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Flight chronicles of the backpacker Tutubi, with travelogues, pictures/photos/videos, travel guides, independent and honest reviews, affordable, recommended resorts and hotels (including inns, guesthouses, pension houses, lodges, hostels, condotels, bed and breakfast and other cheap accommodations), commuting guides, routes (sometimes street maps and GPS coordinates/waypoints) and driving directions to answer "how to get there" questions, information and tips on tourism, budget travel and living in Philippines, Exotic Asia and beyond!

Backpacking, independent travel, and flashpacking are cheaper than the "cheapest package tours" and promotional offers around but you can also use travel information for family vacations, even romantic honeymoon destinations.

More than the usual tourist spots and "places to see," this blog advocates heritage conservation, environmental protection, and history awareness for Filipinos, foreigners, and ex-pats wishing to explore Paradise Philippines and Exotic Asia!
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    Online Shopping for Travel Gears? Try Lazada

    Tutubi doesn't like shopping, even going to malls (as he prefers to be close to nature than stick it in the urban jungle). He nowadays don't have time to shop around but found online shopping experience effortless.

    One of his favorite online shopping places is Lazada Philippines which now offers cash on delivery terms if you don't have a credit card even a bank account.

    Some of the things he bought online from Lazada include the following:


    4-Person Dome Tent (being enjoyed by Tutubi's nephew in Paete, Laguna)

    CWK-8000 12MP Car DVR (Digital Video Recorder, popularly known as DashCam) to record everything that happens when on the road, useful in case of accidents or some worthy scene along the way. Sample videos of this car DVR can be found on DashCam Diaries Philippines channel on Youtube

    Solar LED Light, packaged together with the camping tent. He was actually looking for a cheap, useable tent but the one he saw on Lazada has this item bundled with it

    Other items bought by Tutubi online from Lazada includes external hard disk (to backup his personal and travel photo collection), 32GB microSD card (for added memory space for camera pictures), solar power bank to charge gadgets even high up the mountains, a "samurai" sword disguised as a baton (for "home security" purposes), short pants and a long sleeve shirt.

    How do you buy items on Lazada?

    Simple, just log on to Lazada Philippines, register then choose items to add to your shopping cart. Payment options include Paypal, ATM/debit cards, credit cards and also cash on delivery (COD) which is now Tutubi's favorite. Defective items/warranty claims and replacements to be returned via LBC, with shipping free of charge within 7 or 14 days (depending on the stated warranty for the product).

    You can subscribe to their daily newsletter to be updated with their latest promos too

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    posted by backpacking philippines @ 7:58 PM, , links to this post

    July 27, 2015 Holiday Iglesia Ni Cristo Anniversary?

    The Iglesia Ni Cristo will celebrate its 101 years in existence at the sprawling Ciudad de Victoria, Bocaue, Bulacan site of the Philippine Arena on July 27, 2015.



    In previous years, PNoy declared July 27 as special non-working holiday, particularly last year being the 100th anniversary (centennial) but it was a Sunday.
    This year, July 27, 2015 falls on a Monday and it may be declared non-working holiday

    The Iglesia Ni Cristo on Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City

    As of now, Malacanang declared July 27 as a WORKING holiday though and this may not change as it nears :P

    Expect heavy traffic on NLEX on July 27 particularly near Bocaue and also EDSA Monumento area


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    posted by backpacking philippines @ 9:17 PM, , links to this post

    How to Get to Boracay from Palawan (Puerto Princesa, El Nido) via Iloilo

    A lot times this question was asked of Tutubi, mainly by foreigners referred by Facebook. To avoid typing the answer occasionally, Tutubi decided to just create a post to answer the question How to Get to Boracay from Palawan or How to get to Palawan from Boracay:

    white sand beach of Boracay is a local and international favorite

    How to Get to Boracay from Puerto Princesa, Palawan

    1. The best way is to fly to Iloilo instead of going back to Manila as there are no direct flights to Caticlan or Kalibo from Puerto Princesa at the moment. Puerto Princesa to Iloilo routes are served by Cebu Pacific Air and Philippine Airlines

    2. From Iloilo Airport, take a taxi to Tagbak Transport Terminal (along MacArthur Highway in Jaro, Iloilo City). If you have time and less budget, take Iloilo Airport Shuttle to SM City Mall (fare PhP50/Pax ) then take SM City Mall Jeepney to bus Station (Tagbak terminal fare: PhP10.00/Pax)

    3. At Tagbak terminal, take a bus to Caticlan/Boracay. Travel time to Caticlan from Iloilo is around 4-5 hours and will pass by Kalibo (Bus fare: around PhP350.00) Iloilo to Boracay Bus (to inquire on trip schedules and bus fares)

    Philtranco
    Office: Traveler’s Lounge, SM City Iloilo, Mandurriao, Iloilo City
    Telephone Number: +63.33.320.3660
    Website: http://www.philtranco.com.ph

    Ceres Liner
    Office: Tagbak, Jaro, Iloilo City
    Telephone Number: +63.33.329.1223;+63.33.321.2371

    4. In Caticlan, take a short boat ride to Boracay Island.


    How to Get to Boracay from Palawan by Ferry/Boat:

    not for the faint of heart, there's a Puerto Princesa to Iloilo ferry via Cuyo, Palawan
    served by Montenegro Shipping and Milagrosa Shipping Corporation. This is less expensive but takes a lot of time though you may really want to visit the island of Cuyo with its charming old church and Spanish-era fortress.

    to answer these questions, you can reverse the directions given above:

    How to Get to Boracay from El Nido, Palawan
    How to Get to Boracay from Palawan (Puerto Princesa, El Nido, Coron)
    How to Get to Palawan from Boracay
    How to Get to Puerto Princesa from Boracay
    How to Get to El Nido, Palawan from Boracay
    How to Get to Boracay from Iloilo
    How to Get to Iloilo from Palawan


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    posted by backpacking philippines @ 9:50 PM, , links to this post

    The Bunga Twin Falls in Nagcarlan, Laguna

    A refreshing dip in the water of Bunga Twin Falls in Nagcarlan, Laguna.

    The twin waterfalls of Narcarlan, lesser-known compared to Taytay Falls in Majayjay moreso with the popular Pagsanjan Falls, was visited by Tutubi quite some time ago.

    The waterfall features a twin fall "design," quite similar to Kalayaan Twin Falls but has more nature-ish feel to it due to absence of concrete development.


    the twin falls, height can be estimated from the people added to the frame to add scale

    the natural rocks and boulders of the river and sample of cottages for rent

    siesta time on a waterbed?

    there's an area where you can pitch tents and cook, ideal for backpackers


    Bunga Falls Information:
    Entrance Fee: PhP5.00/person (yes, barya lang, even for overnight camping trip)
    Cottage Rentals: starts at PhP200.00 (quite expensive though)
    Overnight Accommodation (cottage rent): PhP400.00 (free if you have your own tent)
    Activities: hiking, trekking, swimming, camping, water tubing, glamping (?), sleeping :P
    Parking Fee: PhP20.00 (vehicles), PhP15.00 (motorcycles)

    How to Get to Nagcarlan, Laguna:

    Take a bus to Sta. Cruz, Laguna (Green Star Express in LRT Gil Puyat Station, HM Transport on EDSA Cubao or DLTB bus.

    In Sta. Cruz Laguna (Pagsawitan), transfer to a jeepney to Nagcarlan. In Nagcarlan town proper, take a tricycle to Bunga Falls

    Related Post:
    List of Waterfalls in Laguna

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    posted by backpacking philippines @ 9:49 PM, , links to this post

    Pampanga Beach Resort with White Sand?

    Tutubi checked in to a "beach resort in Pampanga" inside a sprawling export processing zone and found a sport where you can play beach volleyball on white sand. Can you guess where this is?

    More details to follow





    coconut trees, white sand beach and a lake


    beach volleyball, anyone?

    As of this time, Tutubi is still in transition phase. He's been very busy these past two years at work and just recently transferred from Makati to Pasig City to cut his travel time in half.

    He'll post more as his backlog is quite long already!

    he'll also celebrate nine years of travel blogging (he's been blogging for more than ten years now actually)

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    posted by backpacking philippines @ 8:13 PM, , links to this post

    KMS/CODA Lines Bus to Sagada Fares, Trip Schedules, Contact Number

    KMS Philippines, now CODA Lines Corporation, will open a Manila - Banaue bus route via Bontoc starting April 1, 2015.

    Herewith is the information on bus fares/rates, trip schedules (departure and arrival) for this route that was formerly served by another bus company.

    CODA Lines (photos taken from Coda Line Facebook page)




    KMS Line bus terminal is near LRT 2 Legarda station.
    Contact Number is posted on the picture below, just call the telephone number for any inquiries or possible ticket reservations.

    Related Posts:
    Bus Terminals in Cubao
    Bus Station in Pasay/Taft/LRT Buendia
    Bus Stations in Pasay Taft EDSA Rotonda

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    posted by backpacking philippines @ 8:06 PM, , links to this post

    Taal Volcano Trek Guide: Cost, Rates, Scams and Tourist Traps

    The Philippines, like most other destinations, has lots of scams and tourist traps. Herewith are some of them in Talisay, Batangas with people taking advantage of tourists for extra moolah not thinking that what they're doing scares tourists away and impacts future tourist arrivals

    Here's an updated budget travel guide for Taal Volcano crater trek/hiking with fares, rates and commute/how to get there information, even tourist traps and scams for travelers/backpackers.


    taal volcano talisay batangasearly morning view of Taal Volcano and Taal Lake where fishermen/boatmen wait for passengers to ferry to the volcano island

    Going on a trek to Taal Volcano involves this "script"
    1. Go to Talisay, Batangas either via Tagaytay or Tanauan
    2. Rent a boat
    3. Trek to the crater (boil eggs at steaming hot springs)
    4. Go back (of course)

    Rates:

    Boat Rental Rate/Fee: PhP1,500.00 (standard boat rate)
    Trek guide: PhP500.00 (good for 6 persons)
    Horse ride: PhP450.00 (if you don't feel like trekking)

    Beware of these Scams/Tourist Traps:
    boat guide fee: PhP500.00
    Boat "unloading fee" : PhP50.00 (just a small piece of wood to step on to get off the boat)
    Drinks at the crater: PhP50.00 (vendor will tell you that you need to buy one for your guide)
    Photography: PhP400.00/picture (they will take pictures but not required to avail)


    Other Rates and Fees:
    SLEX Toll fee: PhP214.00 (Nichols to StarToll)
    SLEX to Startoll: PhP25.00
    Startoll Tanauan exit: PhP7.00


    Overnight Accommodations:
    Balai Sofia Bed and Breakfast PhP1,399.00 (overnight stay)
    Club Balai Isabel

    Overall budget/cost for a Taal Volcano day tour will be low if you avoid tourist traps and scams

    How to Get to Talisay, Batangas


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    Read more after the jump!

    posted by backpacking philippines @ 8:10 PM, , links to this post

    BGC Traffic Marshal Flat Tire Incident

    BGC traffic marshal Mahinay caught Tutubi and his ride with a flat tire. What he did was not any thing expected.

    With all the recent bad press the Bonifacio Global City, with traffic marshals/security guards trapping motorists into "illegal parking" traffic violations and towing (wrecker), was traffic marshal Mahinay cast from a different mold?

    Tutubi drove from Makati to BGC, specifically at the corner of 4th Avenue and 31st Street, in front of Net One Center (Silk Road Restaurant) and felt the uneven balance of his ride. His guess was confirmed when a bystander pointed to a flat tire

    After a few minutes, traffic marshal Mahinay (wearing vest number 73) arrived and started to shoo away other parked/waiting vehicles with blinkers on.

    Tutubi drove nearer the traffic marshal and informed him that he has a flat tire to which Mr. Mahinay volunteered to help to change it.

    Tutubi went down to get the tools and to bring down the spare tire.

    Traffic marshal Mahinay, Tutubi learned, was not knowledgeable in removing the tire (that Tutubi knows he has to kick and use entire body weight just to unbolt the tire. ). Instead of teaching traffic marshal Mahinay, he opted to drive to the nearest gasoline station (Shell on 5th avenue) to ask for assistance and also because it started to rain a bit.

    Traffic marshal Mahinay instead of leaving, volunteered to escort Tutubi to the gas station

    At the gas station, Tutubi was able to speak to a gasoline boy who knew how to change a Toyota Innova's flat tire, who did it under slight drizzle while Mahinay watches to know how to do it.

    Bonifacio Global City (BGC) traffic marshal 73 Mahinay (in silhouette) watches over Scarlett (Tutubi's Toyota Innova ride) while the Shell employee replaces the tire.


    After just a few minutes it was done, Tutubi gave the unnamed gasoline station attendant a small token for the act. He also offered the same token to traffic marshal Mahinay to which he declined, something not ordinary in this day and age.

    to traffic marshal Mahinay, may your tribe increase, and be an example to others!

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    posted by backpacking philippines @ 6:30 PM, , links to this post

    Tarlac Pangasinan La Union Expressway (TPLEX) Toll Fee/Rates

    UPDATE:

    SMC will open the new segment of TPLEx on December 20 linking Rosales to Urdaneta, Pangasinan toll-free i.e free of charge
    till January 20, 2015.

    Tarlac Pangasinan La Union Expressway (TPLEX) is a toll road being built by San Miguel Corporation (SMC) to connect to SCTEX (Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway) all the way to Rosario, La Union to cut travel time to Baguio from 6 hours to around 3.5 hours.

    The remainder of the tollroad segment to Rosario, La Union will be completed by December 2015, three years ahead of schedule.




    Tarlac Pangasinan La Union Expressway (TPLEx) toll gates:
    La Paz in Tarlac City, Victoria, Gerona, Paniqui and Moncada in Tarlac;
    Rosales, Urdaneta City and Pozzorrubio in Pangasinan,
    Rosario in La Union.

    Class 1 vehicles (multiply rates by 2 to get toll rates for Class 2 vehicles and by 3 for approximate toll fee for Class 3 vehicles

    Related:
    NLEX, SLEX, SCTEX Toll Fees


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    posted by backpacking philippines @ 8:16 PM, , links to this post

    Manila: Hotels, Motels in Sta. Mesa, Pasay and Pasig

    Motels in the Philippines don't have very good reputation, unlike abroad where they're just hotels. They're usually tagged as places to stay, for a short time, for discreet encounters and sex trysts of lovers, illicit or otherwise.

    Motels, though primarily catering couples where privacy is valued, are legitimate cheap places to stay in Manila for weary travelers and even families, some even have themed rooms

    there are at least three places in Metro Manila that are populated with the so called "lovers' motels": Sta Mesa (Manila), Pasig and Pasay City

    Motels in Sta. Mesa, Manila

    Dubbed the Motel Capital of the Philippines, many of these have names of flowers and usually called and belong to the Flower Group, are located on Valenzuela St., Old Sta Mesa and V. Mapa Streets near PUP (Polytechnic University of the Philippines) and Stop N Shop (a no longer extant place near Ramon Magsaysay)

    Gardenia
    Halina
    Queensland Lodge
    Prince Court Lodge
    Town and Country


    Old Sta Mesa street with Gardenia and Halina room rates for "short time" taxi rooms, garage rooms and overnight rates. most taxis you will see here do a maneuver called "biglang liko" :P

    Motels in Pasig

    scattered near Shaw Boulevard and along Hillcrest Drive and Christian Route, many of these hotels also offer very good pancit canton and cheap motel rates

    Dahlia Hotel
    Hill View Lodge
    King Arthur Palace
    Orchids Drive-in Hotel and Restaurant
    Rosal Hotel (Jardin de Rosal)
    Victoria Court

    Motels in Pasay City

    located along F.B. Harrison, EDSA and Roxas Boulevard near Heritage Hotel

    Aliw Inn
    Copacobana Apartment Hotel
    Diamond Inn
    Liza Lodge
    Mabuhay Manor
    Pinoy Pamilya Hotel
    Sogo Grand Hotel

    Notes:

    garage rooms are hotels where you enter and park your vehicles on the ground floor then you walk up the stairs going up to your room. Places are usually dark and privacy guaranteed, you will only meet a roomboy who will also take your orders, check your room and take your payments. How did I know these without really knowing first hand? Google :P

    taxi rooms are rooms where taxis take you and you alight and ride taxis waiting for you. the entrance and exits are usually covered to protect your privacy, in case you need it

    these hotels/motels reported are fully-booked during Valentines Day

    most of these hotels offer discount cards, accept credit card payments (visa, mastecard) and even ATM cards of BancNet.

    Please get in touch with the hotels/motels offiical website , if any, or call for telephone numbers/contact numbers for latest room rates, promos, discount and food menu prices

    lastly, hidden cameras and one way mirrors are just urban legends in motels, it's their business, one faux pas or sex scandal video leak and their business is done.

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    posted by backpacking philippines @ 9:25 PM, , links to this post