Category: Trips

Jasmin by the Sea

This feature on Jasmin by the Sea will be my last post for our Camiguin Getaway last February. While I was doing my research regarding available accommodations in Camiguin, I came accross some good reviews for Jasmin by the Sea. Even Lonely Planet has some good words for this resort.

Jasmin by the Sea is a very simple resort. They only have very few rooms and they seem to be the destination of choice of foreign tourists. What I like most about this resort is that it is located a few meters from the beach! I had a deep sleep with the sound of the giant waves as background “music.” 🙂

That's the magnificent view from the balcony of our room. That's how near the beach is from the rooms.

The Room

A peek at our fan room - with our own CR, double bed, a small lamp, and clothes cabinet

The Restaurant

Jasmin's located away from the city, so at night, we have no choice but eat dinner in their restaurant. It was blessing in disguise though, because they serve really good food! 🙂

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For a night’s stay, we paid Php 600. If you’re touring Camiguin and is looking for a cheaper but worthwhile resort to stay near the beach, then Jasmin by the Sea should be the right resort for you. 🙂

Search for the Best B&B:Bahay Bakasyunan sa Camiguin

Bahay Bakasyunan is definitely the best resort in Camiguin! It’s a little bit more pricey than the others, but it’s worth every peso. We were booked at BBC on our second day in Camiguin, And we were just there the whole afternoon… makes us not want to leave after seeing what BBC has to offer. 

  

Booking a room was easy. I tried online booking through their website, but didn’t get any reply so I called them up to make our reservation. I was surprised to know that they accept pencil reservations! They booked a room for us (we got the deluxe room for Php2,350 per night) without asking for a downpayment. That was a breeze!  

I read about a lot of good reviews online for BBC. It’s obvious that I’m one of their satisfied customers, so I will just let the pictures amaze you as well.  

Accommodations  

For only Php 2,350, we have our own cottage already. The air-conditioned room has it’s own bathroom, cable TV, dresser, cabinet for our clothes, and welcome drinks. Feels like I’m in a five-star resort!  

our beautiful cottage two single beds joined together? - oh no! i love the little details!

Around the Resort 

In BBC, you will never run out of something to do. Albeit small as compared to other resorts, there are a lot of facilities and activities that guests can enjoy for free. 

the pool overlooking the sea the souveneir shop

interesting finds details! details!

the cozy massage area - we can actually hear the waves during the spa session!

the game room - guests can play for free

Service was great as well. The resort is well-maintained and I’d give two thumbs up for that. If you’re planning to visit Camiguin, make sure to book even a night’s stay in BBC. It’s one great experience you’ll never forget.  

Bahay Bakasyunan sa Camiguin
Camiguin Island: Balbagon, Mambajao, Philippines
Phone: +63 88 3871057, +63 88 3870131
Telefax: +63 88 3870278,
Mobile: +639209017270

 

Camiguin Day 1: A Valentines Getaway

Follow our trail: (Camiguin Day 1: Our Valentine Getaway); (Camiguin Day 2: Fell in Love with Camiguin Today); (Day 3: It’s Cold in Cagayan de Oro)

We were able to get our air tickets via the Cebu Pacific’s seat sale last November. It was a series of firsts for me: fitime to book a flight online, first time to plan a trip way ahead of time, first time to ride a Cebu Pacific plane, and first time on a plane with C!

All Cebu Pacific’s flights are in NAIA Terminal 3 and as a first timer, I was quite impressed with the spacious area and hassle free boarding. I’m also a happy customer of Cebu Pacific because both our flights were on time and we even arrived at our destinations earlier than expected.
Hello Cagayan de Oro!

We landed at CdO airport at 5:20am, 15 minutes earlier than our scheduled arrival. Since it’s still dark outside, we waited for a while inside the arrival area before haggling with cab drivers in a quest to get the lowest rate going to Macabalan Port. The first driver that we talked to offered Php 250; and since that was more or less the rate I saw during my extensive research prior to the trip, we chose him already. It was chaotic outside the airport and I don’t want to stay there any longer. It’s still early, so the driver advised us to wait at Jollibee (the only fastfood chain open 24 hours) at Downtown first since Paras Sea Cat leaves at 8:30am.

We had breakfast and from there, we hailed a cab to Macabalan Port again (Php 60) and bought tickets at Paras Sea Cat booth inside the Port. We bought our tickets at a discounted rate of Php 350 each. There’s an ongoing Php 50 off sale at that time until Valentine’s Day. The ferry left at exactly 8:30 and arrived at 10:45.

Finally in Camiguin!

Mang Frank was waiting for us already at the Benoni Port in Camiguin. He’s one of the most recommended guides in the Girltalk Forum and luckily, he was available during our travel dates. We agreed on Php 2000 for one day tour and service to and from Benoni Port.

the habal-habal - Camiguin's own version of Manila's tricycles

From the Port, we went straight to see Jasmin by the Sea Resort. We didn’t have any reservations but gambled because we read a lot of good reviews for them including that of Lonely Planet’s. Luckily, they have a vacant beachfront fan room for only Php 600 with our own bathroom! We rested for a while and at 1:30pm, hopped on the multicab to see the sights of the island.

Camiguin Sightseeing

Our tour started with a so-so lunch at Vjandep restaurant. Nothing special here, but food is cheaper as compared to other restaurants. For only Php 103, we had two viands already and the driver eats for free. The highlight, perhaps, of the meal was the pastel. Vjandep is well known for this delicious delicacy, and for Php 11, we had sweet dessert that C and I shared.

I’ll let the pictures do the narrating now:

Katibawasan Falls. I was awed by gigantic waterfalls. It was my first time to see one up close and it was just awesome! The water was so cold and C had a blast taking photos. I forgot how tall it is, but our guide mentioned that part of it was damaged by a typhoon recently. Php 20 entrance fee.
Stations of the Cross. Another attraction in Camiguin where in you had to climb up more than a hundred steps to follow the trail of, yeah, stations of the cross. I don’t like climbing up stairs because I hate to have sore legs the rest of the trip, so we decided to pass up on this.
Guiob Church Ruins. From the outside, it looks bland and uneventful so I was quite hesitant to explore inside. The marker says that it’s the ruins of a church that was brought down by a very strong earthquake more than a hundred years ago. I think that was also the same earthquake that sunk nearby towns, hence, the famous sunken cemetery.

and finally…
Sunken Cemetery. Waited for hours to catch the sunset here for C’s pictures. The locals told us that the cross was put up only a few years ago to mark the spot where the sunken cemetery is. You can rent a banca at Php 5 each person to bring you to the cross. We opted not to.

my own photo of the marker - TSAMBA. Hahaha

After the Sunken Cemetery, we decided to call it a day. Was back at Jasmine’s at 7pm, had dinner in their restaurant (calamares 150 and pork fillet 170), and dozed off to sleep. Did I mention that our room was directly facing the beach? The waves can get really loud as the night gets deeper. It was like sleeping while being lullaby-d by the sea.

Camiguin Day 2: Fell in Love with Camiguin Today

The previous day was tiring and for me, not worth much raves. I kept on telling C that I wan’t that amazed by the sights that we have seen so far and came to a conclusion that it’s because I have already seen too many pictures while I was doing my research over the internet – hence, the excitement of seeing something the first time wore off.

Or maybe I was expecting too much of Camiguin. Or maybe I was just tired yesterday. But we definitely fell in love with Camiguin today! These are the reasons why:

Reason number 1: White Island

Hoping for a better day, we woke up early to catch the sunrise at White Island. One can see White Island from the highway – it’s literally w stretch of white island in the middle of the sea, bare of any artificial distractions (kudos to the local government for its effort in keeping its natural beauty!) We made arrangements with Mang Frank the previous day and he referred us to a boat that will take us to White Island for Php 200. After the 10-minute scary boat ride, this is what welcomed us:

pristine, white sand
ahhh… paradise

White island is so beautiful! We were the only people there at that time. Our timing was just perfect because a few minutes later, we were able to witness the most amazing sunrise.

Falling in Love with Camiguin
Cheesy na kung cheesy… hahaha!

Our boat picked us up at 7am. By that time, we had enough of the island already. We also did not want to burn our skin too much from sun exposure that’s why we decided to return to Mambajao already. We had breakfast at Paras Beach Resort, one of the most expensive resorts in Camiguin. We had ordinary “silog” meals that were so expensive! (spam and tapa 195 each). We ate in one of their gazebos overlooking the sea and white island. They have perhaps the best view of white island in the whole stretch, but the actual resort is small and quite cramped.


Reason number 2: Ardent Hot Springs

This place is super duper highly recommended. We had a great time soaking in the pool! It was relaxing and the temperature of the water is just perfect. I think we were there for more than two hours. Haay, uber bliss!

Ardent have cottages also with rates ranging from Php 1200-2500 per night. They also have tents for overnight for Php 200. Cottages are Php 70-100 rent for one whole day. Definitely worth a night’s stay.


Reason number 3: King Crab at J&A Fishpen

our first time to see and eat a crab this big!

After a refreshing soak at Ardent, we went back to the resort to pack our things. We’re supposed to check out of Jasmin’s at 12 noon and transfer to Bahay Bakasyunan sa Camiguin, a resort nearby. I made prior reservations at BBC and checking in was a breeze. After dropping off our things, we had lunch at J&A Fishpen. Paid Php1,200 for that gigantic crab alone! 

J&A Fishpen is perhaps the most well-known seafood restaurant in Camiguin. It is located near Benoni Port which is about 20-30minutes away from Mambajao. So why do I recommend eating here? It is for two reasons:


1. You will eat in cottages in the middle of the lagoon with an amazing view.

2. Your food is guaranteed fresh. Our crab was hauled up straight from the water!

Reason number 4: Bahay Bakasyunan sa Camiguin

BBC is definitely the most beautiful resort in Camiguin. Service was so good and the whole place shines with an aura of relaxation, peace, and beauty. We fell in love with this resort and will definitely recommend this to our friends.
 

Rested for a while (while C watched TV – obviously missed it J) in our chic and spacious cabana then had a dip in the outdoor jacuzzi prior to having our massage at the mini day spa (450 whole body with free facial). Just make sure to make arrangements ahead of time because the masseurs are not really employees of BBC, I think. They’re on call and in our case they were more than an hour late.

Had dinner at the hotel restaurant (carbonara 165, prito misto del mar seafood platter with white wine 240). Food was so-so and pricey, but I still love BBC!

Please check out my review of BBC for pictures of this beautiful resort. 🙂

Camiguin Day 3&4: Cold CdO

Follow our trail: (Camiguin Day 1: Our Valentine Getaway); (Camiguin Day 2: Fell in Love with Camiguin Today); (Day 3: It’s Cold in Cagayan de Oro)

C at the original Vjandep Bakery

We woke up the following day with a heavy heart – today is our last day in Camiguin and we’re supposed to catch the ferry going back to CdO after lunch.

We availed of the complimentary breakfast at 9am (breakfast was surprisingly good! I had danggit and C had tocino). Afterwards, we took more pictures around the resort, and had a nice dip at the pool, before finally checking out.

On our way to Benoni Port, we passed by Vjandep Bakery to buy boxes of pastel as pasalubong to our families and officemates.

C and I boarded Super Star Ferry at 1:30. For someone who’s scared of boats, I must say I enjoyed the ride. Well, I was asleep most of the time. Little did I know that C was seasick the whole time!  I was a bit guilty when I found out. :-S

A little over an hour later, we docked at Balingoan Port in Cagayan de Oro. We followed the people on their way out of the port, and rode a habal habal to the bus station for Php 5 each. On our way to the bus station, we passed by some vans going to CdO. We decided to skip the bus and took the faster van for Php 100 each.

Traffic to CdO proper is a nightmare. Took us more than two hours before we reached Gaisano Mall. From there we hailed a cab going to Willshire Inn, where we were booked to stay the night for Php 500.

I will never recommend Willshire Inn to anyone, even to budget travelers. The room was naturally hot (I don’t know why) and it seems that the aircon isn’t functioning at all! Our room was scary, and old; there’s no toilet seat, and I didn’t even bother to use the shower because it looks like it hasn’t been used for a long time. To be able to use the TV, you have to leave a deposit of Php 300 before they give you the remote control. The staff isn’t accommodating at all. The whole place smells like durian, C said; but for me, the hallway reminds me of public hospitals. It was a total nightmare.

Note: I booked a night here because it was highly recommended by another blogger, not because of the price. I do not mind paying a little extra for a little more comfort.

We went out of the room to have a super late lunch and early dinner at Butcher’s Best. The barbeque and liempo were delicious and affordable; but the service is so-so. I didn’t hear not even a single thank you nor even saw one of the servers smile at us. Maybe it’s because we were also a little grouchy because of our tiring and not-so-good experiences so far in CdO, so we just ate as fast as possible and left.

In order to divert our attention, we walked to their Divisoria Night Market for a stroll and for C to take some pictures.
 

There’s nothing really special in the night market – most of the good being sold are also from Manila. We just ate so the food stalls didn’t appeal to us. There were so many people and there was a Pinoy Big Brother special satellite broadcast that night, so the place was jampacked with people. We decided to call it a night. Our flight on the way home was at 2pm the following day. And we’re happy with the thought of finally going home to be with our familes.

But we will definitely miss Camiguin…

Balik Baguio

For years, Baguio has been a favorite travel destination in the Philippines. With its cool fresh air, lush surroundings, various parks and attractions, the City of Pines has the promise of an ultimate family vacation destination. But how does a traveler maintain excitement and novelty when he/she has already experienced what the place has got to offer? That’s our challenge when we went back to Baguio last December to spend the New Year again with our relatives there.

Easy Transpo:

Victory Liner has trips to Baguio every hour. Prepare yourself for a loooong ride, though. I left Cubao at 10am and arrived almost 6pm. That’s eight long hours on the road baby!

On our way back, we tried Genesis Bus Lines because Victory doesn’t allow pets and we’re bringing home Brix, our 2-year old Shih Tzu. Seats aren’t as comfortable as Victory’s, and the stop-overs aren’t good at all! But we had a faster trip this time, we left Baguio at 10am and were in Manila already by 3pm.

Of course, another option is to bring your own car, or rent vans going there. It will be costlier – but more comfortable.

After Pepeng, the super typhoon that caused major landslides and floodings in Baguio and nearby provinces, a lot of people avoided Bagiuo due to travel safety reasons. But tourism is already picking up, I must say. Baguio was crowded anywhere during the holidays. Well, maybe not like 2008, but still, I’m hoping the best for this little city.

Sulit Stay

We were lucky that my uncle and his family live here and that they have rooms for rent. We didn’t have to worry about finding a hotel and including the fees in our budget. In 2008 though, during the PMAP Conference, our company delegation stayed at Microtel Inn and Suites. It’s nice, new, and rooms are spacious. I heard they have reasonable rates too. Plus, they’re located at the back of the Victory Liner terminal, so it’s very accessible.

Fun Food Tripping

You will never get hungry in Baguio. Every nook, every street, every building have restaurants and food stalls. This year, we had a sample of some of Baguio’s famous food joints namely: Café by the Ruins, Oh My Gulay, and Tea House.

Tours and Treats

The more common landmarks are Burnham Park, Camp John Hay, PMA,

For pasalubong, go to Pink Sisters. Try the Session Road also for some tiangge and ukay-ukay. If you want to buy silver jewelries, go to Ibay’s main store or at their branch in Session Road.

General Itinerary

There’s no itinerary for us this time. And our dedicated guide is Melay, my lovely cousin. 🙂

Cafe by the Ruins

I’ve read a lot of raves about this cafe, that’s why I decided not to pass up on the chance to visit the place and see what it has to offer.

True to its name, the café cum restaurant is in the ruins of a former prominent structure during the Spanish period. They did refurbish the place but still maintained that old Spanish ruins, which added more appeal.

We’re still full from our family picnic in Burnham Park so we just ordered some light snacks.

For a Makati girl like me, prices are reasonable; but a bit more pricey as compared to their Baguio counterparts. Al fresco ambience is good, but it can get chilly especially at night, so better be prepared.

It was a good experience for us. For a good cup of hot chocolate though, I’d still go for good old Mary Grace. 🙂

Oh MY Gulay!

This restaurant is an out-of-this world experience in itself. For one, I’m sure one will never imagine that such restaurant exists smack in the middle of chaotic and cramped session road. The place was designed in such a way that you will think you’re in a garden restaurant and not in the 4th floor of some building.

It is, indeed, an ultimate discovery. A perfect hidden getaway in the city.

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