Monday, May 30, 2016

Travel smart in Bolinao | judygypsy

Patar Beach in Bolinao has been considered by some bloggers and writers to be one of the top beaches in Luzon. However, I think it’s unfair to say that it the most beautiful in Pangasinan since there are much more beautiful unspoiled beaches in the province.
Getting to Bolinao from Manila is very easy because there are direct bus trips. However, travelling from Baguio is a bit challenging since bus and van trips are cut up and long because of the route. There are two ways to get there: 
1. Baguio - Dagupan (Victory Liner bus) and Dagupan - Bolinao (any bus). This may take 6 hours of travel in total.
2. Baguio - Dagupan (UV Express), Dagupan - Alaminos (UV Express), Alaminos - Bolinao (UV Express). This may take 4 hours of travel in total. Why? The van no longer picks up other passengers unlike buses.
The second option is what I suggest because of too many obvious reasons. I understand that we would always find a way to save on cost but there’s always an exception. The buses going to Bolinao take too much time waiting for passengers in every town.
When you finally arrive in the town proper of Bolinao, you will meet many tricycle drivers offering their tour services but I suggest that you check out what Adora’s Restaurant offers. It’s just a few steps away from the bus drop off. Also, a few steps away from Adora’s  is a grocery where you can buy your drinks, toiletries and other things which may be unavailable in Patar beach.
When you think all is already set, look for a tricycle that will take you to Patar. The standard cost is 150php. You may also bargain with them about their tours. Their rate starts from 300 to 700 depending on where you want to go to. We availed of the 300php-tour because of time limitation. It includes the rock formation, the enchanted cave, the Bolinao lighthouse and Patar beach. You really should include Bolinao falls with your tour, too.
For our tour, the Patar beach was our favorite and if we were only aware that there are homestays in Patar beach, we would’ve stayed there instead. 
Pictures below: Rock Formation & Bolinao Lighthouse

Compared to the white sand of Hundred Islands, the sand in Patar beach is unrefined which feels good to walk on and very easy to wipe off. It’s also not white or off-white. The color is golden or creamy. It’s my favorite about the beach.
Pictures below: Patar Beach

What I can only say about the water is: it’s good for swimming. Not as clear as crystal but very clean. Waves were also strong but still safe.
Before going to Bolinao, I made a lot of research by reading itineraries and blogs. However, I guess I didn’t read much about low tides in some beach resorts so I got a little disappointed when I saw how shallow the water is where we stayed. It’s impossible to swim. Good thing that the food made up the disappointment. 

Overall, the place is great and the people are friendly. If you plan to visit this place, try to do it on weekdays because there are only a few people. Also, there are many resorts so there’s no need to worry about not having a place to stay.
I will be making another blog post about this place when I revisit it in July or August. I will be including Bolinao Falls 1 on the trip.
So long!

How to travel on a budget? | judygypsy

I have observed that recently many people nowadays have the financial capability of visiting tourist spots compared to how people lived 2-3 years ago. Although, I’m not sure if it’s really our desire to travel or we are only influenced by what we see on our IG and facebook feeds. I have to admit that I get itchy feet every time I see beautiful pictures of places in my own country. 

Having been to a few places already, I’ve learned the difference between travelling and being a tourist. Travelling is packing light, pitching your own tent, cooking your own food, hitch-hiking, making friends  and sharing with other travelers, getting the cheapest trip, and many other things that would let you spend a little money but will surely let you experience what tourists do. Tourists on the other hand, book hotel rooms and eat in expensive restaurants to be at their best relaxation. However, whether you are a tourist or a traveler, make sure not to take pictures only with your cameras but also with your eyes; “Leave No Trace” which means be responsible with your trash and never damage anything; and making the locals smile by buying from their small living which I think is priceless and the best souvenir. 

What a traveler does:

First, you must be aware that many things won’t be comfortable. 
Pack light. As much as possible, bring what is enough for the trip. Try to fit them all in your backpack.

Get the cheapest trip. There are air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned buses for most bus lines. Try non-air-conditioned ones ‘cause they are way cheaper, you’ll get used to it.

Tent or home-stays are your hotels. Some places charge you 100php – 200php for pitching your tent but most of the time it’s free. Isn’t that a good deal? 

Cooking your own food is also a good way to save on expenses but also, if a place is famous for their food specialties, get a chance of tasting them. 

Be a joiner. Look for groups of travelers. Filipino travelers are kind-hearted. You will save money at the same time you will meet new friends.


Stay safe. This is the most important thing to take note of. Still, you have to be careful trusting people. Educate yourself with basic self-defense, be cautious and avoid danger as much as possible.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Nagsasa on a 2k budget | judygypsy

Two thousand pesos, with this amount of money, you can go to one of the most admired places of travelers, the Nagsasa Cove in Zambales. Its crystal clear water, serene atmosphere, and the breathtaking view from the hill top will surely make everyone fall in love with how simple life is in this place even without social communication, zero access of media entertainment and the online world. 
Getting there from Baguio City. There are two routes of getting  to San Antonio, Zambales, 1. Baguio – Dau – Olongapo – San Antonio or 2. Baguio  – Sta. Cruz – San Antonio. The first route is perfect for late night travelers since the earliest trip going Sta. Cruz from Baguio is at 6 a.m with Victory Liner. Although, when taking the first route, make sure not to take a trip earlier than 1 a.m because the first trip going to Olongapo from Dau is at 5 a.m. All the same, take whatever route works for you as long as you don’t waste time and money. 
We took a late night trip, 1 a.m; it was smooth and comfy. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait for buses in every bus station. We set foot in San Antonio at 8 a.m and met our boatman who we contacted before going there. The good thing about contacting a boatman beforehand is that you can haggle, know what is included with the boat fee and make arrangements earlier. Please bargain reasonably enough for you and the boatman. 
Our boatman was Kuya Johnny, I got his number from a blog. I think many bloggers have already recommended him on their posts and they are right about how kind this man is. He’s very chatty and he speaks Ilocano. 
We weren’t supposed to go island hopping because of some additional fees but he took us to a part of Camara Island and Anawangin Cove to take pictures. By the way, our boat fee was 2,000php. It includes a box of ice, a big container of water and a tent. The boat trip from San Miguel/Pundaquit to Nagsasa will take about an hour. In our case, we stopped by Camara Island and Anawangin so it took us more than an hour. 
When we got to Nagsasa, we were so happy with how peaceful the place is. There were only a few people probably because it was a Wednesday then. There is no signal so you might want to turn off your phone when not using it. There are stores owned by some Aetas who take care of the place, their prices are usually twice of the SRP so buy everything you need from San Antonio. Aside from swimming, you can trek in the afternoon, early morning or whenever the sun is not burning. The view from the hill is breathtaking.. 

Below is our itinerary and breakdown of expenses. 

Words are not enough to describe how beautiful this place is. It’s also not something that you just Google. It’s a place to be. Waves are usually strong so be ready with bumpy and crazy boat rides. Enjoy your trip.