikers only.

Ride the habal habal. Cycling to Azalea is for hardcore bikers only. Believe me.

We finally made it up!

We finally made it up!

Entrance to Azalea Restaurant.

Entrance to Azalea Restaurant.

"It ain't ain't over 'til it's over." Became our motto for our non-stop adventures.

“It ain’t ain’t over ’til it’s over.” Became our motto for our non-stop adventures.

The grand view from Azalea.

The grand view from Azalea.

Once up there, one must have a cup of coffee and a cookie.

Once up there, one must have a cup of coffee and a cookie.

And of coures, I brought my own pumpkin seed snacks. Never without my seeds.

And of coures, I brought my own pumpkin seed snacks. Never without my seeds.

MORE PHOTOS HERE

Off the beaten path, 19 kms north of Dumaguete, in San Jose, is Azalea – a restaurant perched 289 meters above sea level on a mountain slope overlooking a spectacular ravine. Just 8 kilometers further up the mountain is the popular tourist destination, the Twin Lakes of Balinsasayao – 2 rain-filled craters 918 meters above sea level. Azalea is the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life in Dumaguete without straying too far.

This is the exact same route to take going to Lake Balinsasayao. Take the highway from Dumaguete going north, passing through the Municipality of Sibulan. After around 14 kms, you’ll see the big sign on the left side of the highway saying “Twin Lakes (Balinsasayao and Danao)”. Take a left on this junction. You’ll start gaining altitude. You should see Azalea on your left about 5.2 kms from the junction. 8 kms further up the mountain takes you to Lake Balinsasayao.

(source: http://www.coconutinsider.com/)