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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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    Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales: The Gateway to Anawangin and Capones Island

    "Come on and get me, get me. Baby, I'm yours. Come on and get me. You'll never be lonely, lonely. So baby, come on and get me," sings sultry siren Juris of MYMP on the beach of this "getting popular" beach in the town of San Antonio, Zambales, a few hours drive north of Manila.

    Barangay Pundaquit, the gateway to the romantic Capones Lighthouse, the secluded Anawangin Cove, Capones Island and Camara Islands and now a favorite shoot locations for television series and music videos with fine gray sand, semi-private and waves/surf breaks ideal for newbie surfers has only a handful of beach resorts.

    the fine gray sand of the beach where a team building activity is being held.
    not so crowded and tourist-infested, the beach can also be a place to learn surfing plus island-hopping invites adventurers.
    the red sun set viewed on the beach for romantic setting
    Mount Pundaquit beckons for trekkers and mountaineers. There is a waterfall on one end of the beach where you only need to follow a stream to find it plus the secluded Anawangin cove shielded by the mountain with its agoho trees (similar to pine trees)

    Pundaquit Beach Resorts:

    Megan's Paradise Beach Resort
    Pundaquit, San Antonio
    Telephone No.: +63.47.621.0507; +63.47.913.3784
    Mobile: +63.919.480.8520
    Review: Budget resort where many people can share a room. Tutubi stayed here in 2005 in his first trip to Capones Island Lighthouse.

    Nora’s Beach Resort
    Brgy. Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales
    Contact Number: +63.918.278.8188; +63.919.637.4917

    Punta De Uian
    Pundaquit San Antonio
    Telephone Number: +
    Mobile: +63.918.888.UIAN (that's 0918.888.8426)
    Review: Upscale resort with nice swimming pool.

    Wild Rose Beach Inn
    Pundaquit, San Antonio
    Contact Number: +63.910.661.5613

    Some signs spell Pundaquit as Pundakit (Filipinized spelling). No information yet on cheap homestays, restaurants, hotels and other "where to stay" places but intrepid travelers can camp out at Anawangin Cove. If you have time, you may also check out Casa San Miguel, a farm and school for gifted children.

    How to get to Pundaquit, San Antonio Zambales:

    Commute: Ride a bus to Zambales at Victory Liner (terminal on Rizal Avenue (Avenida) near LRT Monumento Station) with signboard Iba, or Sta. Cruz and drop off in San Antonio town. Hire a tricycle to take you to the beach resort of your choice.

    Driving Directions:

    From Manila, Head towards NLEX and exit at San Fernando. In San Fernando, drive all the way to Olongapo City where you pass by Subic town, Castillejos, San Marcelino then San Antonio. In San Antonio, ask around for directions to Pundakit for it's not easy to describe it here. (No information yet on the new route via SCTEx for Tutubi has yet to pass by the new tollway)

    To get to Anawangin Cove, or Capones Island, rent a boat to take you there. Negotiate pick up time with the boatmen.

    Sources and Related Links:
    Zambales Resorts
    Punta De Uian Review
    Zambales Travel Guide
    Capones Lighthouse
    Ocean Adventure

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    posted by GingGoy @ 9:45 PM, ,

    Review: Punta de Uian Resort in San Antonio, Zambales

    The first time Tutubi sat foot on the sands of Barangay Pundaquit in San Antonio, Zambales, his feet and legs tired and weary from climbing Mt. Pinatubo, his itchy feet took him to nearby Capones Island and its romantic lighthouse, and his back later rested on the bed of Megan's Paradisio Beach Resort
    punta de uian resortThe second time in Pundakit, it's not a backpacking tour but purely a relaxation/vacation mode in the form of a company outing with his rowdy officemates in a rather upscale resort on the other end of the beach-- Punta de Uian.

    Planned by his officemates, who up to now didn't know that one of the websites they referred to researching Capones Island Lighhouse is actually owned by an officemate, the summer outing was booked at Punta de Uian, a resort and hotel with amenities and facilities Tutubi never knew existed in San Antonio. He found out later that the resort was the "Villa Santibañez" of the popular local adaptation of the Mexican TV series Marimar.

    Punta de Uian Photos:

    the welcome sign giving directions to the place since getting there is not easy from town center of San Antonio starting at Casa San Miguel

    punta de uian roomThe homey feel of Tutubi's room

    punta de uian swimming poolthe swim-around pool with gazebo in the middle

    sunrise at Punta de Uian, a rare time Tutubi, a frustrated landscape photographer, was able to get up at dawn to catch the "golden" sky

    Punta de Uian Review:

    The place has a swimaround pool for those "allergic" to salt water with a depth of 6 feet at its deepest; children or those who can't swim can just stay near the poolside. Service is ok with friend staff even exchanging banters with their guests. The lobby with spiral staircase is inviting for photo-op. Rooms are cozy and homey; particularly loved the wood furnishings and the shower rooms. Even toiletries can match, if not exceed, those in plush hotels in Manila. Food is generally fine, though not something to rave about, except for the halo-halo (Filipino dessert of shaved ice, milk and various fruits and sweet stuff) which is forgettable. They have available boatmen who can take you to island-hopping to Capones Island to see the lighthouse, Camara Island or to Anawangin Cove. Overall, Tutubi gives this resort a highly-recommended mark for vacationers but not for budget travelers due to the price tag.

    For room rates, photos, and other inquiries, you may visit Punta de Uian's official website here, call telephone number +63.918.800.8426 Punta de Uian contact number) or email

    Related Post:

    Capones Lighthouse

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    posted by GingGoy @ 9:44 PM, ,

    Tutubi on Manila Bulletin's Blog-O-Rama by Annalyn Jusay

    "I'll let you in on a secret," said Tutubi, as he showed a friend a copy of Manila Bulletin's June 9, 2008 issue featuring an interview by Annalyn Jusay in her column Blog-O-Rama that features Philippine bloggers while Manila Bullettin is the nation's oldest newspaper in circulation.

    Tutubi, ever the person who shuns the limelight and prefers to be low key, accepted the interview and replied to all questions thrown at him by AJ.

    Getting recognized is one thing but Tutubi still prefers to be a faceless blogger, blogging mainly for fun though earning something on the side is a good thing to subsidize his expensive hobby.

    Another milestone for this blog, besides the 2nd year anniversary, is the total number of visitors just hit the first 100,000 mark after two years. Note that visits is different from pageloads/pageviews that is almost double that of the unique visitors count. Total unique visitors of this blog per day is steadily increasing also.

    Lastly, Tutubi would like to get feedback from RSS readers of this blog if they prefer full or summary only feeds. Tutubi still can't figure out how to configure abbreviated posts similar to the "read me" feature of this blog.

    To know more about Tutubi's rants and techie side, you may also visit his alternate blog Paetechie which also open for link exchange :P


    posted by GingGoy @ 10:07 PM, ,

    Chasing the Eye of a Storm

    Last Friday, Tutubi flew somewhere, to a place in the heart of the Philippines for another serving of a seminar that took him in the past to Dagupan, Butuan, Zamboanga City and Lipa City, but this time a storm, Frank (with international code name: Fengshen), was ravaging his destination with nearby places experiencing strong winds and flooding.

    Getting to Terminal 2 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) at 530 in the morning was a breeze, with the trip taking only 30 minutes from Quezon City. He, however, had to wait for his companions who arrived 45 minutes before boarding time, one had trouble with lighters to be given away to seminar attendees that had to be sent back to office since the items are considered dangerous and not permitted on board, and the last stumbling block was trouble with Philippine Airlines Excess Baggage fee that was lowered due to effective haggling skills (you thought you those fees are fixed?).

    Arrived in Cebu and went to SM City Cebu for the usual seminar items that needed to be bought, Tutubi just opted to stay in his hotel room, due to the rain, after finishing his official work to do instead of the the usual explore interesting places besides the usual tourist spots after a hearty late lunch at Golden Cowrie Native and a so-so dinner at Port Seafood Restaurant with all-you-can-eat buffet for only P299.

    The following day, he spent his day, again, at the hotel for the event that took him there, followed by dinner at Neo Neo and videoke at the Club Nyx KTV and Bar near his hotel.

    Third day, Sunday, was opportune as he and his companions learned of the news that Metro Manila was flooded and without power as well as surrounding provinces due to the wrath of Frank (International name Fengshen). News headlines on TV bannered the capsizing of a Sulpicio Lines' M/V Princess of the Stars, a ferry going to Cebu that sanked off Sibuyan Island in Romblon with about 700 passengers missing. Worse, all morning flights of Cebu Pacific going to Manila were canceled (as well as flights of airlines using small propeller planes like SeAir and Asian Spirit), while waiting for confirmation if Tutubi's flight via Philippine Airlines (PAL) will also suffer the same fate. Even without confirmation, early contingency plans were hatched should it require them to stay a bit longer that requires checking into a cheaper place to stay.

    satellite image of Frank at 5pm June 22 provided by PAGASA. As of this time, Tutubi's flying back to Manila

    Since it was learned that PAL's flights in the morning were merely delayed for an hour and arrived safely in Manila, they decided to check in at the airport at the appointed time and true enough, flight PR858 bound for Manila was declared delayed for just an hour, quite acceptable compared to passengers of other airlines whose flights were canceled (this might be due to PAL's use of larger A340-300 planes compared to the A319/A320 used by Cebu Pacific on the same route).

    From ETD of 315pm, flight to Manila flew to the sky at 420pm and arrived after about an hour at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport via Terminal 2. The flight was smooth and uneventful unlike stories of flight stewardesses on board earlier flights they described as scary.

    Tutubi decided to hitch a ride in his officemates car parked at Park n Fly (P10/hour 24 hours minimum), passed by the rotonda in front of the soon-to-be-opened Terminal 3, into Villamor Airbase, Fort Bonifacio, The Fort, and C5 and dropped off on Shaw Boulevard in Pasig City where he flagged a taxi going to Quezon City.

    EDSA, Metro Manila's main artery, didn't have the usual heavy traffic at 8pm but probably due to the slippery road, Tutubi saw two accidents: one was at EDSA/Ortigas Avenue where an MGE taxi ran through MMDA's pink fence and the other, a Mitsubishi Pajero, who may have hesitated which way to take on the Quezon Avenue flyover.

    Lights were out on most billboards on EDSA as well as some malls, normally still open at 8pm, including the new Waltermart Nort EDSA in Munoz where his warm and cozy bed beckons...

    Question: guess where Tutubi went to during the weekend. It's a place he's been to four times already and yet posted so little about the place :P

    Quite a long teaser post, eh?


    Typhoon Frank latest Update: As of June 23, Monday 3pm, Frank is currently moving out of the country but PAGASA said Frank would continue to bring rains to Luzon and the Visayas. Total death toll due to the storm in the sinking of the ferry is a sure slot in the Philippines' worst maritime disasters.


    posted by GingGoy @ 9:44 PM, ,

    Paete: From Wood Carving to Ice and Vegetable Sculptors

    Paete, a Laguna town proud of the title "Carving Capital of the Philippines," with artists' blood intrinsic in every Paetenian's veins even before the Spaniards came, and yet the carving industry is in a moribund state due to numerous reasons. There currently is a dwindling number of sculptors carving wood due to the scarcity of the precious item from fallen trees.

    The carving industry also gave birth to the taka (papier mache) industry, mostly led by the womenfolks, but is also in its twilight years unless the people and government find ways to arrest the problem.

    While vacationing in Paete, Tutubi chanced upon his neighbor at work, a veteran wood carver still churning out made-to-order religious items.

    wood carvings paete laguna
    paete laguna wood carvingsa station of the cross sample as model
    use of a wooden mallet instead of a hammer
    chisels galore, tools of the trade

    It's a common knowledge that the town got its name from the paet but contrary to popular belief that the paet refers to chisels, it's actually a type of chisel with straight edge (shown below). Locals call chisels pang-ukit. Other types of chisels are the lukob (U-shaped chisel), landay (slightly arched chisel), trespiko or the V-shaped chisel(from Spanish tres pico meaning three peaks), hiwas (chisel with diagonal tip that looks like a scalpel). (There are also odd-shaped and contorted chisels designed for hard-to-reach areas but Tutubi needs his memory refreshed)

    the paet: straight-edged chisel

    The country's total log ban resulted in the dearth of wood making life hard for the carvers, made worse by government indifference (and politicians full of empty promises), lack of fresh ideas of some carvers, increased competition and unethical business practices.

    Sculptors nowadays turn to other medium e.g escayola (plaster of paris), resin, and others in lieu of wood to carry out their sculpting pursuits. New generation of sculptors now work as kitchen artists in hotels and restaurants here and abroad mostly working with ice, vegetable, butter and chocolate creating astounding centerpieces.

    young artists compete at the annual ice carving competition at the town plaza on July 24, the day before Paete town fiesta

    a vegetable carver at work

    Here's a tip: if you're looking for the usual religious items, souvenirs, there are many handicraft stores and souvenir shops at the town center (mainly on Rizal, Quesada and F. Sario St.). There are also sculptures, besides paintings,on display at Kape Kesada. For custom-made wood carvings, you may get in touch with the woodcarvers themselves for discounts, usually much cheaper when bought in Manila. Rates and estimates are always in length/height of the image and the required finish.

    Pictures taken using Canon 300D EF 50mm f1.8
    Other areas with carving traditions include Betis, Guagua in Pampanga, and people of the Cordilleras.

    A marriage of sculpting and painting, called "paintures," popularized by visual artists/brothers Manuel and Angelo Baldemor (a future post).

    Related Posts:
    Ice Carving
    Kape Kesada

    Looking wood carvings stores and shops in Paete? Being a true-blooded son of Paete, he'll soon post a list of shops selling wood carvings and handicrafts, much cheaper that stores in Quiapo, Manila. If you want custom-made carvings, the going rate is usually per foot, say saints, and the final price depends on the finish i.e. varnish or paint (encarna) et al...just leave a comment!

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    posted by GingGoy @ 10:41 PM, ,

    Lido Beach Resort in Noveleta, Cavite

    UPDATE: Lido Beach Resort CLOSED in 2016

    The beach nearest to Metro Manila can be found in the province of Cavite, with it's numerous historical sites, sharing the coastline of Manila Bay. As soon as Tutubi learned his mommy's going to treat her jeepney drivers for a summer outing somewhere in Cavite, he requested to tag along even if he knew how the beaches there look like.

    Travel time to Cavite was quite fast, on a Saturday morning that is, and should've been there in an hour if not for the driver unfamiliar with it drove straight to Aguinaldo Highway when Tutubi informed the driver that there's no beach in Imus and Dasmariñas, so they made a U-turn and asked their way towards Cavite City and found the first resort on the road of Noveleta town.

    UPDATE: a newer list of Cavite Beach Resorts published March 2014.

    With his expectations set low, he saw for himself Lido Beach Resort...

    Lido Beach Resort
    Contact Numbers: (to be re-posted once validated)

    Rates here are cheap and cater to common "masa":

    Lido Beach Resort Entrance Fees:
    Adult: PhP30.00
    Children 4 years and above : PhP30
    Table for rent: PhP150
    shower/person PhP15

    Entrance Fee Vehicles:
    Light Vehicles P30
    Medium Vehicles: P60
    Heavy Trucks and Buses: P120

    Tent Rates: P100 (small) P150 (medium) P200 (large) P250 (x-large)
    There are about two rooms for people who wish to stay overnight.

    a tyrannosaurus rex inviting children for a photo-op

    the missing beachfront: tables now occupy the beach leaving no space to do the usual beach activities except for people playing "gulp."

    The beach resorts in Cavite can be classified as common people's beach. There are no white sands and facilities are usually targeted for low-budget people, except those in the upscale Caylabne and Puerto Azul (that Tutubi stayed in about ten years ago), plus the thought that it's in Manila Bay, so you know what is meant by that.

    If you're looking for better ones quite close to Manila, head off to Batangas and Bataan... :P

    The biggest disappointment can be seen on the sign at the entrance of the resort

    Signspotting: this man may have fallen asleep due to frustration about the prohibition on love making :P (picture taken inside a moving jeep that's why it's slightly blurred)

    please call Lido Beach Resort telephone number or visit their official website for entrance fee, overnight accommodations, room rates and other information and inquiries


    How to get there:

    Commute to Cavite: Ride a bus to Cavite at Coastal Mall with signboard Cavite City (e.g. St. Anthony of Padua) or Naic or Ternate.

    An alternative way is to ride the ferry to Cavite City, operated my MetroStar, with port in the sprawling Mall of Asia complex in Pasay City. In Cavite City ride a jeepney to take you to Noveleta. (Trivia: did you know, the historic island fortress of Corregidor is politically part of Cavite and not of Bataan?)

    Other info, in commuting to Cavite, particularly Bacoor, Imus, Dasmariñas, buses are also available with signboard Dasmariñas at Harrison Plaza on Vito Cruz (Pablo Ocampo) on their way to Cavite via Coastal Road and Aguinaldo Highway. This route is serviced by Starliner, Jethro Liner and Erjohn and Almark. (you want to know where did Tutubi got these bus companies' names? He waited for those buses to pass by Harrison Plaza in Manila)

    Dasmariñas to Mendez via Imus: Starliner, San Agustin, Saulog, Aljohn and Almark and mini-buses from Baclaran.

    For those going to Maragondon, there are also buses by St. Anthony of Padua and Ariel Express, Saulog, and Jethro. No idea yet on current fares.

    For those going to General Trias, ride buses first to Bacoor and transfer to jeeps going to Gen. Trias.

    Driving Directions to Cavite:

    From Makati, head towards Coastal Road and proceed to Aguinaldo Highway. Turn right At the so-called rotonda (landmark: SM Bacoor) on your way to Kawit. You will pass by Island Cove, Aguinaldo Mansion (to your left), then Josephine Restaurant. Continue driving until you reach Noveleta town proper where you turn right towards Cavite City. Lido Beach Resort is the first resort you'll see on the highway going to Cavite City.

    An alternate way is to turn right at Talaba, instead of Rotonda, which is faster going to Bacoor church and straight to Binakayan and Kawit. Problem is that there's no easily recognizable landmark but a vacant lot compared to Rotonda where SM Bacoor stands.

    Other Beach Resorts in Cavite:

    Ternate Beach Resorts:

    Caylabne Bay Resort, Puerto Azul Beach Hotel, Marbella Marina Beach Resort, Marine Base Katungkulan Beach Resort, Boracay de Cavite

    Noveleta Beach Resorts:
    Villamor Beach Resort, Lido Beach Resort

    Kawit Beach Resort
    Josephine Resort

    Naic Beach Resorts:

    Rikkitoy Tent and Beach City, Vista del Mar, Aroma Beach Resort, Happy Holiday Beach Resorts, Punta Grande Beach Resort, and Lourdes Hydee

    Tanza Beach Resorts:

    P&E de Castro Beach Resort, Rio Delta Beach Resort, Celebrity Beach Resort, Las Palmas Beach Resort, Villa Excellence Beach Resort, Anva Maria Beach Resort, Florante Beach Resort, Sto. Niño Beach Resort, Costa del Rio Beach Resort

    UPDATED: March 2014

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    posted by GingGoy @ 7:51 PM, ,

    Boracay: Diniwid Beach Resorts are Postcard-Perfect!

    Hidden from Boracay's main White Beach by a cliff, Diniwid Beach is a secluded beach strip that offers more privacy to visitors unlike the crowded White Beach. It's a favorite destination of Europeans if they're not into the windy feel of Bulabog Beach and looking for a homey vacation place.

    The most prominent landmark of the beach is the exclusive Nami Private Villas with majestic view of the place and the sea that you also see in postcards.

    nami private villas diniwid beachpicture of Diniwid Beach with Nami Private Villas in the background

    boracay bikini babesit's on this beach where Caucasian tourists stay. at times, you won't feel you're in the Philippines with sexy bikini babes frolicking or just walking on the beach

    boracay diniwid beach

    Less commercialized and not crowded, the beach has its share of commercialism, though a simple ambulant vendor of ice cream walking on te fine beach sands of Diniwid Beach

    boracay paraw sailing

    This is the recommended beach on Boracay Island that's away from the crowd, yet so near the commercialized place.


    List of Resorts on Diniwid Beach, Boracay Island:

    Nami Private Villas
    Microtel Inn & Suites
    Mika's Place
    Diniwid Beach Resort

    How to get there:

    Diniwid Beach can be reached by walking beyond the bend from Boracay's famous White Beach Station 1. From the jetty port, you may hire a tricycle to take you to the place.

    Related Posts:
    Mt. Luho
    Talipapa Market
    Boracay White Beach
    Boracay Lake Town
    Backpacking Boracay

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    posted by GingGoy @ 10:27 PM, ,

    Batangas: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Lipa City

    A popular pilgrimage destination south of Metro Manila, Mt. Carmel Church in Lipa, near the Lipa Cathedral attracts pilgrims and curious tourists passing by the city to marvel at rose petals on display that supposedly has images of Mary and Jesus imprinted that date back to 1948

    Just before going back back to chaotic Manila from Mt. Malarayat, Tutubi and his officemates decided to drop by Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church.

    Chaos of vehicles trying to get out of the church compound after the 12nn Sunday mass schedule.

    Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church lipa

    Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church Lipa

    devotees offer prayers to Mary Mediatrix of All Grace

    Catholic devotees attribute the images on the rose petals to Mary, who took on the name Our Lady Mediatrix of All Grace, though the Catholic has yet to fully investigate the event of the miraculous rose petals and release an official statement.

    How to get to Lipa, Batangas:

    Commute from Manila: Board any bus bound for Batangas City via Tanauan (Not via Calabarzon) in Pasay City (Taft Avenue near corner Gil Puyat Ave (LRT Buendia station) then drop off at the Lipa Cathedral. Mt. Carmel Church is walking distance away.

    Driving directions to Lipa, Batangas: from Makati, head towards SLEX then enter Star Toll and exit at Bulihan (access to Malvar town) turn left after the toll gate, and drive till you see a fork on the road with the Welcome to Lipa City sign. Choose left, continue driving until you see Lipa Cathedral (with the distinguishable dome) . Drive past the cathedral and turn left when you see Mister Donut. Mt. Carmel chruch is just there.

    Other Interesting Places in Lipa:

    Mt. Malarayat Golf and Country Club, Museo de Lipa (Lipa Museum) near Plaza de Independencia, Casa de Segunda (an 1880 ancestral house of Segunda Katigbak, a local girl romantically liked to Jose Rizal), Fernando Air Base

    Related Posts:
    Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage
    Our Lady of Manaoag
    Our Lady of the Pillar
    Kamay ni Hesus
    Visita Iglesia Manila
    Visita Iglesia Rizal and Laguna

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    posted by GingGoy @ 11:27 PM, ,