A-Z places worth a visit in the Philippines

Did you cross out most of your travel destinations last 2019? Or are you planning your #2020TravelGoals? I listed some places worth visiting in the Philippines from A-Z and you might want to consider them on your next trip!

A – Argao, Cebu

The Archdiocesan Shrine and Parish of Saint Michael the Archangel or Argao Church located in the municipality of Argao was established in 1703. Aside from the coral stone church, there is also other stuff to enjoy around like the watchtowers, plaza, gates and walls, L-shaped building (formerly known as Palacio), and mortuary chapel.

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Simala Church and Dalaguete Beach are just 20-km (30-min ride) away from Argao church. I assure you, no time will be wasted visiting these nearby tourist spots.

B – Banaue, Ifugao

Did you know that the scene where Thanos (Avengers: Infinity War) exiled himself to work as farmer and reflect on his loss was shot in the Philippines’ famous Banaue Rice Terraces? Are you burnt out from work? Pack your bag now and go to Banaue! Get ready to calm your mind, body and soul because even the most scary and troubled villain found peace in this place.

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C – Callao Cave, Tuguegarao

The cave does not only promise the best limestone walls, the top view will leave you in awe. Get the best angle of the Pinacanauan River from above and below (try a wooden boat ride).

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The trek inside the cave is easy and titas/titos of *insert city/town* will enjoy more while sweating a little .

D – Dingalan, Aurora

If your pocket doesn’t allow you yet to travel Batanes, then you might consider this alternative one. Dubbed as Batanes of the East, Dingalan is a place for those adventurous folks who want to relax and stay away from city lights.

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Prepare yourself for a trek and a breathtaking taking view. No words could describe how I felt when I reached the top. Too good to handle.

E – Esperanza, Agusan del Sur

Patpatangan Cold Spring, Calahian Lake, San Vicente Falls and Manlangits Lake are the top destinations in Esperanza TripAdvisor will suggest. But more than the tourist spots, the large scenic agricultural land will give you a break from the large buildings in the urbs.

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Do not forget to try some of their local delicacies! Tired of your common camotecue? Look for the sweetest purple sweet potato some carenderias in the area offer.

F – Fort Santiago, Manila

Stop for a while your fast paced lifestyle and travel back in time. This citadel was built in 1593 by navigator and governor Miguel López de Legazpi in Intramuros, the walled city of Manila. More than the ig-worthy backdrop, the fort is one of the most important historical sites in Manila.

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Also, you may add the National Museum to your itinerary. The museum is just a few minutes walk/ride and free of entrance fee.

G – Gumaca, Quezon

This first class municipality is nestling at the foot of the Sierra Madre range and is widely known as a heritage town due to ancestral houses and old structures that abound the area. Include to your list the picturesque San Diego de Alcala Fortress (Kutang San Diego), a recognised national treasure by the National Historical Commission since 1981.

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Going to Gumaca, you’ll traverse a long road showcasing the vast ocean. Unleash your inner Dyesebel or Aquaman and say hi to the mermaid sitting on the rock at Atimonan, Quezon. Also, there are nice beaches with black sand nearby.

H – Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur

The Philippines has a lot to offer in terms of hashtag-travel-goals destination, so why bother going to the same location every year? Hinatuan river could give you a clear as its water answer. True to its name, the river is so enchanting you can’t resist from coming back. Prepare your heart from skipping a beat upon seeing this magnificent river.

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Quick advice: if you’re planning to visit Tinuy-an falls and Hinatuan River on the same day, start with the former. Both destinations are good but Hinatuan river is just sooo good you might end up not enjoying Tinuy-an falls.

I – Isla de Gigantes, Iloilo

Located off the coast of Carles and Estancia towns in northeastern Iloilo, Isla de Gigantes or the islands of giants has the beautiful seascapes and island lifestyle perfect for the summer vacation you are looking forward since last year. I promise you, that “extra mile” (as it takes at least 5 hours to get there from Iloilo City) will be worthy.

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Seafood lovers will surely love the place. Get scallops for PhP 1.00 per piece.

J –  Jordan, Guimaras

Jordan is the commercial center of the island and has a wharf closest to Iloilo City. There are a lot to explore in Guimaras Island such as beaches and light houses, islets and caves. Also, add the Trappist Monastery and San Lorenzo Wind Farm on your list.

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Never leave the place without tasting their mangoes which is said to be the sweetest not just in the Philippines but also in the world.

K – Kabacan, Cotabato

Its name came from the word ka-abacan which means the source of abundance since people from far barangays used to go here to brought back home commodities from their livelihood. Despite all the not so good news from the area, treasures can still be found like the campus of University of Southern Mindanao and Pisan Cave.

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Did you know that Kabacan is known as an Ilocano-speaking area because more than half of its population are Ilocano?

L – Love Beach, Occidental Mindoro

Sorry to disappoint you, but Love Beach does not offer love life. LOL. But, if you have enough white beaches and night life on your itinerary, then you might consider this one. Calm your mind with black sand, salt water, and sunset of this beach. At night, meditate with the waves and wind and allow them to carry all your worries.

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After a day or two and you found yourself looking for more adventure, you might consider going to Sablayan to have an island-to-island zipline, and scuba diving at Apo Reef and Pandan Island.

M – Maniwaya, Marinduque

Knock! Knock! Who’s there? Maniwaya. Maniwaya who? “Maniwaya ka sanang minamahal kita…woooh”. LOL. The island’s beauty is no joke. Witness different hues of blue and watch fishes just a few meters from the shore!

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Palad Sandbar,  Ungab Rock Formation and Mongpong Island are potential addition to your itinerary (if you still have time) as these places are not far away from Maniwaya Island.

N – Nasuli Spring, Bukidnon

Not your typical destination if you’re a beach baby but this resort is worth a shot. Plunge into the cold water and rejuvenate your dying soul caused by the killing heat of commuting everyday to work. LOL. Kidding aside, the spring offers the ultimate nature vibe with swimming and diving area.

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You can opt to just take a side trip to this spring and explore the beauty of Malaybalay first. If you are prepared to sweat, consider trekking at Musuan Peak or Mt. Capistrano and have a view of Bukidnon at a higher level.

O – Olongapo, Zambales

“Ulo ng Apo” (head of chieftain) is where the name Olongapo came from – it is a reminder of the good leadership of their model and beloved chieftain who was killed by his abductors. The kinda scary story of the origin of the name of the city is opposite to what you will see in the area – forest trails, inflatable islands, and beaches and resorts to name a few.

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*ctto

Anawangin Cove is located near the city and it is the perfect destination for those people looking for swimming, hiking and setting up a bonfire on the beach.

P – Pinto Art Museum, Rizal

Pinto (means door in Filipino) Art Museum is a contemporary museum  in Antipolo, Rizal. The place exhibits rotation of foundation’s collection and promotes contemporary Filipino artists. Appreciate local flora and fauna from the two hectare botanical garden (known as Silangan Gardens) where the museum is located.

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Visit the magnificent Antipolo Church and munch on some tasty cashew nuts downtown before going home.

Q – Quirino, Isabela

This is not one of the most visited places for summer vacation but tourism is starting to bloom in the area. Still, there are a lot to see from this destination such as the Nagbukel Municipal Tree Park and Nature Resort, Pusuac Spring Park, Manuela Falls, Susong Dalaga and Liwayway cave. There are also different festivals that showcase the unique culture and colourful history of the province – so mark your calendar.

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Brace yourself with its relatively hot climate and a breathtaking view of large corn fields on each side of the road.

R – Roxas City, Capiz

Hey you seafood lover! Roxas City got you! This is a heaven on earth for you. Do you have enough fast foods for lunch? Now is the time to explore the seafood capital of the Philippines! Not a fan of seafood? The province still got you, babe! Local food culture include many unique delicacies such as inubaran nga manok, chicken binakol, nilagpang and many more. Sweet tooth folks can enjoy bitso-bitso, ibos, bayi-bayi and inday-inday.

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The province does not only boast the abundant marine produce, they also offer relaxing activities like river cruise tours and shoreline strolls with relaxing view of Sibuyan Sea.

S – Sipalay, Negros Occidental

My first solo travel was here and I’m so sure that it is a very safe and worth an extra mile place for those people enjoying some solo backpacking adventures. A day tour may not be enough to see everything the city can offer but there are so many beaches to quench the wanderlust in you – Sugar Beach, Punta Ballo Beach and Poblacion Beach are just some you can put on your list.

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The best for the gram photos I had during my trip were the hanging bridge in Tinagong Dagat, overlooking view of Sipalay and the cute islets I saw while in an infinity pool at Perth Paradise. I just had all these experiences in a day!

T – Tayug, Pangasinan

Heard of the sunflower maze? This is the place! If you were a bee during your past life this will be your paradise. The gate usually opens daily from 8:00am to 6:00pm starting on February until June. The farm features not just the sunflower maze but also other landscape of bougainvillea, blue ternetea, roses and different in-season vegetables.

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A perfect stopover for those going to or coming from Baguio. Along the road, you can buy dried fish and salty relish made of fish or shrimp (or simply bagoong).

U – University of Sto. Tomas, Manila

The oldest university in the Philippines founded way back 1611 had the Victorian-style exterior with shabby stone facade designed with sculptures on top you can admire. The things you can do here include feeling the love along the lover’s lane, taking pictures at the stone archway and soul searching in the middle of a serene garden with fountains and thick treetops.

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The areas around the university are known for flood and food. LOL. Prepare your stomach for a budget-friendly food crawl experience.

V – Vigan City, Ilocos Sur

A unique town in the Philippines as it is the country’s only surviving historic city from the 16th century Spanish colonial period. Vigan used to be an important coastal trading post in pre-colonial times. Time travel for a day along the cobbled stones of Calle Crisologo – visit the past through the ancestral houses and Catholic churches.

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Complete the history feel by riding a Calesa. Did the tour make you hungry? Try out some yummy empanadas and bagnet!

W – Western Bicutan, Taguig

Plenty of things can be done in Taguig. Enjoy the pleasure of a little history by visiting the Fort Bonifacio Tunnel which was built in 1936 and was used as route for military supplies throughout World War 2. You can also stop by at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroe’s Cemetery) and pay homage to former Philippine presidents, national artists, scientists and other patriots.

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Other things you can try are skating around BGC, riding a gondola at Venice hall, and visiting The Mind Museum and Miracle Art Museum.

X – Region X (NOMIARC)

Are you exhausted from the city life and daily traffic congestion perfectly combined with scorching heat? Do you have too many beaches in your bucketlist? This research station in Region X has a cold weather and the best probinsya life you are looking for. Make sure to coordinate first with the research station head before dropping by.

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If you were not able to coordinate with the research office, alternative destinations include Kaamulan Park, Lapanday Pineapple Farm and Monastery of Transfiguration.

Y – Yambo Lake, Laguna

Getting to the lake is a bit challenging but a rewarding journey. The pristine waters reflecting lush green that surrounds it will be your reward at the the end. If you’re a kind of traveler that enjoys the value of serenity and being in harmony with nature this one is surely for you.

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Pack and start early to be able to visit the other six majestic lakes of San Pablo, Laguna – Pandin Lake (twin lake of Yambo),Palakpakin Lake, Bunot Lake, Muhikap Lake, Calibato Lake, and Sampaloc Lake.

Z – Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Peninsula

The Philippines’ 3rd largest city and dubbed as “Asia’s Latin City” offers a wide array of adventures to dive in. The Merloquet Falls can give you a free massage and soothing sounds. From the boardwalk at Paseo del Mar, have a view of big and little Sta. Cruz Island and Basilan Island. Witness the Spanish influence through Fort Pilar.

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Planning to go to Zamboanga? Mark your calendar for Regatta de Zamboanga – the biggest and most colorful event in the Zamboanga Hermosa Festival conducted throughout the month of October with main events happening during the first 12 days.

 

Do you have other places worth trying this year not listed here? Write it down in the comment section.

 

 

A Quick Guide To Ukay-Ukay Hub in Tagaytay

Do you have thrift/ukay-ukay shopping plans? Why not try the Ukay-Ukay Hub in Tagaytay? Here’s a quick guide:

HOW TO GET THERE?
If you have a car, going to Tagaytay will be very easy. Just locate Fora Mall, park and you are ready to go.

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photo not mine. ctto.

For commuters coming from places near Los Baños, Laguna, here’s what we did: At Crossing, Calamba Public Market you can ride a van going directly to Tagaytay City Market. However, our visit was during a holiday and there were fewer vans going to Tagaytay so we opted to cut trips. First, we rode a jeepney bound to Balibago Complex, Sta. Rosa. At the back of Target Mall in Balibago, we rode a jeepney bound to Tagaytay. We dropped off at the terminal in Tagaytay City Fruit/Flower Market and wait for a jeepney with ‘Olivarez’ signboard (or if you are a group of 3-5, you can ride an e-trike). You can walk going to Ukay-Ukay Hub from Olivarez Plaza. The Ukay-Ukay Hub is just across Fora Mall.

For those coming from the city, as a promdi, I am not well versed on commuting from Metro Manila/Quezon City. Check this link (http://www.thejunction-tagaytay.com/how-to-get-to-tagaytay-by-commuting/) on how to go to Tagaytay and then once you are at Olivarez Plaza or Fora Mall, you are just a few meters away (or a less than 5-minute walk). Use your google map to easily locate the place.

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WHAT TO PREPARE?

Do not underestimate the small signage of the Ukay-Ukay Hub. This thrift shop is so massive you’ll probably be overwhelmed. Don’t panic. Here are some preparations you can do:

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Wear appropriate clothes. Wear the most comfortable shirt, pants and footwear. Remember, you will be searching from several racks and will be standing for too long so better gear up. It’s also better if you bring and wear a face mask (because as in every ukay-ukay, you can’t avoid dust which can trigger sneezing).

Note: The shop is not air-conditioned but it has a commendable ventilation.

Bring some extras. Extra clothes so that you can change when you got sweaty and kinda dusty after shopping. Extra water and snack for that hydration and energy you need while finding thrifted treasures. Extra ecobag because who knows how many pieces you’ll get, right? And extra patience since you will face a wide array of options.

WHAT TO EXPECT?

Upon entry you’ll find sea of clothes hanging on the racks. At first glance it looks small, but as you walk inside you’ll see how big this Ukay-Ukay store is. Relative to those individual Ukay-Ukay shops I tried in Baguio, Anonas, Laguna, and LRT stations this one is the biggest I’ve seen. And, I am guessing, 4 hours is not enough to browse everything in this shop if you are considering checking each piece in every rack.

Ukay-Ukay Hub basically sells preloved shirts, polos, pants, tokongs and shorts for men, women and kids (dominated by clothes for women). Aside from clothes, you can also spot areas for bags and shoes.

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Clothing racks near the entrance are the priciest while lowest ones are at the back. Front line clothes are new arrivals with FIXED price ranging from 100-500 pesos. There are several brands to expect like Uniqlo, Zara, G2000, Levi’s, Cotton On, and H&M (these are brands I personally spotted).

TIPS: Branded piece at low price is a good steal IF AND ONLY IF it fits your size, the style suits your liking, and it still has good quality (check for any damage or stain). Stop yourself from getting ukay-ukay clothes that do not fit you or have damage or permanent stains just because they are cheap and/or branded. Also, do not settle for those pricey branded pieces because you are defeating your purpose of Ukay-Ukay shopping. There are a lot other unbranded and good quality clothes, shoes and bags on sale which can still ‘spark joy’. JUST KEEP LOOKING.

As you dig deep in, you will find racks on sale. These racks are labeled with less PhP 20, 30% off, PhP 10 – 60 each and 4 – 5 pieces for PhP 100.

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TIP: Start your search from the back.

I hope this post will lead you to a sulit, comfortable and fun Ukay-Ukay Hub shopping experience. If you have extra time and budget you can shop for fruits and flowers at Tagaytay City Fruit/Flower Market or view the Taal volcano while dining or sipping coffee. Besides, you need to relax after hours of standing and looking for budget-friendly pieces to add to your wardrobe.

 
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22 Things you can do in Korea during summer

Finally! You found an incredible seat sale (around PhP 4,000 – 5,000 for a round trip ticket) for your dream Korea trip but the only schedule available is during the summer season. If you have read blogs discouraging you to book flights to Korea during summer, you will either end up regretting your impulsive buying of tickets on sale or having second thoughts whether to book it or not……

STOP RIGHT THERE. Delete the regrets and hesitations and get ready to cross out South Korea from your travel bucket list! Here are the 22 exciting things you can do during your summer vacation in Korea!!!!

1. Wake up.

Yes. Just waking up is exciting because the sun seems to rise earlier than where I live (Philippines). The early morning vibe will make you feel that you can do more things in a day.

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Make sure to get comfortable rooms! We got this 2-bed room with wifi, air-condition/heater, common restroom, free breakfast and unlimited drinking water and near train station for only PhP 700/day.

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What excites me the most in the morning? The free breakfast you can enjoy outside the house! Unlimited toasted bread with jelly and butter spread and coffee plus the nice ambiance!

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We always woke up at 5am to this view every morning.

2. Try out  stuff from convenient stores.

They have several convenient stores and each of those offer different products! Have you tried the banana yoghurt drink? It’s one of the best.

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The airport offers convenient store and we had a quick snack and bought T-card upon arrival. (forgive the dry skin of my palm. LOL)

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Around the city, there are a lot of convenient stores offering almost every basic stuff you need.

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You can even buy cooked rice – microwave ready! The price is good for its contents and taste.

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We even had some noodles and pocket cheese sticks!

3. Commute with fun.

Transportation system in Korea is plausible. They have varying means of commuting and among them are taxis, trains, and buses.

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Taxi rides are quite expensive and therefore if you are on a budget you need to have fun figuring out how to get from one point to another. The train line looks complex but if you plan well your itinerary and carefully read signages, you will get to your target place with ease.

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They even have train in the airport! Make sure to give way to pregnant women and senior citizens and not to make too much noise inside the train.

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Most trains we rode accepted T-money card upon entry except the train going to Nami island wherein someone inside the train collected our fare (Tip: always have some cash).

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You can also ride a bus. Detailed charts are available at the bus stops, they provide information on the bus number, its route and arrival time. Buses arrive and leave on time so make sure to always have a watch!

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Buses have specific stop points. Unlike our jeepney rides where we say ‘para’ or ‘sa lugar lang’, their buses have stop button that will tell the driver to stop – just make sure you are in the right bus stop.

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Monitor time. Public vehicles have their last trip and you don’t want to miss your ride home.

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We almost missed the last train ride going home and lost going to places and these things will consume large amount of your time so don’t make the same mistake and plan ahead!

4. Stroll around the city.

Seoul is a big and beautiful city. You can enjoy walking in the streets day and night without noticing how time flies. The weather is not too hot nor too cold (during our June trip) and just perfect for a good stroll.

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The streets are picture perfect, designed with different kind of people, busy traffics, buildings and establishments.

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Just make sure to wear comfy shoes! 😉

5. Appreciate art.

On your way to your destination expect art works everywhere. Some of them are just so random you’ll wonder what it is.

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And sometimes, you’ll spot random (literally) colourful shits. LOL

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Prepare your inner artist self.

6. Take the perfect selfie and post it.

Enjoy the high-speed wifi connection every corner. Shoot your photo and post it immediately! They have free wifi in selected spots (like airport and train station) or you can avail SIM card that will provide you internet connection everywhere for a certain period of time depending on your plan of stay.

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Not our perfect mirror selfie – but hey free wifi at the train station while waiting make taking photos irresistible. 😀 (Tip: Bring extra batteries, power bank and memory card)

7. Have some coffee shop tour.

I was surprised to find so many coffee shops! Why? Because the coffee shops are literally a wall or a step from one another.

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Different coffee shops offer unique interior design. They are in every corner and offer diverse selection of beverages and pastries – they have caffeinated and non-caffeinated drinks!

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Coffee lover or not will surely love these coffee houses.

8. Say a little (or even big) prayer at Myeongdong Cathedral.

The Myeongdong Cathedral is the national cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seoul. It is formally known as the Cathedral Church of Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception and located in the Myeongdong neighbourhood of Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea.

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You can go inside and say a little prayer. If you’re not a believer, then you can go straight to taking pictures.

9. Forget your diet and have a taste of Korea.

Morning and night markets offer food of all sorts – from appetizers, full meals to desserts. Have a palate of a Korean through their special delicacies. Brace yourself because this will be long. Also, prepare your budget. LOL.

First stop – samgyeupsal and fried chicken! Because those are what we always see in Koreanovelas. 😛

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Streets are haven for one of a kind Korean food. The food preparation seemed very sanitary. One thing I loved in their street foods was that each stall has tissue if you’re kinda messy.

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Be observant. Check out for stalls with long lines, they surely promise a taste you won’t forget.

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As you enjoy wandering around, you will forget about time but your stomach will be your constant alarm clock. Almost every corner has restos and fast foods you might want to try. Most restos we tried offer unlimited side dish (e.g. kimchi, onion).

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If enjoying your meal is not your top priority, you can just grab a quick snack!

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Myeongdong offers mouthwatering dishes day and night. Their night market is the best though because several food stalls appear during the night – from barbecues to lobsters!

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Try some steamed bun at Nami Island!

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If you’re feeling a little adventurous, get a lot of protein from steamed silk worms. 😛 They also have boiled small shells (I was not able to try).

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Don’t forget the desserts! Summer will be the best time to try these sweets (though ice cream melts pretty fast).

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Try their traditional cotton candy (above photo).

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10. Wear hanbok all day and time travel through old palaces

Have you seen the Koreanovela Jewel in the Palace? It is a film based on a true story about Jang-Geum (a legendary girl) who became the first woman to be the supreme royal physician of her times. The time setting was about 500 years ago and featured old palaces.

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There are several palaces to choose from. We opted to go to Gyeongbokgung and Changdeukgung Palaces. Wear a hanbok (a traditional Korean dress for semi-formal or formal attire during traditional occasions) and get free pass to these palaces. Summer heat will make you sweat wearing these. Make sure to check the weather and temperature on your visit.

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They have hanbok for men and women!

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 Stroll around and be a time traveller for a day. Witness the one of a kind architecture of Korea’s old palaces.

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20180608104733_IMG_1808Gyeongbokgung and Changdeukgung Palaces are just a few kilometres from each other. Make sure to check your map – look for entry points of each palaces so you don’t have to walk extra miles and get lost going from one palace to another – it will be a waste of time.

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Walking on the streets wearing hanbok is a pretty normal thing near the palace. You’ll burn a lot of calories!

11. Go to Hanok Village.

Hanok village showcases traditional houses. They are beautiful IG worthy houses but residents there don’t look happy due to the noise brought by tourists.

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Lower your voice when you’re there. Just enjoy the place and respect the villagers.

12. Shop ’til you drop.

You don’t just prepare your eyes for the view and stomach for the food. You also need planning for the things you need to buy. Streets, alleys, and different stores have things not on your list but will tempt you to buy.

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There is no best time to shop because day and night you can do shopping spree!

13. Prepare your stomach for traditional street food.

Gwanjang Market offers Korea’s traditional foods at an affordable price. Research the ingredients first to know if you can tolerate the taste or if you have an allergy to that food – you don’t want to waste money just trying to be cool.

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I tried Soondae (Korean-style sausage stuffed with boiled sweet rice, cow or pig blood, potato noodles, mung bean sprouts, scallions and garlic) and ended with a lot of leftovers.

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My favourite food so far was Wanja-Jeon (pan-fried mixture of soybean and meat). We went to Gwangjang twice just to eat this! Also, their side dishes are the best!

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It’s best if you have a Korean friend to translate or interpret the food you want to try. Some menus have English translations others don’t.

14. Enjoy the night breeze at Dongdaenum.

If you already went Myeongdong’s night market and still have another night to spend, you can try wandering around Dongdaenum.

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Lights coming from different sources can calm your mind. There are also food stalls and sometimes a band performing in the area you can enjoy.

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It’s fun to observe couples, families, and friends enjoying each other company – you will realise that the world is really big and you’re just a speck of dust in the universe.

15. Go to KBS.

Are you a fan of Descendant’s of the Sun? Then go to KBS. They have an exhibit showcasing their shows. No entrance fee needed!

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If you’re not a fan of any KBS shows, get awestruck with their old filming equipment.

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16. Do WALLing.

Did I just tell you the random art works a while ago? Well, if that’s not enough arts for you, Ihwa-dong got something for an artist like you. They have a mural village!

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Avoid the hassle of getting lost by securing your map going there. We walked and got there easily!

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Summer light will help on intensifying the colours of the beautiful paintings on the wall.

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There are food stalls if you get hungry and mini souvenir shops around.

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17. Lock your heart.

From people who will break it. JUST KIDDING! Enjoy the view and pretty locks near N Seoul Tower.

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If you are with your special someone, why not lock your love for one another. Single? Lock your dreams. LOL.

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Or take the opportunity to capture your pic with the locks during golden hour.

18. Literally level UP going to N Seoul Tower.

Literally level up because you need to climb up the mountain first before reaching the tower. It has an architectural height of 236.8m.

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I would recommend to go there before sunset. That time duration will be enough for walking, eating, and picture taking at the heart lock section. And will be perfect to view the city lights at night.

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This isn’t recommended for those afraid of heights as the observatory height measures 135.6 m. Conquer your fear and witness the stars from below.

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And yeah! I was surprised to see this! And I’ll pee and poo often if I have this kind of view in my comfort room. LOL.

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And if you’re not being called by nature during your visit, why not just dine, relax and enjoy the view?

19. Explore Nami island.

Prepare yourself for a 5-10-minute boat ride. Feel the combination of cold and warm air.

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People rave about Nami during winter and fall time. Seeing pictures during these seasons proves the beauty of the island. But, let me tell you, summer offers a different kind of vibe to this island.

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The freshness in the air and the mixture of green and red leaves will soothe your stressed soul.

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Bring your instagram boyfriend and take your photo between trees. Just like the IG photo of Coleen Garcia below:

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And if you do not have an IG boyfriend or even an ordinary boyfriend (awwiee. LOL). Be thankful for the friend you have who’s willing to take your photo (and doesn’t care if you look good or not. haha). Or just bring a tripod and the magaling-tumayming-sa-self-timer self (skill in self-timer photography). Get ready for all those funny bts shots you will have. Make sure your friend or self-timer took burst of photos you can choose from because I assure you out of 20 shots you’ll just get 1-2 decent photos. Haha.

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Walk around and forget all your worries. Relax!

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20. Calm your mind in the Garden of Morning Calm

After spending time at Nami Island, you can opt to go to the Garden of Morning Calm. It is a place for all season (though spring will show you more flowers).

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Summer won’t disappoint you. The garden will greet you with flowers and different kinds of plants.

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This is one of my favourite places we visited. The place is very peaceful with all those relaxing colours of green, red, purple, pink, etc. The temperature is just right to enjoy the view and calmness of this paradise.

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If you feel tired, you can just sit and breathe and remind yourself how beautiful life is. 😉

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21. Drink but don’t get drunk.

Koreanovelas amaze me on how much Koreans can handle alcohol. And I think these drinks give a soothing warmth in the body during colder days. Being in the place of sojus, try to experience tasting their alcoholic beverages.

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On our first dinner, we already tried soju! Our trip had tolerable cold nights and soju was just perfect before getting to bed. We originally planned to get wasted drinking but our itinerary didn’t allow that to happen. Besides, waking up sober gives you more energy to enjoy long walks.

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Beer + fried chicken = perfect combo! Convenient stores offer a wide selection of beer plus fried chicken kiosks are in every corner.

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Aside from soju and beer, we also tried makgeoli – an original Korean alcohol made of sweet rice. The sweetness, tanginess and carbonation of the drink will give you a unique taste of alcohol.

22. Reminisce Beauty and the Beast with the Rose Garden Festival.

My favorite place in our entire itinerary – Rose Garden Festival! I super love flowers and dream to see sea of tulips. I was saddened when I learned that June was not the best condition for tulips. But, I guess life has its own way to show you magic – to let you believe in miracles. Nope, we really did not witness hectares of tulips – destiny brought us to a place FULL OF ROSES!!!!!!!

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Seoul Grand Park Rose Garden Festival is being held in Seoul Grand Park in Gwancheon around May to June. Last 2018, when we visited the garden, it ran from May 26 – June 10. It brought me happy childhood memories of Beauty and the Beast. It was a paradise my cannot give justice.

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Yearly, they are showcasing tens of thousands of blooming roses with different colours and species.

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You can also see the top view of the garden by riding the cable car. We didn’t ride the cable car because seeing the flowers up close was our goal.

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They don’t only have roses, there will also be equally beautiful colourful flowers that will greet you in their entrance and bid you good bye at the exit.

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Schedule your Korea visit during winter, spring and fall they say. No doubt to that. Snow, colourful flowers and different shades of leaves are pretty exciting but summer time has its own beauty that might surprise you.

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A day tour guide to Bukal and Taytay/Majayjay falls (less than PhP 1,000.00).

If you are a nature lover and into trekking then this post is for you.

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Green-everywhere view

My starting point was at Los Banos, Laguna so if you’re coming from Cubao area, add 2 hours of travel time. From Cubao you need to ride a bus bound to Sta. Cruz, Laguna (Worthy Transport/HM or DLTB). I have no idea on bus fare from Cubao going straight to Sta. Cruz but Cubao to Los Banos is PhP 99.00 then Los Banos to Sta. Cruz is PhP 39.00 (with this I am assuming that bus fare from Cubao to Sta. Cruz will be less than PhP 150.00). Your drop off point is Pagsawitan. Most bus operators will shout that you are at Pagsawitan or you can tell them to drop you there. If you happen to rode the DLTB bus, you can drop off to their terminal. From the DLTB terminal, you need to cross the road and wait for a jeepney with ‘Majayjay’ signage  (usually, these jeepneys are already full when they get to DLTB terminal so you can opt to go to the jeep terminal – to go there, do not cross the road yet from the terminal and wait for a jeep with ‘Sta.Cruz’ signage and tell the driver to drop you off to Majayjay jeep terminal, fare is PhP 10.00). Going to Majayjay will cost you PhP 32.00 and you need to tell the driver to drop you off to the tricycle terminal going to Bukal falls. Ride a tricycle that will bring you to the Barangay hall (Tricycle fare is PhP 15.00). Someone in the Barangay will orient you to the things you need to prepare on your trek – environmental fee of PhP 20.00 and tour fee of PhP 300.00 should be settled before you proceed. Get ready for your 30-45 minutes walk going to Bukal falls because it will be a pretty rough and steep trail. There are no restrooms at the falls so better do your things in the restrooms provided by the Barangay.

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Restrooms in the Barangay hall

The tour guides are friendly, nice and funny and the one assigned to us was Kuya Ariel. We rented a life vest since we do not know how to swim and the well is 16-ft deep (Life vest rental: PhP 50.00). Kuya Ariel was kind enough to bring our life vests during the climb.

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Kuya Ariel

The trek started with cemented road and eventually became steep. There are usually handrail to help you survive the walk. You can rest any time you like just tell your guide. We had one stop over after 10-min walk where you can buy food, drinks and fresh buko. Along the way, there will be witty reminders. LOL.

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Let the trek begin!
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Getting tired? Here’s a stopover.
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Walking again…
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…and again. Make sure to hold on the handrails to prevent accident.
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Some witty reminders . lol
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Crossing the river

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Bucal falls + swimming time!

It was raining during our trip and the water was amazingly not murky (at least the way I expected), it was green but magically clear. According to our tour guide Kuya Ariel, during summer or when the sky is clear the water is turqoise in color.  You can enjoy swimming all day. It is best to go there during hot summer days because of the cold water. We swam for an hour and decided to go back. You will walk back going to the Barangay hall through the same trail which is pretty challenging because of the steep slopes. You can also camp at Bukal falls but you will be accompanied by your tour guide. We finished our Bukal falls adventure at 12:00noon. Kuya Ariel is kind enough to fetch a tricycle we rented for PhP 300.00 going to Majayjay/Taytay falls (but if you are on a budget, you can ride a jeepney going to Majayjay (PhP 40.00) and then tricycle heading Taytay-Majayjay multipurpose hall (PhP 20.00). It took us 20 minutes to reach the location. If you are going for a day tour you only have to pay an entrance fee of PhP 20.00 but if you decided to go camping, you need to give PhP 30.00. You can either bring a tent or rent one. There are also rooms for rent near the vicinity. You need to have a 5-minute walk through an easy trail going to the falls. The water was freezing cold during our trip (colder than water in Bukal falls) which I think will be best during summer. The place is quiet (except the noise of some tourists) and the water is bluish and clear. You can swim without a life vest because there is a large shallow swimming area. There are comfort rooms and change area. Expect good mobile phone signal but not power supply.

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Pay your entrance fee
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Hungry? Eat here!
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Taytay-Majayjay falls
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Swimming time!
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Wash/change/restroom area
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Staying overnight? Camp out or…
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…rent a room.
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Trace your way out through the canals with crystal clear water
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Bring some pasalubong going home with this souvenir shop

At 3pm, we prepared ourselves going home. We rode a tricycle going to the main road (PhP 20.00) then a jeepney bound to Majayjay (PhP 12.00) and dropped off at the terminal where we rode a jeep going to Sta. Cruz bus terminal(PhP 38.00). You can either drop off at DLTB or Worthy transport since both of them offer trip bound to Alabang or Cubao.

Reminders:

Transportation

  • expect additional waiting hours when riding jeepneys in the terminal as they wait for other passengers or until it is full
  • you can try riding a horse for P100 but for a short distance since the trail is steep and rough
  • there are few jeepneys passing by on the main road so expect an almost fully-booked ride
  • last trip of buses bound to Cubao/Alabang is 10-11pm and first trip is 3am

Trek and other activities

  • bring enough food and water along the way
  • do not carry heavy items if not necessary
  • rest if you get tired
  • if you don’t know how to swim rent a vest
  • water is freezing cold

Near the falls

  • there is no convenient/sari-sari store
  • mobile phone signal is there but not electric current
  • comfort rooms in Taytay falls is not so comfy to use; in Bukal falls, rest room is in Barangay hall

Schedule and fare

AM

5:30 – 8:00 – Cubao to Sta.Cruz (bus) ~ P150

7:00 – 8:00 – Los Banos to Sta. Cruz (bus) P39

8:01 – 8:15 – Sta. Cruz bus terminal to Sta. Cruz town proper Majayjay terminal (jeep) P9

8:16 – 9:00 – Sta. Cruz to Tricycle terminal (Barangay Bucal)(jeep) P32

9:01 – 9:05 – Tricycle terminal to Barangay hall (tricycle) P15

9:06 – 9:15 – Brief orientation in the Barangay hall and other trekking preparation

9:16 – 10:00 – Trekking to Bukal falls

10:01 – 11:30 – Swimming and other activities (you can bring your lunch and eat here)

11:31 – 12:15 – Trek back to Barangay hall (food stalls and carendirias are available)

PM

12:16 – 12:40 – Barangay Bucal hall to Barangay Taytay-Majayjay hall (rented tricycle)P300

12:41 – 12:50 – Brgy. hall to Taytay-Majayjay falls walk

1:00 – 3:00 – Swimming and other activities; setting up of tent (for those overnighters)

3:01 – 3:30 – Prep going home

3:31 – 3:40 – Brgy. hall to main road (where you will ride a Majayjay jeep) (tricycle)P20

3:41 – 4:00 – Main road to Majayjay terminal (jeep) P12

4:01 – 4:45 – Majayjay terminal to Sta. Cruz bus terminal (jeep) P38

5:00 – 6:00 – Sta. Cruz to Los Banos, Laguna P39

or

5:00 – 8:00 – Sta. Cruz to Cubao ~P150

Summary of expenses

Fare: P 354 + P 111.00(if you are coming from Cubao) + 150 (if traveling solo and renting tricycle from Bucal to Majayjay falls)

Food: P 89 (bfast:rice meal) + 25 (am snack:spaghetti) + 44 (lunch:rice and pork sinigang) + 30 (pm snack:pansit habhab)

Fees and other misc: Environmental fee + tour guide (Bukal falls): 300 + 20; Life vest rental: 50; Environmental/Entrance fee (Taytay-Majayjay falls): 20(if overnight – 30)

Total: P932.00 (exclusion: fare from Cubao and tricycle rental)