Magalawa Island

Exploring the Philippines more is one of my targets for 2015 and to start the year, I headed out to a small island off the coast of Palauig, Zambales. I didn't really know anything about the area until I randomly saw a Facebook post about "Magalawa Island" and it got me all curious - "Wow may ganung area pala sa Zambales?"

Panoramic View of the Sandbar in Magalawa Island

Panoramic View of the Sandbar in Magalawa Island

Travel time from Manila to Palauig (NLEX + SCTEX) is about 6 hours. Boat ride from Oslet Armada fishdealer compound to Magalawa is just 10 minutes. (More details on how to go there on this link)

The Oslet Armada compound has parking slots at Php 150/night. It is gated and secure. I left my car there for 3 days and they even washed it for free!  Here's quick snapshot of the mini-port in the Armada compound:

There are only 2 resorts in the island. I stayed at the Magalawa Island Armada Resort. There are campsites, fan rooms, and rooms with aircon. Not all rooms have restrooms inside. Also, the restrooms have a manual flush a.k.a buhos mode of flushing. If you are a bit picky with bathrooms, you might not like it here :p We got the Php 3,500 package for a 3d2n stay. You can view the rates in this link: RATES

The resort offers a package deal: accommodation and meals. They have a nice floating restaurant and the food servings are very very big! 

Floating Restaurant in Armada Resort

Floating Restaurant in Armada Resort

We did a bit of a tour of the island and spotted some sites for spearfishing and snorkelling. My only comment is that there are a lot of jellyfish in the area and when you're not wearing rash guard, it will be a stingfest for them!

Fresh Urchin as snacks

Fresh Urchin as snacks

I used to be afraid the ocean. Last year, I pushed myself to swim without lifejackets and take risks. Been doing these crazy underwater stints since then. I still have A LOT TO LEARN. 

Spot the jellyfish

Spot the jellyfish

Trying some breath hold

Trying some breath hold

Summer is here and I can't wait to explore more beaches in the Philippines!

xo

North Trip: Part 3

December 29: During my stay at Buscalan, I met new friends from MNL too (JC, Kate, Rey, Rainier, and Jerica). We all had no concrete plans on where to go to next so we randomly decided to head out to Sagada, instead of going home. 

Things to note:

  • Buscalan village to drop off point: 30mins-45mins trek.
  • Drop-off point to Bugnay: 20-30mins via Jeep. Fare is Php 45 each.
  • Bugnay to Bontoc via Jeep: 2 hours. Fare is Php 100 each.
  • Bontoc to Sagada via Jeep: 45mins. Fare is Php 100 each.

Spent most of the afternoon in Sagada sleeping (I was too exhausted to check out the hanging coffins and go spelunking). My legs were pretty much numb from all that trekking and walking from the previous days of adventure T_T

Sagada, Mountain Province

Sagada, Mountain Province

The weather is so damn chilly, I must say. Tried some lemon pie for the first time (Post-birthday celeb). First time to celebrate my birthday with people I barely know (but are my friends now, hihi). FUN <3

Photo from Rey

Photo from Rey

After that, beers and bonfire! There was a curfew, though. So we had to go back to the Alapo's View Inn by 10pm. Rate is Php 250 for the night, with hot shower (VERY IMPORTANT!).

December 30: Witnessed the beautiful sea of clouds just before sunrise. WHAT A SPECTACULAR VIEW!

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Breakfast Time: Lugaw, bread, and some brewed coffee!

One last group photo before the bus ride :) Cheers to making new friends!

Photo from Rey

Photo from Rey

Lined up for the bus trip back to Baguio at 7am but got to ride only at 8:30am. 

  • Lizardo Bus Php 220 fare
  • Travel time from Sagada to Baguio: 6 hours with a Lunch stopover
View from the bus window

View from the bus window

BYE SAGADA, Hello, BAGUIO!

Mt. Cloud Bookstore

Mt. Cloud Bookstore

 

December 31: Bye North. Off to Manila!

Here's to another year of adventures!

 

xo

North Trip: Part 2

December 28, still, at Buscalan Village.

It was time to get a tattoo! Grace is the grand daugther of Fang-Od (by Fang-Od's sister). She's the only one in the tribe/village who is interested in continuing Fang-Od's tattooing legacy. However, she's pretty much influenced by today's trends (she says "Boom Panis") unlike Fang Od, who spent most of her life inking warriors and villagers.

The mambabatok's tools include bamboos, thorns, and charcoal. Grace and Fang Od sketch out the artwork using charcoal first, and then they do "batok" to ink it into the skin. It's somehow similar to hammering something. The sound seems so painful but actually, it is tolerable. For me, perhaps since my chosen designs are relatively small, it's not as painful as getting inked using a machine. 

I also met Dr. Analyn Salvador-Amores, author of Tapping Ink, Tattooing Identities. She was there do another round of research and she was nice enough to take photos of me getting inked!

First few taps and I go like OUCH

First few taps and I go like OUCH

Left to Right: Fang Od, Dr. Analyn, and me!

Left to Right: Fang Od, Dr. Analyn, and me!

My boyfriend also getting a tattoo from Fang Od

My boyfriend also getting a tattoo from Fang Od

The people of Buscalan reach up to a very old age. I guess living a simple, stress-free life can really make you live longer? Fang Od is already 96 years old and she can still effing tattoo (and feed her pigs.) Whoa!

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My Hawk/Ginawang (Ifugao) tattoo means messenger of good fortune. In the old days, the hawk's flight patterns were used in hunting expeditions. It somehow symbolized that a prey is near. My other tattoo, Rain (Kalinga), means water/blessings. Raining meant that the crops will grow thereby bearing fruits of the farmer's hard labor. I've always been fascinated with elements/forms of water so I know I had to get this ink. My heart is fat with joy. Yay for new inks.  

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I honestly like the vibe in Buscalan. It's steady and quiet. Plus there's lots of coffee! Though time flies by too slow. I also had a nice time with the new people I met (from Manila too) and we decided to go to our next adventure the following day - although we were quite unsure where to head out to next. 

Things to note:

  • Tattoos cost around Php 400 - Php 2000. Mine was Php 400 each but they didn't have change for my money so the change sorta counts as your tip to them.
  • You can request for the thorn used after.
  • If you are indeed getting a tattoo, it is highly suggested to stay overnight because the trek up can be a bitch (plus the last jeep to Bontoc is at 12nn). Get some rest there.Hang out with the villagers and drink lots of good coffee.

Cheers to turning 29 and to new memories. Off to the next destination!