Tag Archives: Philippines

Reclaiming Paradise in Boracay

Where fine white sands sprawl amid crystal clear blue sea, the Philippine’s most famous tropical island called Boracay is indeed paradise again. During the six months of closure from tourism operations, Boracay faced drastic rehabilitation to restore its innate beauty and pristine state. 

Volunteer divers unearth garbage from the sea during the six-month rehabilitation

Major works were facilitated to fix the waterways to make its prized crystalline sea clean and clear, roadways are fixed and widened to provide easy access inland, and wetlands were reinstated to pave for smooth rainwater flow and as additional tourist spots. At that time, the locals experienced the island that had allured them to make it their home.

Locals have the beach all to themselves at sunset during the closure

Such as an island emanating with a virgin-like beach that matched the radiant sunlight and where towering coconut trees outnumbered the people permeating on it.  No sign of major commercialism was present, save for a few local businesses that thrived to open and sustain its faithful employees.  These businesses, namely Dos Mestizos Restaurant, Cafe del Sol, Aria Ristorante Italiano, Lemoni Cafe, Real Coffee and Tea, Bom Bom Bar and Pat’s Creek Bar, Nagisa Japanese Restaurant, Coco Loco Restaurant, Levantin Bar and Restaurant, Nigi Nigi Beach Bar and Restaurant have garnered huge support from the locals who had come to commune in and enjoy the bare essence of the place like a part of their home that was permeated by only people they knew. Sunset gatherings were made sacred by the scenery’s serenity and parties were kept raw island style, impromptu, exclusive and simply fun.  While the sheer sounds of the island’s nature magnified with the absence of in-bound airplanes emitting its flight sounds, except for the constant flight services of Air Asia, which operation of Manila to Caticlan flights provided efficient and economical flights daily to the locals. 

Paradise reclaimed on the long white beach during closure

In those six months, paradise was truly reclaimed in Boracay’s most coveted long white beach. Now that the island has been open for almost a month, the beaches are once again enlivened by the addition of tourists.  

Time to fly on Air Asia bound for Caticlan
Touchdown at Caticlan International Airport, the gateway to Boracay Island

More flights from national airlines, including Air Asia, are back in full operation, thus tourists from all over the world get the visit Boracay and revel in its new and improved state. Through strictly implemented guidelines to sustain the island’s rehabilitation, tourists, especially families with children can already swim in safe and clean water, lay out their sarongs on spotless white sand to relax and sunbathe instead of the beach beds and dining set-ups that used to fill the beach front, and walk along the beach in tranquility and commune with the soft waves dancing to the star-lit night sky that shun the few shimmering lights on the beach path. 

Noontime dipping in a cleaner, clearer sea at Boracay’s most frequented spot, Station 2

The nourishing sea breeze has also become more potent with the lack of smoke coming from cigarettes, boat engines, and daily fire-dancing shows that not only emitted smoke but also harmful toxins to people and to the precious white beach.

Privacy and space on the beach are likewise enjoyed with the controlled number of tourist arrivals and the restriction of commissioners who incessantly solicit activities to tourists.

A profusion of towering coconut trees line up among the virgin-like white beach

The roadways, however, continues to undergo renovation, as it needed more time beyond the six months closure.

Beach baskers relax on their sarong

So while alert attention is required from tourists passing along the roads, the white sandy beaches of the island are ready to embrace and nurture them at best.

Sumptuous offerings at the island favorite food hub, Real Coffee and Tea

AirAsia connects you to more than 120 destinations via Kuala Lumpur. AirAsia flies out of Manila, Cebu, and Kalibo to domestic and international destinations like Palawan, Bohol, Davao, Korea, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Taipei, and many more! 

Find out more about AirAsia’s exclusive offers at airasia.com, and like facebook.com/AirAsia for more updates. 

Now everyone can fly!

Article by Amanda Virrey


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A Family Staycation in Lagun, El Nido

Last month, my husband and the kids had a vacation from our permanent El Nido vacation.

LOL! Seriously speaking though, we checked in Lagùn, one of the newest hotels in town for a much needed one night staycation.

Sometimes, it is nice to get away from our current (seemingly neverending) home construction and enjoy the amenities, sights and food of establishments here. What’s the use of living in paradise if we don’t enjoy once in awhile as if we are tourists in our own island home?

The view from our hotel room was spectacular!

Not many hotels here offer a pool with such majestic views so my kids and I managed to swim all afternoon to exercise and expend some energy out.

TIP: If you or the kids love swimming, request for a room closest to the pool deck.

You won’t believe it but my absolute favorite experience in this hotel was their breakfast buffet.

I find that not many places in El Nido offers a wide array of choices. Here, they bake their own donuts and bread daily! Plus, they had many choices for pescetarians like me. I did love the fish dishes and many sauces available. 

Check out this short clip on what’s in store for brekky. Happy dance because they allow locals to dine in here for a fee =)

If you are a local or even a visiting tourist, I highly recommend their restaurant because they are probably one the few establishments in El Nido town that has parking, seats that can accommodate big groups, wifi connection, good dining options (Sushi in El Nido!!) and quiet spaces perfect for catch up with friends or meetings for work.

I really have to salute Lagùn for their winning interiors. If you ask my kids, they would easily imagine that the reception is a scene out of a spaceship in outerspace.

The lounge area upon check in is also a wonderful space to zen out.

On the same floor as the pool, there are areas where you could roll out your yoga mat, do some breath exercises, meditate or do taichi. 

For more information, please contact +639171561507 or email lagunhotel@gmail.com.

You may also like and follow Lagùn Hotel on Facebook (Lagùn Hotel El Nido) and Instagram (@lagunhotel).

Review: Flower Island Resort, Palawan


The first thoughts that came through my head as I approached the island resort, “Wow all of the photos I’ve seen don’t do this place any justice!”  You cannot capture the essence of Flower Island by mere pictures alone. Powder fine light brown sand, all hues of blue on the clear skies and in the clean ocean, and an island sanctuary all to your group… the experience is so dreamy it is almost ethereal.

Flower Island Resort proves to be a very special and secluded place that’s real hard to get but worth the almost 7-hour travel time. (Plane from Manila to Puerto Princesa-1hour, Van from Puerto Princesa to Taytay-4 hours and speedboat from Taytay to Flower Island- 1.5hours) The long travel is definitely not for the faint-hearted. But we’re willing adventurers so we are rewarded with this piece of paradise for 3 whole days!

  

We stayed in room 9 which is the second closest fan hut to the reception and dining area.

This trip was actually work for me, A Yin & Yang Yoga retreat by FLOW.  I roomed with another yoga teacher, a photographer and of course my little one who goes wherever I go! I was glad to see the spacious hut good enough for a family of 5!

I didn’t take a very good photo of our bathroom. It was very dark so I chose to open all windows to bring the light in.

My roomie taking a nap with that view. The breeze lulls you to sleep, really!

Family friendly activities include: Two hiking trails, kayaking and snorkelling. Maya, my 1.5 year old daughter is too young for both kayaking and snorkelling so we pursued the hiking trails instead. I’m a bit sad to have missed out on the snorkelling which was fantastic says Paul, one of our guests during the retreat. He saw a manta ray!!! And HUNDREDS of different fish. My husband would have enjoyed this so maybe I should schedule a return? 🙂

This is us in the beginner friendly hike trail around the island which took 45-minutes.

And this is the prize for hiking to The Peak, a 360 view from the top of the island.

They also have an island monkey to Maya’s delight!


The resort staff were very friendly, maybe it’s because we were the only guests there! Nevertheless, we enjoyed their service. And I applaud their chef’s baking skills. All of our desserts were made from scratch in the kitchen.

We had really good chocolate cake, pineapple pie, macaroons and the best sesame cookies I’ve had in my entire life. I’ll be craving for them I know it!

I hear that soon they will have the option for sea planes to cut the travel time short. Hmm..so very tempting!


FLOWER ISLAND RESORT

Website: www.flowerisland-resort.com

Mobile No. Viber/Whatsapp +639175045567

Email: reservations@flowerisland-resort.com / flowerisland.palawan@gmail.com

Instagram: @flowerislandresort_ph

An Homage to Palawan, Philippines

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Boat Tour in El Nido

Once upon a time, long before Maya was conceived, the Manzanos attempted living in Philippine’s last frontier.. Palawan. You may read all about that here and why it didn’t work out here.

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Honda Bay

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leading a Yin Yoga class in Nagtabon Beach

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photo by Katherine Jack

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Montible River

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Taytay

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El Nido Town

Nevertheless, I keep wanting to come back as homage to what I consider my second home. Last February, with 11 month old Maya in tow, I organized two back to back retreats in Bahay Kalipay, Puerto Princesa for Flow and a Sacred Pregnancy Conscious Birth Retreats.

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photo by Tabitha Fernan

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In less than a week, we will be wading the waters of another tropical island paradise, Flower Island Resort in Taytay, Palawan for FLOW’s first ever Yin and Yang Yoga retreat I am co-leading. If you’re from Manila, it’s officially announced as a long weekend so, grab your chance to join us! Let’s see how creative I can be with managing 1.4 years old Maya without a nanny this coming weekend.

 

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Meet My Little Globetrotters

Hello! This blog is about my little globetrotters, Santi and Maya.

November 2009: Santi, 2 years old in La Union, Philippines

June 2014: Maya, 3 moths old touring Green School, Bali
My husband and I share the love of travel and we continue to scratch our itchy feet with our two tots in tow. Our mantra is “Have Kids, Will Travel!”