El Nido: My Tips for a Cheaper Trip

I’ve been to El Nido last month (April 10 to 14 to be exact) and I spent nearly P10,000.00 during our stay there and that does not include airfare. I should have spent less because we traveled in a group of 13 but how come I spent that much? I was, instantly, impecunious after the trip. Uh-oh! Let me give you a breakdown of my expenses so you’ll have an idea.

Group Expense

Group Expense

As I mentioned above, there were 13 of us who traveled together. The more heads their are the cheaper it should get.

My Own Expenses

My Own Expenses

My dinner was quite expensive because we ate in a restaurant named Altrove! An Italian Restaurant which serves toothsome pizza and pasta dishes! The manager and bar tender (who are both foreigners) would serve you themselves, too! Don’t dare leave El Nido without eating in this restaurant!

Total Expenses

Total Expenses

I believe it’s my friends fault (LOL!). He said it’s better to go there without having a concrete plan since it’s more fun to do things not having to follow a schedule or somebody’s lead. And I AGREED! Yes, it’s fun! It was, indeed, fun! This in not a sarcastic comment. I really did enjoy our entire trip!

Friends, I don’t want the same thing to happen to you so I strongly recommend that you read on ’til the last word in this post–unless budget is not a big concern for you. By the way, this applies if your point of entry is Puerto Prinsesa.

Tip # 1: Bring your own Snorkeling Equipment and Water Shoes

Rental fee in Puerto Prinsesa is 150.00 per day for each equipment and P100.00 per day in El Nido. We did rent ours in Puerto Prinsesa because of their proper sanitation of these equipments.

Savings: P300.00 to P600.00

Tip # 2: Drop by the Grocery Store in Puerto Prinsesa

Why? Because goods in El Nido are expensive compared to Puerto Prinsesa and Manila prices. Buy a bottle of water (the biggest size you can spot), canned goods, instant noodles, chips, snacks, sodas, alcoholic beverages and other things you think would be necessary for the trip. I know that you would help people in El Nido prosper if you will buy from them. But our goal, too, is to lessen are expenses, baby! And don’t complain about the heavy baggage because of the stuff you bought. You’ll just be sitting for a maximum of eight hours on the bus or in the van.

An order of TAPSILOG (Beef Tapa, Fried Rice, Egg) costs P100.00. So I hope that already is enough as a warning! :p

Savings: P500.00 to P1000.00

Tip # 3: Haggle and Bag the Cheapest Rate

C’mon baby! It’s just like trying to convince the store lady to give the shirt to you for P100.00 instead of P200.00. The better you are in bargaining the more money you save especially if you’re traveling with a big group. You can save on your island hopping tours, accommodation, transportation (for van), and other activities. And don’t commit right away to a person just because he/she said “this is the cheapest”. We almost bit this bait in many occasions.

Savings: P2000.00 to P3000.00

Tip # 4: Research

Hello! With the advanced technology, researching is now as easy as drinking water! Research on where to eat where your appetite will be satisfied, the things you can do there and how long you should stay there. A maximum of three days is already enough to do all things you can in El Nido (two tours can be combined in one day). Make it four if you’re planning on diving.

Savings: P200.00 to P300.00

Tip # 5: Plan 

My friend’s advice of not having a plan was somehow misleading (Or maybe I took his words too literally). Haha. I’m not blaming him though. I could have planned our itinerary better. This tip is somehow related to tip # 4. When you research, you can plan, and when you plan you can save money.

In our case, we threw P2,000 to the garbage bin.We often changed our plans so by the time we decided to go back to Puerto Prinsesa ahead of what we have previously planned, we could no longer refund 100% of what we’ve paid for the fourth night we were supposed to stay there. Original plan was to stay there from April 10 to 14 but we left on the 12th. Is that clear? Tell me how I could say it better! LOL!

Savings: P200.00 to P300.00

Tip # 6: Bring Smaller Bills and Coins

Believe me! This will let you save few coins and bills. There are a lot of stores in El Nido but each does not have enough change. I was rejected thrice by different stores because I was paying a hundred peso bill for the P17.00 snack I want to buy. So sometimes, if you have no choice, you might just tell them to keep the change or borrow smaller bills from your generous companions.

I couldn’t forget how happy the store owner was when I paid her P55.00 worth of coins! 🙂

Savings: P50.00 to P100.00

Tip # 7: Use your Connections

I am not talking about internet connection. I am talking about “connection” with people. Ask your friends and relatives if they know anybody from Palawan or, if they’ve been there, ask where they have stayed or what their itinerary was.

My sister’s friend lives in Palawan and they own a restaurant where the bus or van stops for lunch or for a meal. As for us, we only paid P500.00 for a meal worth P1,500.00 because the owner knows me. 🙂 Also, we only have to pay P5,000.00 for the van instead of P7,000.00 because of the connection we have.

I also have this habit of keeping contacts of people I dealt business with so I can recommend them to other people or I can still get in touch with them in case I return.

Savings: P500.00 to P1,000.00

Your Savings

Your Savings

These are my seven tips for you! I’m sure it would help! You might say that my advices are exaggerated but this would really save you from getting broke after your trip. Please type in the comment box if you have any feedback! 🙂

‘Til next time! Adios!

 

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Rue de Lipahan: A Venue for your Spiritual Activities or Social Gatherings

After nine long years, it was only yesterday that I was able to join a recollection again. The church ministry that I am part of organised this activity and fused our summer activity as well. So we have to find a venue which will cater both of our plans. Not only that, we also need one that is near and offers reasonable rates.

Let me make things clear before I formally begin. I’m not here to detail our recollection or to chronicle what we did during our outing. I’m here to tell you about the venue we have chosen.

We chose a venue where nature is at its abundance. Where we can fully relax and  take a hiatus from the “stressful life” in Manila. A tranquil place. No clamor. No horns tooting. A place where the only sounds you hear are birds chirping, wind blowing, trees applauding, frogs croaking and other sounds produced by insects (I’ll be honest, our singing voice, too). Not too much concrete walls around you, only trees and plants shielding you. And a pool where we can put our summer outing plans in to action. With all of these things, wouldn’t it be easier to find yourself connecting to God and having fun, too? (I know you answered YES!)

Our chosen location is somewhere in Silang, Cavite. It’s name is Rue de Lipahan (Rue which is a french word for Street and Lipahan is the exact street where it is situated). It’s an estimate of 2 hours drive (without stop over) from Manila if you take Carmona exit. From Carmona, you’d start to feel the cool breeze on your way up to Silang, so it won’t be too much of inconvenience if you’re riding on a vehicle without air-condition. We left Manila, with the sun at its harshest point, at around 3 pm and arrived in Rue de Lipahan at around 5pm, now welcoming us with a cool breeze.

We were all astonished with how beautiful and peaceful the place was. Here are some photos I took and like to share. Please excuse my still bad photo taking skills.

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This is what you’ll see from the small hall.

The small hall is open so your eyes can easily access the natural beauty around it.

The gazebo across the hall.

The gazebo across the hall.

Can you see the ladder at the right side? There’s actually a space where you can sleep up there. Truly something new if you have kids with you.

A tree house.

A tree house.

I always wanted a tree house since I was a kid. I believe every kids would want tree house of their own.

The mini pool.

The mini pool.

The pool is small and shallow (about 4 feet). Perfect for (not taller than 4 feet). But how would you like swimming in a pool surrounded by trees and where the sky is always visible? Perfect for waiting for a shooting star!

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Your view from the second floor.

The pool and a huge area of fruit bearing trees, flowers and plants are visible from the second floor. Such a lovely sight, isn’t it?

Side shot of the house.

Side shot of the house.

 Just took a photo of the house whilst alone in the pool side.

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Second Floor Bed Room #1

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Second Floor Bed Room #2

There are actually three rooms. One in the ground floor (which I wasn’t able to take picture of because it was intended for our recollection master) and two in the second floor. All three rooms are fan rooms. There are also two T&Bs available for guest use.

Another thing I appreciated is that they do not provide wifi connection. I have been to another place where they do not provide this kind of connection and you can read about it here. We all know how a wifi connection can become a culprit and ruin your supposed to be “wonderful conversation” with the people you’re with. So please, don’t attempt to bring a pocket wifi.

They actually provide almost everything that guests would need. From kitchen stuff to bedroom stuff. And you can ask the housekeeper to buy for you in case there’s something else you need (like eggs, salt, canned goods, etc.) Be reasonable though, stores are very distant from the place itself.

Here are things, which I think, they have to improve. They are the following:

  • The pool. I wish they can make it bigger and deeper.
  • Provide more pillows and blankets.
  • Provide a more comfortable mattress.
  • Flying and crawling insects are everywhere (understood because of the numerous trees and plants around). Hopefully they can provide insect nets or led light mosquito killer (inside and outside of each rooms).
  •  A larger TV screen for videoke addicts (but with poor vision).

Here are also some suggestions in case you want to see and stay in this place yourself (which I hope you would).

  • Bring insect repellants.  Again, insects are everywhere. In your room, in the T&B, pool side, gazebo, hall, everywhere.
  • Bring extra pillows and blankets.
  • Bring everything that you need. Specially ingredients you need for cooking.
  • Bring your PJs. Avoid wearing short shorts especially at night. Aside from insects, it gets really cold at night.
  • Bring ear plugs. If you don’t want the frog croaking like a cow get into your nerves, then your ear plugs can be your best buddy.
  • You may bring tents if you want. We actually did and I slept in a tent for the first time. And I think it is better to sleep in a tent because it is sealed. 🙂 No insects can get in.

I am glad that the owners are open for suggestions and are in the process of expanding their facilities. (Not too many other structures, please).

Now you know why we have chosen this venue! You, too, can book your next social gathering here or your spiritual activities. For just P6,000.00, a maximum of 20 persons can enjoy the serenity and other activities this place has to offer. They could actually accommodate up to 40 heads but for a different price. I’m sure kids, adults and oldies will all have something to do here!

For more photos, bookings, and questions, you may visit and like their Facebook page:

https://m.facebook.com/Wilfredosfarm?_rdr

Thanks for dropping by! 🙂

Vacation in Bali Batangas

While it’s still more than two weeks before the Holy Week, hubby and I and some good old friends decided to have a vacation. Last March 7-8, 2013 were the most relaxing two days of my life. Yes, it was relaxing indeed, even if we brought Carlos with us.

With all these “deals” site mushrooming it’s so hard to resist temptation not to buy vouchers. This time around, we got ours at Deal Grocer and we didn’t regret buying it! The voucher says “Experience Bali in Batangas: Terrace Villa for Four.” It’s original price is P11,550 ($288.50) but we were able to get it at P8,660 ($216.50)! Great deal, eh?

If you really want to have a genuine vacation then, I highly recommend this place! I am no expert but I know how to appreciate beauty! Rooms don’t have television nor an iPod dock nor wi-fi. Just a bed, a cabinet and a door to your private bathroom. This is to truly let you hook yourself to the many of the activities you can do whilst there. Though this place really looks like one of my dream rest house or dream property, I do not recommend this for the elderly suffering from arthritis or any joint pain. The walk to and from your villa and to other parts of the entire place is really exhausting and there are lots of climbing up and down the stairs.

Another thing I’d like to include in this post is the food they serve. For P1,000.00 ($25), all four of us were full to the fullest and that includes our baby boy. However, I would appreciate if they served foods that you don’t often gets in your stomach in the Metro. We were served Pork Adobo, Daing na Bangus, Bulalo and 4 humongous cups of rice. Nothing surprising, right? I was just expecting for something fresh and nutritious.

To summarize all the activities you can do inside this tangible heaven they have biking, horse back riding for the children, game room (you’d really love this one! this was actually one of our favorite spot, three swimming pools, playground, animal watching and the rest is up to you (e.g. yoga, jogging, tumbling, jumping, and all that ends with -ing)

As much as I wanted to talk, I’ll just let the photos talk for me, okay?

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Me, Carlos and Hubby in the Reception Area (Look at those chairs!)

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Our beds! Yahoo!

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One of the most astonishing bathroom interior I’ve ever seen!

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View from our room.

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Breakfast is served! One of the four dishes served for our breakfast!

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The game/TV room! Gosh! I want to take the TV and couch home!

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A wandering peacock!

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One of the three swimming pools!

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The pavilion! This is where gatherings are held. There’s another one in the making during our stay there.

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A private jacuzzi for executive villa guests.

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Outside our room!

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A huge door separating one side of the garden and the pavilion!

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Our other two companions, Joy and Noe.

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Our baby had so much fun, too!

 I swear that this place is celestial! I think Deal Grocer is currently offering a day tour to this place. If you want to see more great deals just visit www.dealgrocer.com. Hurry! They might just take you to Thailand!

Cintai Corito’s Garden

Balete, Batangas

Contact Number: 0917 833 1508

E-mail Address: coritosgarden@yahoo.com

Website: http://www.coritosgarden.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/coritosgarden

How to get there:

via private transport

Take SLEX all the way to STARTOLL EXPRESSWAY (No need to exit SLEX because both highways are connected). Exit Malvar (2nd exit) and turn left after tollbooth. Go straight all the way until the end of the road (National Highway going to Lipa). Go straight and head towards the direction of SM Lipa. When you see a Caltex and Citihardware (both on your right side), turn right (Road to Balete already). Cintai Corito’s Garden is on the left side.

via public transport:

Take bus going to Lipa (via Tabauan City) Get off in Levitown. You may take the tricycle or jeep. Cintai is 6.3 km away from there.

Unstamped

Say Hi to my passport! My UNSTAMPED passport! 🙂

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It’s been inside my document envelope since 2009. I only take it out if I need a valid I.D! Yup! A valid I.D! That’s the only purpose it’s served for the last 4 years since I had it.

It’s going to expire in less than 18 months. I hope that before it does, I’d be able to bring myself to another country and have my passport, finally, stamped! 🙂

A Better Public Transport Experience

I can hardly remember the last time I took the MRT or LRT to get to my destination. And when I took it a while ago, I was dumbfounded!

Why?

Here’s the reason.

People are now more disciplined in terms of waiting and I can’t believe my own two eyes. They were now falling in line (that’s grammatically incorrect) as they were waiting for the train to arrive. (Okay. Don’t give me that raised eyebrow reaction as if I’m the last person to know this). The next scenario, as the doors shut open, will be kept secret. Haha.

Salute to the officers who implemented this and to the security guards who never get tired (maybe) of reminding people to fall in line (Okay. I said it again.)! Great job!

Let’s all move forward to a better Philippines! Let’s prove to everyone that it really is MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES! :)