5 Reasons I don’t Mind Moving to Iloilo City

June is a special month for Josh and I.

It’s the month when we tied the knot.

Yes, I’m a June bride. 😀

Anyway, this month, we celebrated our 5th year anniversary.

Yes, we’re five years strong, and getting stronger, and might I add, crazier. hahaha!

And what better way to celebrate than to experience something new.

So two weeks ago, I flew to Iloilo City where hubs is currently assigned. Although, he’s there for work, being there is something new for both of us (so that counts).

Anyway, I had a great time during my four-day holiday. We didn’t do anything ultra special. We just did some touring around the city while shopping on the side (yes, unbelievably, I find the prices cheaper there than here).

My overall impression?

If ever we’re migrating to some place and it wouldn’t be Davao City, then it’ll probably Iloilo City. Yup, that’s how I like the city. Although, the four-day trip isn’t enough to get to know a place that well, there are several factors that I like about the city.


1. They have great food. 


At affordable prices. We went to have lunch at a small bakery, called JD Bakeshop, that also serve delicious meals. We thought it would cost us more than Php300.00, but we paid less than that. Plus, I love their pastries. We tried their Brazo de Mercedes and it was the best I’ve tasted.

Then come the famous batchoy. Best one I’ve tasted so far.
And did I mention affordable already?
Josh took me out to dine at the top of Injap Tower, and besides the view and the date, the food is delish!

2. They have a rich history.

 
If Archaeology was available here in Cebu City, I would’ve taken it in college and become an archaeologist. And I would’ve been traveling, digging and unearthing historical treasures instead of blogging.

Yes, that’s how fascinated I am with history.

So when I got here, my heart swooned with how the city is peppered with old architectural structures, like the Molo Church and the Jaro bell tower.

They’re just so beautiful to look at. I bet they would really look lovelier if the sun was out at the time I took these pictures.


Lost in my own wanderings while Josh was at work, I couldn’t help but wonder what it must’ve felt like living in the era when these structures were built.
My guess is it wouldn’t probably be as romantic as I would like to think, what with no plumbing and being under Spain’s colonial reign, but I bet these structures looked magnificent without the decay. Also, the parks would probably look lush with greenery, and the air clean and fresh.
3. They have a cool esplanade.
 
It would be nice if we something like this here in Cebu. With a safe walkway like this, I guess people would opt to walk or ride their bike more often than taking the jeep.
Speaking of which, the fourth reason I like Iloilo is …
4. They have wide highway with bricked pedestrian and bike lanes. 
If we have bike lanes here, I’ll probably lose the belly fat in three months’ time or earlier than that. Haha!
5. They’re urbanized with a relaxed ambiance.
 
Although it’s a bustling city, it’s not quite there yet. People here are less anal-retentive than most folks in large urban jungles.
So there.

Getting to and from Iloilo City from Cebu is easy as it’s pretty accessible. The easiest, of course, is by plane. The next would be by boat. It has a 12-hour travel time through either Cokaliong Shipping lines or TransAsia. The hardest would be by bus as you’d have to travel via Bacolod. From there, you’d have to hop on a ferry to Iloilo City.

Regardless of the mode of transport you choose, though, going to Iloilo City is well worth the time, effort and money.

Go see it for yourself. 😀

 
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Travel Woes and How to Avoid Them

Ever since hubs and I have been together, we’ve been doing a lot of traveling. Albeit not the kind of travel you expect, like going out of the country and sorts, though we’re getting there. I guess with us coming from different places allow us to travel to visit friends and family in different parts of the country.

But last year was different. Because Josh’s job took him to the northern part of Mindanao in the last quarter, we made the decision to spend it together with just us two. We were very happy that we did that because in the previous Christmases, we spent it with his and my family. So it was our first to celebrate the Yuletide season in an unfamiliar place.

And boy we had one of the best times of our lives.

Of course, our little adventure didn’t come without any setbacks. Like for example, my scheduled trip to CDO City was delayed for nine frigging hours, which led us to the decision of spending Christmas Eve in Cagayan de Oro City.

And on my way back home to Cebu in January, the ship that I was supposed to get on didn’t arrive. So another scheduled trip canceled. Without a single notice form the ferry company. Imagine the exasperation I felt. We were already in Nasipit where the ship was supposed to dock when I read an announcement my trip was canceled. What’s worse? They couldn’t provide definite schedule for the next trip. We had to travel to the next city, Butuan, to get a refund and to find another option to get home.

I remember the weather that day was really bad. We were drenched by the time we found a hotel. Imagine the exasperation and exhaustion we felt. Plus, we were low in cash at that time. It’s a good thing we still had some left enough to buy me a flight ticket home.

Well, as I think about what happened to us, it was one heck of an experience we don’t want to happen ever again. And I’m sure you don’t want to, too. So, I thought I’d share to you some travel tips that I hope can save from experiencing the same woes we had, especially during peak travel seasons, like the coming Holy week and Christmas.

Tip 1: Don’t go with the flow. 

If you can help it, don’t travel during peak days to avoid the crowd. I remember Josh telling me to sail to CDO on a Saturday to avoid the crowd. But I insisted on leaving on the 23rd because I had some stuff to take care of in the office. Well, I wished I listened to him. I could’ve saved myself from such a huge inconvenience.

If you’re going to travel during the peak season try to travel days before the holiday. Of course, if you have work, consider talking to your boss about work arrangements. Or, make use of your vacation leaves.

Tip 2: Opt for the most reliable.

On my trip to Gingoog City, I decided to go for Cokaliong Shipping Lines because they have a ship that sails from Cebu to Nasipit, which is just a 45-minute drive to Gingoog. A more convenient option than sailing to CDO City, or so I thought.

I called their office to reserve a ticket a month before my scheduled departure but was informed to try again in the first week of December. Well, I waited. When I tried again in December, they said to call back again at least two weeks before my travel date. I did. Well, nothing happened. A week before my scheduled departure, they told me they couldn’t issue any ticket because there was something wrong with their system. That was when I got really P.O’ed.

To make the story short, I had to book a ticket from another shipping lines at the last minute. Had I known it was going to happen, I should’ve bought me a flight to Butuan earlier,  saving me from all the inconvenience.

Tip 3: Be open to other transportation options. 

Thinking we could save money on opting for a boat ride to Gingoog City, I think we ended up spending more, what with the delay and unexpected expense.

To make things short, be open to other transport options. If we have a car, I’d probably just go on a road trip. Of course, renting is out of the question as I don’t have a driver’s license.

That said, it doesn’t hurt to check online for options. Like for example, RelayRides. I found this site on one of my musings on the net and it’s really interesting how they create a community allowing car owners to earn money from their cars by renting them out. What’s more? They also offer airport rentals. Man, if only we have that kind of service here. That would probably solve our transport issues. Anyway, the point is. Consider your options before making a choice.

Tip 4: Always have a backup plan. 

As the say, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Although, Josh and I have been planning my trip for a month, we didn’t plan enough. I also failed to anticipate the worse when traveling on a peak holiday. So yeah. Apart from having a Plan B, make sure you have Plan C and D as well.

Well, despite what happened, we still had a lot of fun spending quality time together in an unfamiliar territory. Would we travel during peak holiday season? Sure, we would. But we know better. And hopefully, this year, we’ll be able to do better in our holiday planning.

What travel woes have you experienced, and how did you overcome them? I’d like to hear them so we can all learn from our experiences.

Tiklas Falls and How to Get There (Gingoog City Trip Part 5… when will this end?)

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 Who would’ve thought this beautiful waterfall is just a 15-minute drive from Gingoog City.

Yup.

It’s that near. And we’re fortunate enough to borrow a motorcyle from Josh’s colleague and to see the sights of Tiklas Falls.

We were lucky enough to be the first to arrive so we had the place all to ourselves. We didn’t go for a swim, though. Just took some pictures and enjoyed the view. It’s not all the time that we can hike to a falls. I mean the last time we went to one was back then when hubs and I were still dating. I think it was some time in 2009. So that was a long, long time ago.

Anyway, it’s pretty easy to find this magnificent falls. If you’re anywhere but in Cagayan de Oro or Butuan City, you can catch a plane going to the said destinations. From there, take a bus or V-Hire (van for hire) to Gingoog City. Once in the city, you can take a jeepney or tricycle ride towards east from the city center and look for a huge signage that leads to Tiklas Falls. It’s about a 5-minute ride so no worries. Then turn left from the signage and just follow the brown dusty road to Tiklas Falls. You can tell if you’re already near because you can hear the sound of a river rushing down the road. And the air gets cool too.

The entrance to the falls is just Php 20.00 per person with free cottage use. I’m not sure how much the cost for the use of the pool, though, because, as I said, we didn’t take a dip. Oh, there are cottages available so it’s okay to bring your own food and stuff.

From CDO or Butuan City, the trip is will take you around four to five hours so be sure to get enough rest and pack up on snacks. But if you have a private vehicle to use, the travel time is probably shorter than that.

And that’s it. Hope you enjoy Tiklas Falls as much as we did.

Christmas at Rizal Park (Gingoog City Part 4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I love about the Yuletide season are the bright Christmas lights illuminating the dark. Somehow, they make dark less scary. Plus, seeing all the bright lights perks me up, gives me hope and just makes me feel happy.

 

That’s why I couldn’t help myself when hubs and I strolled around Rizal Park in Gingoog City just to take pictures of almost every decor we can find. By the way, the city run a contest so that explains the numbers on top of a nativity. I don’t know who won, but who cares? They’re all lovely to see.

 

Tatak Plaza (Gingoog City Part 3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you’re in a sleepy little city on a gloomy Sunday afternoon with a motorcycle at your disposable, you go mini city tour. And tour we did.

We slept in pretty late that Sunday because it was cold and it was our first weekend together for a long while so we made sure to cuddle and spoon for a little while.

But after several hours of cuddling, our tummies couldn’t handle the pressure anymore. We just had to go out and grab some lunch.

Afterwards, we went to Tatak Plaza where you can see giant statues. I heard it’s a popular destination for local teens to hang out at night, but we just had to head over there during the day because, well, who would want a photo bomber in your photos, right?

Tatak Plaza can be found just across Rizal Park, which I will be posting pictures mighty soon. For now, this will have to do. It’s a neat place because besides the statues, there also stores at the sides. We even did a little shopping. So pardon my bulky bag.

We had to cut our mini tour short because it started to drizzle that time and we just didn’t want to get wet. Little did we know that the rainy weather was due to a tropic storm headed to our direction. Thank goodness there were no casualties or major damages.

Up next, Rizal Park and many more. 🙂

Night and Day (GC Trip Part 2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All-time favorite kwek-kwek.

On my first night in the city, Josh took me to the first of two places where people go to unwind. Yes, they don’t have a mall or even a small department store. But thank goodness they have a park and pier they call boulevard.

At night, the place is packed with mostly teenagers dating or looking for someone. I don’t know what the place looks like on days other then the Christmas holiday, but at that the time, the place is lighted with colorful Christmas lights coming from the recycled nativity sets and decorations.

By day, it’s a deserted place with only a few food stalls open and some folks fishing at the dock. Well, you can’t blame them as the place is doesn’t offer enough shade from the sun. We were lucky to find a stall that sold food for lunch.

Well, that’s pretty much it for their boulevard. The most fun thing we did was people watching. Hehehe.

Christmas with Just the 2 of Us (Gingoog City Trip Part 1)

Happy New Year everyone!

I know this is a bit late but what the heck. It’s better late than never, right? Besides, the biggest reason you haven’t heard from since my last post is I was out of town for the Christmas holiday.

Yep.

Hubs, as some of you may know, has been out in Mindanao since September. After his CDO assignment, he was sent over to another city in another province for more than a month, which made going home for the Yuletide holidays out of the question.
So we decided to that I sail to where he’s assigned to spend Christmas and New Year with him. Just as two.

And it’s the first time for us to spend the holidays with just as. Normally it’s with family, his or mine.
So yeah, we’re both pretty excited about it. I spend countless days preparing for the trip, booking tickets and all.

Our Christmas eve dinner. Chinese yum!

Our first stop was Cagayan de Oro City. My trip was delayed for nine hours due to God knows what the reasons that we had to spend the night in the city on Christmas eve instead of heading straight to Gingoog City.

We stayed at Tunes Hotel for the night and had dinner at a nearby mall. The hotel was nice. I wasn’t able to take pictures of the place because who does that when you’re tired as a dead meat?
Anyway, we had dinner at a nearby mall. We planned on doing some last-minute gift shopping for each other but lo and behold. The mall closes at 7pm. And not just this specific mall but all of the malls in the city.

Sad.

After dinner, we just went back to our hotel room, watched TV, exchanged little presents,*** and went to sleep.

 

On Christmas morning, we decided to catch the early bus ride to Gingoog City. It’s a 3-and-a-half hour drive from CDO but we were fortunate enough to get on a bus with a fast driver. Otherwise, it would’ve been a long, boring one.

When we reached Gingoog, we were welcomed with a cold, gloomy weather with a slight drizzle. And when we reached the city proper, my first impression is it’s too sleepy. Hahaha!

But it was nice to get out of the loud hustle and bustle of city. All in all, it was a nice experience.
I’ll be posting pictures of my trip there so stay tuned.

In the meantime, here’s the bouquet of flowers hubs gave me. For the first time ever.

Can you believe it? I didn’t at first but with it in front of me I had to. hehehe…

I remember back when we were dating that he told me he’s not the type of guy to give flowers because they rot. And his love for me shouldn’t be like that. Cheeky, I know, but I kind of accepted that giving flowers won’t be a part of his romantic gestures.

So when a flower vendor (I didn’t know that she was at that time) came by his office where I was hanging out, I thought he ordered food or something.

 

But I was really surprised when this was handed to me.

Wow!

I guess guys do change. Just not in our timeline.

I’m a happy a camper!

See you on my next post. 🙂

 

Trip to Cagayan de Oro City (Part 2)

A few weeks, I had the opportunity to visit and spend my birthday with the hubs. Ever since we started dating, we make sure to spend birthdays together. But because Josh’s work assignment took him away on my  birthday, I sailed to CDO City to see him even though it was just for the weekend.
But it was a well-spent weekend.
Josh prepared a simple lunch for his office mates. No spaghetti was served, as is birthday custom here, but the pancit was really tasty.
I asked my dear friend, Reasol, to join us for lunch but she was working that time. So we paid her a surprise visit.
And she was kind enough to treat us with Razon’s special palabok.
Yum!

Oh yeah, we had to have cake together because it’s been a long time since I celebrated my birthday with friends.

Ha! I find it funny to take a picture with the cake. 😛
After a many chikkas with her, Josh and I went back to his office. And because it was a beautiful sunny afternoon, we just walked back.

I used to think that CDO City is big city just like Davao, but I was amazed at how we can get to one place from another just by walking. We just crossed the bridge and we’re no longer in the city center.

Carmen Bridge (I presume)

 

A river with no name. Just because I don’t know. 😀
We went to church the next day. And I had to make sure that we attend sacrament service at the chapel where the CDO mission office is held. And of course, I had to take a picture of this hoping my brother, who once served here, will remember the good things he did while here.
And to own bragging rights to the sibling who traveled the most to the other sibling’s mission area. Hahaha!

 

 

It was a short visit but it was worth every centavo spent for the trip. I miss hubs every minute that he’s not here but at least December is something to look forward to.
And it’s going to be in a different city. The travel bug in me is definitely on fire.
“Hello, Cebu!” I said with a heavy heart after a weekend with hubs. 🙂 sigh.

 

Trip to Cagayan de Oro and Back (Part 1)

When your hubby is away for a month or so on a work assignment, what do you do?

a. Do you mope around waiting for him to come home?
b. Do you plan activities with your BFFs almost every night?
c. Do you use your credit card to buy out-of-budget travel tickets just to see him?

If you ask me, I just chose letter C. Simply because I miss hubs. Now, his being away wasn’t the first one. He was gone to General Santos City in August but didn’t have the chance. This time, however, was different. With a long weekend last month, I just couldn’t pass up the chance to fly and see him and check out Cagayan de Oro City at the same.

 

Although I wasn’t feeling very well during the trip, it was worth it. Plus, I felt a lot better after the trip. It was really good to see him and my BFF who moved there way back. Sadly, as most trips must come to an end, I had to fly back home after  a three-day stay.

My very good friend, Reasol. My partner in crime since I was 8 or 9 years old. Yeeez, we go waaay back.

wefie at a chapel just to prove to my bishop I’m not totally inactive. Ha!

wefie before going off to see a Denzel Washington movie.

Not the kwek-kwek I was expecting. Epic fail. Craving unsatisfied.

In case you’re curious, hubs and I just spent our days eating and sight seeing. I must admit, though, that there wasn’t much to see in the city. You’ll have to travel to the city’s outskirts if you’re looking for adventure. My adventure is where the hubs was so no exciting photos of beaches and mountains and stuff. Sorry.

 

In case you’re interested, traveling to Cagayan de Oro City is fairly easy. Just book a flight to Languidingan Airport from Mactan International Airport. Once there, take a v-hire or bus to Cagayan de Oro. Travel time is an hour and a half, depending on traffic and the destination you’re going to. V-hire costs P200.00. Once in the city, public transportation consists of jeepneys, taxis, and relas (their own version of tricycle). But if you want to explore the city, go on foot. That’s what we did. It’s a small city so places are not really that far to go.

 

The last time I went to Mindanao was when I went to Davao to serve a full-time mission. I was able to set foot in the region after seven long years and it feels great even though CDO City is not my mission area. For some reason, Mindanao and its people will always have a special place in my heart.

 

And that’s about it. I have to go because, as of this writing, my brother just invited me to have dinner at my other brother’s home. I shouldn’t miss family bonding time, should I? 🙂

 

Weekend Getaway at Estaca Bay Gardens Beach Resort

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a month of being away, hubs is finally back. And as what he promised me, he whisked me away on a weekend vacation. Since our trip to Boracay last year, we haven’t gone on a summer vacation. So I’ve been dying to go to the beach since last March. Well, after months of postponing, we’ve finally pushed through with it.

Our initial plan was to head to Moalboal, a popular beach destination in the South of Cebu, but the weather wasn’t on our side, thanks to (or no thanks to) an LPA. So instead, we spent Friday night at a hotel near SM City, Express Inn. We chose a budget hotel over the fancy ones because it’s right where most jeepneys going to Mactan or the North of Cebu pass by.

The next day, hoping to get the most our trip and our money, we opted to head north, Compostela. Because we’ve been to most beach resorts in Mactan Island and we we’re looking for something different, we opted to stay at the Estaca Bay Garden Beach Resort. It’s formerly known as Stakili beach resort back in the late ’80s or ’90s.

So far, our experience was pleasant. We loved that they had 2 pools and a beach. The staff was friendly as well. The food is okay. I wouldn’t really call it gourmet, but it’s okay to our taste. We had our dinner at their mini grill bar, which was situated by the beach, with music. Apart from the food, we enjoyed people watching. hehe…

Because the resort is kinda old by modern resort standards, we were surprised to find the resort booked the whole weekend. There were even foreigners staying at the resort. Nevertheless, we had a great time swimming, watching movies and eating–but mostly eating junk food.

So anyway, that has been our weekend getaway. We had a great time. Hopefully, we’ll do it again the next time he travels. heheh