Sakura in Japan

It’s the time of the year again when most people await the Sakura or Cherry Blossoms or spring season in Japan. The Sakura blooms in the different regions of Japan on different dates. The earliest is in Okinawa, which is normally in January, and then it goes up to Osaka to Tokyo to Sapporo for the dates of the Sakura.
I remembered my trip last 2017 in Japan. I booked for 6 days, 3 days in Osaka and 3 days in Tokyo. It was supposedly in the middle of the spring. But when we were in Japan, it was still winter. The coldest I experienced was 2 degrees Centigrade.

It was a Wednesday our flight was 3 pm in the afternoon. We arrived at Osaka airport. We bought our express ticket and we went to the wrong train. But it was still on the same destination, longer this time.

We were checking the train and got inside. We asked help from a Japanese guy and he eventually guided us. We got off at the Namba station. We walked inside the station and eventually seeing the train going to Nippombashi Station.
The cute Japanese guy helped us to buy the ticket going to another station.

From the Nippombashi station, we went to the other side of the street, walked two blocks and we found 711. We went to the left side and entered the block and looked for Lawson and the post office. From the post office, we found the apartment, went to the 3rd floor, found a small box and unlocked it. There was a key inside and we went inside to a one-room apartment, complete with cooking utensils and bath.
After settling, we went outside to get some food. We were supposed to buy from 711, but we walked going towards the Nipponbashi station and found a small Japanese restaurant called Matsuya Nippombashi. We ordered 3 gyudons and we also have a misu soup. We went to 711 and bought drinks and coffee and food for breakfast.

Sabang Beach, Baler, Aurora

Baler is located in the central part of the Philippines, in Aurora province. It is rich in historical places and incredible beaches. It is also one of the best places for surfing.

I have done solo traveling in this place using an automatic car and I tried the route of the Pantabangan-Aurora Road. It was already late when I left Nueva Ecija. It was a little scary though since I really haven’t been to this place and I was all alone. The roads have narrow curves and zig-zags.  It was a lot better if it was just zig-zags, but the roads were steep. The problem at some point was the rough road somewhere in Quirino and the several rough roads along the bridges where you need to go up after every bridge. Somehow I thought those that were behind me wanted to push me upward or hoping that they could overtake me. Another problem just in case I got lost or the car breaks down was that there were no nearby communities along the roadsides and there were no signals for my globe and smart phones.
After almost two hours and a half from Nueva Ecija I made it in Baler and it was already seven in the evening. The next problem with this trip was I didn’t check any hotels in the area or booked ahead of time. It was summer so most of the resorts I saw were fully booked.

Thanks to Aliya Resort, I was able to find a place to stay, at a much expensive price. But don’t get e wrong, the resort was really great and the staffs were accommodating and I had a room on the third floor with a veranda overlooking the Sabang Beach of Baler.

It was actually raining in Baler and it was still Amihan season. From the veranda of my room was the view of the sunrise. 
The Sabang Beach in Baler is a surfing site. The following morning I was up early in the morning hoping to witness a surge of waves splashing over the shores of Sabang Beach. And there were surfers who were already up and braising the waves of the Pacific Ocean.

Petite France, South Korea

It is also called Le Petite Prince French Cultural Village. Located between Nami Island and Cheongpyeong Lake and near Homyeongri.

French Cultural Village

It was a filming site for famous Korean Drama like Secret Garden and Man from the Stars and also for Running Man, a Korean Variety Show. There are memorabilia from the different Korean Drama in the cultural village.

Saint-Exupery and Little Prince

Aside from the picturesque French village, it is the home for the gallery of the famous French author Antoine Marie Roger De Saint Exupery. 

You can check out the Saint-Exupery Memorial Hall. There are life-size images of Saint-Exupery’s renowned book of Little Prince.

My favorite spot in the cultural village is Fountain Square and the Butterfly Garden which is overlooking the Cheongpyeong Lake.

You can also go inside the different buildings and check out the decorations, art paintings, galleries and also to appreciate the European style houses.

There are special French art performances in the Amphitheater. For more information, you can check the website for the performance times.

There’s a miniature Eiffel Tower of Paris in the cultural village.

How to get there

From Nami Island you can ride a shuttle bus with the Gapyeong Tourist Attraction. It is a 15 – 20 minutes bus ride from the island bus stop. You can see the bus stop along the road. You will also see the entrance tunnel in Petite France.

Going back to Seoul, you can also wait for the shuttle bus going to Cheongpyeong Station and take the subway going back.

You can check the previous post from Autumn in South Korea

Nami Island

Nami Island is one of the favorite destinations. It is located at the Chucheon area. Nami Island is the result of the construction of the Cheongpyeong Dam.

Nami Island is dedicated to General Nami who led the victory against the rebels during the Joseon Dynasty. The tomb of General Nami is the first attraction that can be seen alighting the ferry. Carved in his tomb is a poem he wrote.

The Metasequioa road and Central Korean Pine Tree Lane is the most famous attraction in Nami. This was the filming site for the famous Korean Drama “Winter Sonata.”

The Winter Sonata park is dedicated to the memorabilias inside the park inclduing the life size image of the actors and the bike they used during filming.

Nami Island is designated as a Unicef Child Friendly Park. They are one of the 14 parks in the world and the first in Korea.

Another place is visit is the handicraft studio in Nami Island.
There are different hotels in Nami Island. You can spend a night on Hotel Jeonggwanru. There are coffees and restaurants around the area.

Another attrection is the Namipungwon Garden, home of the different plants and trees.

After Nami Island, you can go to Petite France. From my previous post Autumn in South Korea you can check how to get to Nami Island.

Autumn in South Korea

One of the four seasons in which Filipinos like me will not experience in my country is Autumn. My first Autumn was in South Korea.

Arriving in South Korea

We arrived in Incheon International Airport at 8PM in the evening. When we had our passport stamped, I waited for our luggage and I head to the Travel Center. I bought a ticket for the express train going to Seoul Station. When we reached Seoul Station, we took a taxi to look for Seoul City Hotel.
The driver was an old man and he had a hard time looking for the hotel. But after checking the Korean characters, we were able to find it. It was already cold in Korea when we arrived. Even the taxi’s aircon was off, and the windows were open and we could still feel the breeze of the cold night.

Seoul City Hotel

Seoul City Hotel is located in Teorgyo-gil and we were near Hoehyon Station. We were greeted by the manager Mrs. Kim and she immediately took us to our room. But before that, I talked to her on how to go to Nami Island. And she gave me maps to check and assisted me with the map guide in Korea on what to ride going to Nami Island. The following morning we had our breakfast in the rooftop of the hotel. They served Korean food and some American food. Our view from the top was buildings from the nearby establishments.

Going to Nami Island

I inquired about the card to use in the station and the receptionist wasn’t speaking in English. But the guy inside the booth went to us and explained to us how to get the card and how to reload it.
From Hoehyon station we need to transfer to two other MRT Lines to reach Gaepyong station. The first transfer was in Dongdaemun, where we transferred from Line 4 to Line 1. Upon reaching Hoegi Station, we transferred to GyeongLine.

Upon reaching Mangu Station, we transferred to Gyeongi-Jungang Line. We alighted at Gapyeong Station. From the station, we went to the other side of the street to wait for the bus going to Nami Island.

Gapyeong Station

The bus from Gapyeong Station is about 10 to 15 mins. Many tourists rode the same bus. Upon reaching the bus station in Bukhanganbyeon-gil road, we checked the different restaurants nearby.

Winter Sonata Cafe

Winter Sonata Cafe

My mother and I saw the Winter Sonata Café, which was on the second floor of Master Koffee. Winter Sonata Café includes pictures and memorabilia inside the restaurant. We ordered our food here and took a rest from the long ride going to Nami Island.

Winter Sonata Cafe Restaurant

Getting to Nami Island

After having lunch, we looked for the main entrance of the ferry that would take us to the island. You will easily spor the immigration going to Nami Island.

We also saw the Zip line going to Nami Island. this is another option in getting to Nami Island.

Zip Line

We bought tickets first and then we lined up to the entrance for the 15 minutes ferry ride from the wharf. The ferry was full of different nationalities.

Ferry Boat at Gapyeong Wharf

The boat ride was short and we were on the island, where different flags welcome the tourist. After which we started touring the island. After Nami Island you can go to Petite France.

Bohol Island Tour

After our tour with Bohol Grand Scenery, we rested for awhile in our resort in Panglao. After dark, we stayed at the sands of Alona Beach.

Alona Beach

Our resort is located in Alona Beach, Panglao Island. There are different resorts, hotels and hostels around Alona Beach.

Dolphin Watching

We woke up early the following and waited for the boat that would take us for our island tour. The sun was rising from the horizon and we took pictures of it before going to the site for the dolphin watching.

There were so many boats on the site who was also taking a chance to see the creatures. We were happy to see a bunch of dolphins lingering around the boats. They were having their own show for the people to watch.
We then had lunch in Balicasag island.

Balicasag Island

After which we went snorkeling in the Balicasag Island Marine Sanctuary where there was a diverse marine environment to explore. It is a dive site if you go further beyond the snorkelling area.

Virgin Island

Our last stop was Virgin Island or also known as Pungtod.
This one was my favorite island from all other islands I had seen in the Philippines because of the long sand bar. We even went to the middle of the island where the sand bar was no covered with water.DSC03512
There were vendors on the island. In his boat were coconuts, clams and sea urchins.

Hinagdanan Cave

We went back to our resort to check out. After which we went to Hinagdanan Cave in Panglao. Stalagmites and stalactites surrounded the cave with a deep lagoon. The cave is also made of limestone.

Panglao Shell Museum

The tour ended in the Panglao Shell Museum and with us getting souvenier.

Bohol Grand Scenery Tour

I joined my friend and her family in their Bohol trip. We were 9 in the group plus a child. We availed tour from Bohol Grand Scenery Tours to see the different places to see in Bohol.

Blood Compact Shrine

Continue reading “Bohol Grand Scenery Tour”

Potipot Island

It was a one and a half land trip to San Antonio to Candelaria after our Anawangin trip We went to Dawal beach resort in the town of Candelaria for an overnight stay. After having lunch in Dawal, we asked for a boatman to take us to the island.

Potipot island is a 15-20 minutes boat ride from the jump-off point in Candelaria, Zambales. The Island is a small island in Uacon on the West Philippine Sea. It has fine white sand and lots of trees which shades the tourist on their camping site. From docking of the boat and the payment of the entrance fee, we went around the island starting from the left side.

There were no visitors at the side of the island. My friend Maki and I were all alone exploring this side of the island. Potipot is a very small island that you could explore within an hour.

We stayed in some part of the beach in the secluded area. After an hour we then reached the part of the island with the tourist and campers. There were nipa huts in the area and you could also avail of tents for overnight stay. But it gets fully booked. We stayed there for some time before heading back to the beachfront of Dawal.

From the beachfront of Dawal, we waited for the sunset while overlooking Potipot Island. We sat at the fine black sand on the beach in Uacon.

For other post about Zambales, please check Anawangin Cove, Capones Island and Camara Island

Anawangin Cove, Capones Island and Camara Island

We went to San Antonio in Zambales during the height of Southwest monsoon. After 3 hours of driving from Manila, we reached San Antonio, Zambales and asked direction going to Pundaquit.  The road going to our resort was a little rough and we also crossed a signal from a Chinese radio station with our local station.

Canoe Beach Resort, Pundaquit

After 15 minutes from the town proper, we reached Canoe Beach Resort.  It is a resort with good amenities like a swimming pool, with a beautiful beachfront – overlooking Capones and Camara Islands, a nipa hut to stay and a coffee shop.  The beachfront was also a site for surfers and there was an incoming event for surfing when we got there.  We booked a room for an overnight stay good for 3.  We then asked for a boatman to take us to Anawangin.  The sky was dark on the horizon when we left the resort.

Anawangin Cove

We headed to Anawangin cove with a small boat.  The sea was not rough going there.  As we enter the coast of Anawangin, everything was breathtaking.  The rich greenish trees of the mountainous area that surrounded the cove and the white sand beach engulfed our adventurist site.  Anawangin is a place for camping.  There are restrooms and store for campers.  We weren’t there to camp but just to enjoy the view and to swim with the waters.  I love the line up of trees in the cove.

It rained while we were in Anawangin and decided to go to Capones Island after the rain.  We didn’t know that after the waters of the cove as you turn left to the open sea, it was raining hard and the waves were violent.  Our boat was not that big.  There was a thunderstorm in the open sea, as we saw lightning struck the waters.  It was scary and longest boat ride I had for a short distance journey from Anawangin to Capones Island.

Capones Island

It was still raining when we arrived in Capones and we weren’t able to explore the lighthouse.  We were on the other side of the island. We only took shelter because of the raging waters and the thunderstorm we encountered in the open sea. After 30 minutes we went to Camara Island.

Camara Island

I love sand bars between waters.  Camara has a long stretch of the sand bar.    We stayed here for a while before heading back to the beach resort.

Guimaras Island: Nueva Valencia Island Tour

Guimaras is the home for the famous sweetest and the best varieties of mango of the Philippines. Guimaras is a small island in the Visayas Region. It is also best to visit the island during summer especially in May to witness the Manggahan Festival held every May 11-22.

How to get there

From Iloilo City, we went to Ortiz Wharf and took a 20-minute pump boat ride to Jordan Wharf. From there we asked local policemen how to get to Nueva Valencia where we booked our resort. He told us to ride a jeep going to Nueva Valencia. There are multicabs in the area, but hiring one would be expensive so my friend and I opted for cheaper transportation, a jeep for only Php 45.00 for 45 minutes to one hour depending on the jeep. The jeep was full of passenger, my friend and I were already at the end of the jeep uncomfortably sitting on a piece of wood.

Raymen Beach Resort in Alubihod

We told the barker to drop us going to Alubihod. We got off a gas station in an intersection going to Alubihod. From there we rode a tricycle going to Raymen Beach Resort in Alubihod. Upon checking in and since it was already almost 5 in the afternoon, we decided to check Alubihod beach and enjoyed the water with other tourists. Raymen also sumptuous food and the famous mango.

The following morning, we availed of the island hopping tour from Raymen Beach Resort and they helped us with the local boatman. It was still early in the morning and the sun was rising from the horizon. The first place we went to was our local boatman’s house where he fetched a tour guide for us. Our first island was the Ave Maria Island

It is a small island where the sand bars disappear during hightide. And since it was very early, we get to enjoy the small sand bar all by ourselves. The water was clear here and we took a short swim.

Across Ave Maria Island was the turtle sanctuary where we got to see a huge turtle. The island was surrounded by rock formations and a nice beach.

Baras Cave

Our next stop was the small cave of Baras Cave. Nice went inside the small cave with the rock formation.

Lamurawan Beach Resort

From Baras Cave, we went to Lamurawan Beach Resort. This island has a beautiful garden and is open to tourists to take pictures. We were able to talk to the caretakers of the garden. From Lamurawan, we could see the 7 small islands.

Natago Beach Resort

Our next destination was Natago Beach Resort. It was a resort and a secluded island. We tour the whole beach and were able to talk to the owner. It was my favorite beach on our tour because of the landscape, the sand bar between water with the rock formation and clear water with the visible school of fish.

Isla Naburot


We also check out the Fairy Castle and Isla Naburot.