Tag: travel

Buendia Avenue Birthday Special: Exploring the Best of Both Worlds in Sabah, Malaysia (A Narrative Itinerary)

Ever since, I’ve always wanted to spend my birthday by way of an out-of-the-country trip with the people I love. So when I learned about this Air Asia seat sale early this year, I immediately booked four seats to Kota Kinabalu – an emerging tourist destination in Sabah, Malaysia.

Kota Kinabalu (KK) has intrigued me for quite a while. I have read some blogs about KK and somehow I can’t forget the beauty that it has to offer. Back in 2010, it’s already in my list of must-go places. A perfect birthday treat for myself this year! And what made it even more special is that I’m with three of the most important people in my life.

This blog is an overview of our 4day-3night trip in Sabah and a description of how we were able to explore the city in the cheap by foot and by boat, and how we experienced luxury and pleasure after. Either way – it was a trip to remember, with a different flavor – which makes it truly unforgettable.

DAY 1 – Clark International Airport, Air Asia, Lavender Lodge, and Birthday Dinner at Seri Selera

Our flight leaves at 4pm via Clark so we had to take the 12pm Philtranco Bus in Megamall. This is the 2nd time we took this route since our Cebu Pacific flight via Singapore last April 2010 was also via Clark so I’m quite familiar with this already. For the second time, we did not make prior reservations but I still suggest to do so especially during peak season. After two hours, we were already at the Diosdado Macapagal Clark Airport.

This is my first time to ride an AirAsia plane so I’m also quite concerned with the actual flying experience. Quite frankly, being a budget airline, I was expecting small planes and delayed flights but luckily I was wrong! AirAsia planes are very nice, and never were our flights delayed. I will definitely choose them again next time.

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Coron: The Easy Way

We were in Coron last Feb 11-13 to celebrate again the V-Day and C’s Birthday. Travelling during this season has somehow became a “tradition” for us since we became an item after our Camiguin trip last year.

Unlike our previous travels in Ilocos, Viaje del Sol, and Camiguin though, this time, we dropped our backpacks and decided to go the easy way – so instead of planning the trip ourselves, we availed of a package tour that covers everything that we need for 3 days and 2 nights in Coron.

Upon the recommendation of our friends, we booked Darayonan Lodge’s “Explore Coron Package” which is Php 7,500 per head for 2 pax including the rooms, food, and tours.

Suffice it so say, Coron is not cheap, especially if you’re not travelling with a group.

Day 1

Our plane left on time and landed at Busuanga Airport a little early. From the airport, we were picked-up by a van to Darayonan. We were with a few more tourists at that time but they were dropped in different resorts around the area.

Coron has some electricity problems during that time. There is no power during the day and electricity only comes back after 6pm. Darayonan Lodge have their own generator but cannot sustain airconditioning for all rooms.

After resting for about an hour, we had lunch at Darayonan then rode a tricycle going to the pier. We were with our guide, Rhea (who was the best guide ever), who brought with her our merienda and drinks. We also rented snorkeling gears for Php 100 per person per day back at the resort (we were so lucky because we were the first to use the gears and didn’t have to worry if those were sanitized. hehe).

our first stop - Smith's Point Beach. We didn't stay long because it was too hot and we were not yet in the mood to swim.
Twin Lagoon - our banca had to park a few meters away and we had to swim going to the lagoon. I don't know how to swim and I was terrified because even if I have lifevest on, I sort of panicked when my feet cannot feel the ground already. So Rhea (our guide) literally had to drag me to our destination. :-S. It was high tide that time, so we had to climb up a wooden ladder.
Kayangan Cove - is the most photographed spot in Coron. However, we learned that the one in the photograh is not yet Cayangan, but just the view on your way there. We had to endure a short (but challenging) climb going there. After that, you will be greeted by the serene lake.
C enjoying the waters of Cayangan.

We ended the day with a dip at Maquinit Hot Springs. A good way to relax our bodies after a long day of swimming and sightseeing. 🙂

Day 2

We don’t have much pictures of our Day 2 Tour because we’re mostly immersed in water and C had a good time playing with the disposable underwater camera (whose film is not yet developed – so no underwater pictures for this blog as well).

We started the day early. By 7am we were already at the pier.

@ the pier while waiting for our banca

Our first stop for day 2 is Barracuda Lake. It was nothing spectacular, only so quiet and there’s and eeriness I can’t explain. We did not stay long there.

Water so still @ Barracuda Lake

Our next stop is snorkeling at Siete Pecados. According to our guide, it is the most popular snorkeling site in Coron. Had a great time feeding the blue and yellow fishes, right, but the water current is so strong I had to hold on to a rope to prevent me from being washed away.

We ate our lunch at Banol Beach, which looks the same as Smith’s Point, only it has its own sari-sari store. hehe. Food (included in our package), was okay… but I wished there’s crab and shrimp other than fish and meat.

Our last – and definitely the highlight – destination was the Skeleton Wreck. I freak out with the thought of seeing actual shipwrecks underwater so I just stayed on the other side and marveled at the various fishes and corals underwater. Definitely safer that Siete Pecados and more varieties of fishes in there! Obviously, this was where we stayed the longest. 🙂

Our tour ended earlier than scheduled. So by 2pm, we were already back at the hotel.

Perhaps the highlight of the day was our dinner at Kawayanan Grill. More of our love affair with Mr. Lobster here.

Day 3

After breakfast, we don’t have anything to do already. We were dreading the 700+ steps of Mt. Tapyas so this was our least priority. But since we can’t think of anything else to do, we decided to give it a try.

And are we able to reach the top for a photo-op with the cross? Find out here. 🙂

All in all, it was a good retreat from all the stresses at work and at home. I had a great time with all the water activities even if I don’t know how to swim, but I was not really blown away, unlike some accounts I read. For me, Coron is just like Hundred Islands – only bigger and more expensive.

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