Romblon – paradise in the Philippines

How do you imagine paradise? I can see turquoise water by laying on white sand and having palm trees in the back. Sun slightly making me brown and simply hearing the sound of waves crashing gently onto the shore. That’s my kinda paradise… and you can find it in the Philippines! One of the spots where you will have all is Romblon.

It’s an island but also a province of the country. It has 4 main islands: Romblon, Tablas, Sibuyan and Carabao. Today I’ll tell you about Romblon and Tablas.

I went there with my friend who was also on an exchange. As we were staying in Manila that time we took a bus to Batangas and from there we got a ferry going straight to Romblon. But it wasn’t that easy. We had to wait few days more in Manila because of the typhoon. The ferries were not operated so be prepared for that. It might happen, you never know.

I’ve been to Batangas few times. It’s kinda scary place for me. Even though I wasn’t alone there are places near the harbour where I felt really unsafe. Imagine being a white girl and walking through an empty dark place. No tourists or travelers around except jeepney drivers who wanna take you somewhere all at once. I was terrified! We asked one officer to show us a road so he went there with us but it didn’t stop drivers to accost us. Luckily, nothing has happened, everything was fine but my heart was beating too fast that time.

The ferries are ok. Except the thing that it’s so cold inside like in the bus. I don’t know why they love a.c. to be that high. You can freeze without two hoodies and a blanket!

Sandbar seen from the ferry

We arrived the next day in the morning. From ferry we could see the sandbar having its way to the island nearby. I love places controlled by nature not people. It is or it is not and no one can change it. It’s the beauty of it. Every time I see something like this my respect to the laws of nature grows! Low tide is only 2 times a day so if you miss it there is no way to walk to another island. 

As we arrived we went to our room at Romblon Plaza Hotel which costed us 800 peso for two. We prepared quickly to go out. Took our things and went to rent motorbike. We had to wait a bit but it turned out that all rental shops were closed so we had to go by tricycle. We took one to Bon Bon Beach for P40. How breathtaking scenery our eyes saw. Bon Bon Beach appeared in all its whites and blues. It was amazing! We walked by the calm sea to the sandbar. We saw the low tide would finish soon so we went through it to Bang-og Island. Walking on white soft sand surrounded by turquoise water on the right and the left side. Magical! There were only 3 people more but going opposite direction so shortly we had all beach for ourselves. We arrived in another island and wanted to spent there more time but hide tide was coming fast. After few eyesights from this point of view we had to go back. Sandbar was no longer there. We were in ankle-high water. Height of water was going only higher. We were fighting with small but heavy waves. The current was quite strong. We had to watch out for our things not to get wet. We managed to step on Bon Bon Beach few minutes later. Sandbar might have been gone but the beauty of this place remained. We were so amazed how wonderful the place was.

After enough time of admiration we went by the coast to find a place to finally go swimming. We located a nice beach – Tiamban Beach, obviously completely empty. I wore my snorkelling mask and went to see the underwater world. I was stunned. I saw coral reef, starfish, different species of fish and sea urchins everywhere. It was so beautiful! Later we found a way to the road and from there we took tricycle to San Pedro Beach Resort. It costed us 50 pesos. The entrance fee of resort was 50 pesos per person. Oh, it was great there. After some food I was just laying in the shade of palm tree and I was listening to waves beating the shore. I went snorkelling few times. Underwater world is just mind-blowing! I could spend there a lifetime 😀

There were also hammocks between palm trees which I used a lot. I went to the nearby beach which was separated. I found there dried corals and a shell from sea urchin. It has wonderful star in the middle! After sunset we had to ask the receptionist to call tricycle for us as it was already late and there were none at the resort. Tricycle took us to our hotel for 200 pesos. 

Romblon is a philippine province and it’s known as a Marble Capital of the Philippines. Don’t forget to buy some souvenirs such as marble statuette or marble keychains.  We did quick shopping to have nice items for our friends back home 🙂

Fort San Andreas

Next morning we climbed to the Fort San Andreas and went to see St. Joseph Cathedral. It was during the sunrise – nice view with pinkish clouds all around. Then we went to Motorboat Terminal and bought tickets to San Augustin which is a city on Tablas Island. It was full of locals, their groceries and even few motorbikes. I’ve sat in the front of boat and enjoyed the view and waves splashing on the bow of the boat. Bangka is so loud but I love this kind of experience. The boat ride costed 110 pesos. It was pretty cheap.

In the port of San Andreas were so many tricycle’s and van’s drivers offering the ride. We had to refuse all of them and walked fast deeper to the city. We found jeepney but it was full. Luckily, they allowed us to sit on the top. It was amazing. We were driving by the coast. Sun was shining all day and we were going by roads surrounded by green palms. I was so amazed!

Unfortunately, after 1 hour (there were still like 2 ahead of us) I went down because sun was too strong! There was no seat left so I just sat on the stairs to the jeepney. We got off on the road near the resort we wanted to go to. Driver said 400 pesos. I was like no… I knew it’s only 100 pesos so that’s what I paid. He just took it and they drove away. We had to take habal habal because Aglicay Beach Resort was 4 km away. It costed us 60 pesos each. After arrival we found out there’s no easy way out. We had to stay overnight or order a tricycle. We decided to get tricycle. I texted one man and haggled with him for a while. We set the price for 600 pesos to take us later to Sta. Fe. Now, we could finally enjoy our stay here. The beach and water were beautiful! We ordered food and later on climbed the nearby hill. The view from the top was marvelous! The color of water just left me speechless. The Philippines has so much to offer! Its nature is wonderful!

We went swimming but the underwater life wasn’t that nice. Just some starfish. In the evening we took the tricycle and after 1 hour rough ride we arrived in Sta. Fe. We had no place to sleep. The driver was really helpful! He did his best and I’m so thankful for that. He found us a stay for night for 600 pesos. I didn’t expect Sta. Fe to be that small. No tourists at all, just locals. We had great night and finally some rest after quite stressful rides.

Romblon province is wonderful! It’s one of its kind! I definitely didn’t spend enough days in Romblon. I was craving for more after leaving.. The Bon Bon Beach is worth your visit!

The next day I went to the islands I was dreaming of for a long time! I’ll write about it soon!

Daydreamer – admiring beauty of Romblon

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed as much as I did writing it and memorizing good times!

To the next one 😉

https://www.instagram.com/dive4dream

Baguio City – Summer Capital of the Philippines.

Baguio is situated in Northern Luzon in the mountains. The city is located 1500 meters above sea level. It’s much colder there than it is in the rest of the country. Temperature is usually 8-10°C lower. You can easily feel that! At night in the bus I saw 14 degrees and I was shocked because before coming to the Philippines I didn’t expect temperature to be lower than 25°C! But it was nice escape from the daily sun which made me feel like I’m burning.

It’s the most popular getaway for holidays for Filipinos. They go there to feel “the cold” and dive in the vibe of the city. 

I went there in March and I really enjoyed it! I’ve heard a lot about it from my filipino friends and host family and I wasn’t disappointed! 

The city is quite hilly but there are a lot of jeepneys going to the spots tourists look for. 

Random Filipino wanted a photo with us – salamat po 🙂

The most crowded is Mines View Park. There’s a beautiful landscape on mountains and small villages. It’s marvellous! It’s quite common that in the mountains live tribes. It’s not different here. The Ifugao culture is really astonishing! You can try their outfit for photo shoot. I couldn’t miss it! Don’t I look like Filipina in Ifugao’s clothes? Pretty cool, right? 

You can find delicacies in many stores next to Mines View which are a great pasalubong for your friends. Baguio is known for strawberries, peanuts, ube jam, strawberry jam and choco flakes. Try them all – they’re delicious 🙂

The Burnham Park is a perfect place to relax, walk around and admire nature. So many flowers and trees planted around. Beautiful lake with boats in many shapes you can take a ride on. Around the lake you can find a lot of grass where you can seat comfortable or lay under pleasant heat of the sun.

Another great stop is La Trinidad, the village beside Baguio. It’s known for strawberries farms where you can go and pick some fruits for yourself! I haven’t done it but hopefully next time I’ll go there! 

I’m a coffee lover so in the middle of sightseeing I went to Bohemian Cafe for cappuccino! It was delicious and the interior inside was pretty nice! I recommend it 🙂

Cappuccino at Bohemian Cafe

If you have time go to SM Mall for sometime don’t miss SM Store and its Kultura Filipino section where you will find a lot of traditional clothes and daily-used items. Actually everything. It’s really affordable! You can buy a T-shirt for 100 pesos lang!

In the evening, I went to the night market. I found massive amount of clothes, scarfs, magnets, jewellery and countless souvenirs for a good price. There’s also a “food court” and I found something foul there! Couldn’t believe my eyes. But that’s the reality and maybe for natives it’s just normal. THE ONE-DAY CHICKEN! And it’s just on the toothpick! You can grab it for few pesos and relish it. To be clear – I didn’t eat that! 

One day chicken

How to get to Baguio?

As it was part of my travel to La Union I went there from San Fernando which took me about an hour and costed 200 pesos. 

But you can take a night bus from Manila for 500-700 pesos. Just remember to take a sweater or a blanket! It’s freezing in the bus!! I do mean it! You don’t wanna feel cold the whole night!

I love Baguio! I have sentiment to this city and I’m waiting impatiently to visit it again! 


Do you like the city? What delicacy would you buy and why? Would you be brave enough to try one-day chicken? 😀

Let me know in the comments 🙂

To the next one 😉

Transportation in the Philippines and how to travel around!

Hi!

If you are from Europe or generally not from the Philippines you will find means of public transport in the Philippines very unique. Obviously, there’s plane, bus and metro (but only in Manila). The other ones might be unexpected. Let’s begin with my favourite one: JEEPNEY!

The back of jeepney. We hold only a rooftop pipe. It’s so much fun!

Jeepneys look like american school buses – just very old and run-down in every way. The engine is really noisy and when the gear is being changed you sometimes feel like it’s gonna fall apart 😀 But that’s the part of experience! I wouldn’t say it from outside but it fits quite a lot of people inside. Actually, if the don’t fit… roof is still empty, so sometimes you can use it or you can stand in the back just holding the pipe on the roof. That is fascinating! I had to tried it in my first days and I enjoyed so much! It’s forbidden in my country but here you can do mostly whatever you want to. Just keep in mind (especially if you don’t look like Filipino) that everyone on the streets will stare at you and wave and shout “hi”! For the few times it can be fun but later it gets a bit annoying to stand out from the crowd. 

Despite the age of them, the unusual part comes with awesome graffiti on them. They are painted colorfully and have writings on them. It’s pleasing to the eye. Some of them are grey but I’d say drivers really try their best to make them look cool! 

They might not be comfortable but it’s the cheapest way to get around the city. Definitely you must try them! It would be great to know how much it costs on specific route because you might be priced more. You just go inside and give your money to the passengers sitting closer to the driver. Simply say “bayad po” and the name of the place you go to. You’ll get your change or not 😀 The price start at 6 peso so I recommend having coins. There’s nothing like “jeepney stop”, you just leave it wherever you want to. Just shout “para po” which is the sign for driver to stop by the street. If he doesn’t hear you just knock at the ceiling – it means the same. 

Inside of the tricycle

The next one is tricycle. It’s just a motorbike with the sidecar. It can also be painted and have many colors. It can fit more or less 6 people. The price depends on how many people go with you. It’s more expensive than jeepney but still not as much as for example taxi. If you prefer not to have a surprise after the ride ask before how much it will cost you. So you can cut a deal satisfied for both. It’s not hard to find one. There are parkings for tricycles but they are also going back and forth looking for clients. As I look like foreigner (white&blonde) drivers were shouting at me from few meters already offering they service. Usually, I didn’t look for any so I just kept going my way and smiling friendly, giving the signs I don’t need the transport. They might intrude on you but they don’t wanna hurt you 🙂

The variation of tricycle is called padyak. The conditions are much worse than in tricycle. Unfortunately, instead of motorcycle there’s a bike! Imagine a man who has to paddle several hundred meters aday with people and their heavy bags in the sidecar. It’s miserable! I feel so sorry for these people! You can find them only in the side roads not the main one. The one-way ride costs roughly 6 pesos. It’s like nothing! Moreover, most of the times they have to come back to the main road to take next passengers with empty seats = no payment. The drivers are usually men in their 40s or 50s. Just imagine the heat on the streets and moisture! You are sweating just by sitting!

Can’t forget to mention the drivers! All of them are very talkative and nice! Despite the language barrier they try their best to talk to you in English and smile all the time. It seems like it’s a lot of fun to them but hey, it’s so much fun to you too! 

The nice one

For the long-distance travel there are buses which are way cheaper than planes. Some of them look pretty nice and have air-con, other are not that nice and have open windows (no air-con). The one with open-windows are pretty cheap, but if you’re a backpacker like me just take it and in uncomfortable seating for 12 hours you will arrive in dream destination. 

The buses to the near cities are usually without air-con. You just go in and take an empty seat and wait for the ticket clerk, you just tell him your destination and he will punch some holes in the paper ticket. He will do the next round in bus to take money from people. So wait patiently 😀 

If you are travelling you will probably take a van. It fits around 12 people. It’s quite small inside if it’s full. And most of the time it is. Prices are set. Just remember that it leaves the station when it’s full. So if you are in hurry for the plane or something else you will have to wait or pay more for the free seats. Once in Donsol we waited around 2 hours for passengers to come so we could finally leave! Didn’t expect that! Luckily, we arrived just on time for our next bus. So it was a bit stressful. 

When it comes to Manila and other big cities you will easily find taxis. Just like before set the price before you go so you won’t be surprised! And better take a backseat. The drivers might act weirdly sometimes so just check on your phone if they are driving in the right direction. To be honest the cheaper and safer way is taking an Uber which in Philippines is called Grab. Just download an app and you are ready to go. 

There is also an unique mean of transport called Kalesa. It’s a horse-drawn calash. It was introduced by Spanish people who colonized the Philippines for 333 years. It was used for the authorities mostly. Nowadays, it’s just a tourist attraction and you will find it near the historical spots in Manila. I didn’t try it simply because horses looked enormously tired! Don’t take it if you don’t have to 😉

Worth mentioning is the traffic and the way of driving on Philippines’ streets. In Metro Manila traffic is huge and usually there’s no way to avoid it. So don’t go anywhere in the peak time. You might end up being stuck in traffic jam for hours. 

About driving…. there’s so many means of transport: cars, buses, motors, tricycles etc. All next to each other. Everyone is busy and driving wherever they want to. It’s so noisy, the tooting of car horns is unstoppable! You will adjust but it’s really different than European streets. I haven’t tried driving anything, I was stressed enough as a passenger. If you are planning to rent a car or a scooter prepare for unexpected situations! 

Also be careful while crossing the street as a pedestrian! 

Just enjoy seeing 5 people on one scooter or 9 in the 5-seat car! I even sat on the pickup through the whole city. I guess they don’t even call it dangerous 😀 Have fun on your adventure and keep in mind: it’s more fun in the Philippines!

That’s my first post! Tell me what you think and if you find it helpful! 

To the next one! 😉

The Journey Begins

Have you ever wondered on going on an exchange?

If yes, then you are in the right place!

Stay and join me on my way through the year I’ve spent in the Philippines 🙂

“Hunderds Island National Park”

I will be writing about daily life in the Philippines and how I manage with cultural differences and language barriers. I went on several trips during my year which were unforgetable! I will write all about them as I planned them by myself 🙂

Waiting to hear your stories from your year abroad!