During our trip, we took a long road trip to Northern Luzon.
The Philippines is an archipelago comprising 7,107 islands, the Philippines is categorized broadly into three main geographical divisions: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Manila the capital is located on the largest island Luzon. Luzon is the only island of the archipelago that I’ve been on. Until now I’ve only been around the Metro Manila area and CALABARZON Region (formerly a part of Southern Tagalog)
My mom’s friend took us on a three day adventure to the north. She hired a driver, which is the best idea to tour around the Philippines. You have the freedom like having your own car but you have your own personal tour guild. Many of these driver know the areas and can set up activities for you to do. They also give you a sense of security and help to make sure you don’t get a shady deal. If you’re think of going to the Philippines please look into this option! Also for bring cash, once you move away from the big cities, ATMs are rare and usually out of cash or offline.
Here are some of the highlights of our road trip:
Kabigan Falls (meaning friend) a 120 meters of crashing white water is worth the 30 minute hike through farmland and jungle. Located in the town of Pagudpud it’s part of the tricycle tour and only cost 20 pesos per person. You will be assigned a guide to walked you to the falls. They even stick around while you swim and walk back with you.
Blue Lagoon in Pagudpud is know as a part of the “Boracay of the North.” White sand and blue water, it’s beautiful! There are a few local land marks around the beach area like Dos Hermanos islands and Bantay Abot cave. There are a few beach resorts around and several houses and huts to rent.
As I said before, if you want a safe and easy trip around the Philippines I recommend hiring a private driver. You can search for one or here is the email of the driver we used Ricky Daymil. Kuya Ricky was so nice and takes people all over, not just Luzon. firstname.lastname@example.org
Ah, this randomly popped up one day after posting. WordPress usually gives some kind of random inspiration to bloggers, like a muse or excessive drinking. This title caught my eye. “What travel lessons have you learned the hard way?” Let me put this out there and say I am in no way a globe trotter. I have been to my share of strange, different, and exotic places but I haven’t been everywhere. But in my time overseas and a few self-planned trips I can say mistake were made….
# 5. No Faffing About: On the way to Sokcho, Chad and I were almost left behind during a routine pit-stop in the lovely countryside of middle-of-nowhere Korea. Luckily, Chad and I can run fast. However much time the bus drive says you have, just take a piss and hurry back. Whatever you want to buy, or do, or look at, forget it, just pee and hop back on the bus.
#4. On the Map: maps, most are for free, we have them on smart phones and GPS and navigation systems. There are all kinds of neat and niffy way to access a map nowadays. Don’t waste your vacation time lost- look at a map! Everywhere I go, I bring a map or get one at the local tourist information center. If you don’t want to look touristy, cause you’re just too cool for that, check your map in a private location, like a bathroom. Just check it. Most places in Korea (if you look pretty lost and are staring at a map) some kind Korean, will an urge to practice English, will ask you if you need help. You never know, you can make a friend!
#3. Sail the 7 Seas with me, just find your own way: don’t book trips for friends. It’s been a few times now that I’ve planned and booked a trip and was a kind and handy travel agent for my friends. But unlike a travel agent I didn’t get paid and got the shaft. Then I’m left to pay the bill and make the recalculations. (Ya know like reckoning the price on sharing a condo with 5 instead of 6.) If you want to travel with friends, that’s find and it’s a great idea to travel with others, but have everyone book their own way and meet up later.
#2. 867-5309!!! This may seem simple but make sure you have the address and phone of the hotel or hostel or where ever you are staying. Lots of things ask for this. Customs want to know it, some random forms at the airport want it and it’s good to have it on hand if you get lost. (Also try to have it in English and it that country’s language/alphabet.) Even if you know the location and everything- just in case! I knew exactly where our hotel was from the subway station, unfortunately, I forgot which subway station and the name of them hotel once we arrived in Tokyo. It wasn’t until I was staring at a neighborhood map that it click, we were at the WRONG subway station…. This may seem like a no-brainer but simple things just confuse and scary me.
#1. Ah, take the Cash in hand: This may seem strange to some, and I’m sure some people will say I’m all wrong about this one, but trust me when I say, keep cash on you. Not a lot, and always enough to get a train, or bus, or cab, back to the airport, ferry or whatever that brings you home. The morning we were headed back from Tokyo we had spent all our cash, not wanting to carry a bunch of yen back to Seoul. “I’ll just use my card” I thought. Except in Tokyo the only ATM’s that have any English options require you to withdraw a minimum of 10,000 yen which, at the time, was roughly 100 USD. We had just under 100 bucks in my home account, because the night before I used my card to buy dinner. We were stuck with the crippling fear of no way to buy a train ticket to get back to the airport. We were stuck in Tokyo! We had Korean won and even a 50 US dollar bill in my wallet but no Japanese yen. Luckily, the other train company in that station opened at 6:00 AM and Chad was able to scrap enough Japanese to buy two tickets to the airport. This train company had a ticket booth that took card. Thank God for the JR line (Japan Railways Group.)
So these are my top 5 tips for travelers. Bon voyage!!
Wow, fantastic baby!
Where did April go?? It’s already SO hot, summer will be here before you know it, and my second year in Seoul will come to an end.
Here are some of the highlights from this past month! Hope you enjoy!
This is the first time that sh1ft.org has done a NEW 26 Things since I started doing Photo-Hunts! I’m SOOOO EXCITED! Click the picture to see the full details of the hunt! This time there are only 13 items and you have to take two different pictures of each.
Only 28 days left: let’s get started!!!
Here is the list of 13 items – remember to take 2 photos of each:
8. Up in the air
12. A sign
13. A Self Portrait
A day in the life of a currently over-worked English teacher. We had a “seminar day” which my school used as a field trip day with the kinder students and their families!
The kids finally show up and they play a game with their families. They had to stack a pile of rocks as high as they can without it falling. You see little rock piles along trails in Korea when you’re hiking. They say if you add a rock to the pile and make a wish it will come true if the pile doesn’t fall; however, if the pile falls your wish and the other wishes won’t come true.
Day 31: Tea-cha I am finished!! Ok I’m way late on day 31 but things got crazy this week. My friend Jamie starts at my school and I was helping her. Also I have been keeping Chad and Chad’s stuff at my place. My apartment was storage central for everyone’s bags. But here is a random picture to finish August! I was the only one who didn’t move this month. This is the stream by my place in Dramatic Tones.
Day 28: Took Kyle to his first cat cafe. I love cat cafes. This little guy slept in this basket the whole time. When you have cat cafes around everyday is Caturday. This cat cafe is close to my place in Donam.
Day 27: Only 4 days to go!! I can’t believe I made it this far. Here are some pretty lights at the COEX mall, one of the largest underground malls in the world. I was gonna post a picture of my Korean teacher, Emma, but I think she might feel embarrassed… but it was a really pretty picture of her.
Day 25: Good-bye Anam. So due to the other dumb-ass foreigners in Chad’s building Chad has to move out. It sucks because we love Anam, it’s become our home away from home. Luckily, Chad is moving to Bomun which is between Donam and Anam. So it puts him between my place and Anam. We’ll still be able to go to Anam and eat and party but it’s going to be more of a hassle…
Tonight’s our last night.
Day 23: Been busy and haven’t been able to get out much. But it’s ok, stay inside, the zombies are coming! The most important thing I tell my students is to aim for the head while fending off zombies.
Day 21: Went to the toy and stationary outlet shops in the Dongdaemun Market to buy some stickers and prizes for my students. Lots of little shop full of color. More shops are open on Saturday than Sunday. But my favorite shops are usually open on Sunday and it’s a little less crowded.
I even saw one kinder student I teach. It’s funny how a kid goes blank when they see a teacher outside of school. They forget all the English they learn and just smile or act shy even though they are the best in the class or very talkative. I guess no matter what generation or age you always think teachers live in the school and never leave…
Day 19: I’m teaching a story/musical to the youngest classes at ECC. The story is called Scary Dino. In an attempt to teach a fun lesson, we took little dinosaur erasers and put them in play dough. Then we had little dinosaur eggs and played a counting/number game. However, some little dinos didn’t make it through the egg hatching process. This was the result.
Day 17: Nothing really exciting today. I was bored so took a picture of my newest Pokémon figure. This is tepig.
Day 15: We went to Seoul Forest. Here’s a random shot I got that ended up being fabulous! I love how the light came in through the trees. I also added some saturation and vibrancy to the original picture. I thought it made the forest look more enchanted.
Day 14: On the walk home. Here is a bridge close to my place. There is this great little canal/stream that runs through my neighborhood area. The bridge almost looks like it’s on fire with the street lights glowing.