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Bohol Island—Awesome Sun, Sea, and Sand

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bohol is a tropical island paradise in the Southern part of Philippines.  From Manila, you can reach Bohol in just an hour by plane. It wasn’t a well-planned vacation on my part, but since I never got to swim with the whale sharks in Bicol (thanks to the typhoon!), I was itching to go diving somewhere and I thought of Bohol.

Dive Thru Resort, Panglao Island, Bohol
After a few hours of searching for resorts in Agoda.com, we stumbled into this charming resort called Dive Thru. It is located in Panglao Island, Bohol. For $80/night with free breakfast, I thought it was a steal so we booked it for four nights. It is a refuge for beach bums like me—a private paradise with rustic appeal and a front yard with azure waters teeming with marine life. 

You will never run out of things to do in Bohol; from snorkelling to island hopping, to scuba diving, to visiting chocolate hills, seeing the endangered Tarsiers etc.—you will wish you have stayed longer.  First thing I opted to do is island hopping! 

Boatman (he looks like a 14-yr old kid...and I have a feeling he is!)
For 3,000 pesos (US $73), you can hire a boat for yourself all day to take you to nearby islets for snorkeling/diving.  Actually 3,000 pesos is a bit too much since I have asked the Hotel to arrange a boat for me. I have found out that tourists can haggle and usually you can pay as low as 1,800 pesos (US $43) for a boat. Prepare 500 pesos (US $12) for entrance fee to Balicasag island's Marine Sanctuary where a guide will accompany you when you go free diving/snorkeling. 

Balicasag Island Marine Sanctuary, Bohol,  Philippines
Balicasag Island is really awesome! It's as if the Gods are still in charge here--otherworldly fantasy where it's just you and nature and the wind is your air-conditioning. It is one of the most pristine dive sites in the world and is waiting to be explored. 
Is this Nemo? :)

The underwater camera we purchased didn't work so I was forced to buy a plastic case for my Nokia N8 and I used it to take underwater pics. Too bad I couldn't take it with me deeper. 

yellow coral
Balicasag Marine Sanctuary has one of the most diverse marine ecosystems in the world! I took a quick video using my phone so you will have an idea what I am talking about (but too bad coz the video didn't do it any justice).


Next stop is Virgin Island...it is about 15 mins away from Balicasag Island. 

Virgin Island, Bohol Philippines

Its pristine white sands, clear blue waters, and a relaxing island vibe sounds more like a cliche for beach bums who have had their fair share of awesome beaches, but this tiny island (more like a sandbar), took my breath away. 

Tourists in Virgin Island
Even the scorching heat of the sun didn't prevent me from staying here longer than I am supposed to. The price I paid for staying longer is a massive sunburn all over me, but I think it is worth it. :)

I don't think these people minded getting burnt too! :)
Oh Panglao, I shall return!!! 

Barcelona Host Families—Home Away from Home

Sunday, November 11, 2012

We are all too familiar with one man in Barcelona that is celebrated worldwide for his incredible work of art—Antoni Gaudi. But Barcelona has more than Gaudi’s work to offer. Discover its medieval wonderland and explore Picasso Museum where you will see the five adjoining medieval palaces in Barcelona’s La Ribera. Stroll through Passeig de GrĂ cia and see two of Gaudi's houses. 

Unleash your inner goth and head over to Gothic Drassanes. It is considered one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in the world. 
Gothic Drassanes
Barcelona has lots to offer but your trip will not be complete without eating Tapas and seeing Sagrada Familia!
Tapas in Barcelona

Sagrada Familia by Gaudi
Barcelona’s timeless charm will never fail to amaze you. Pinays and other travel junkies out there who are on a tight budget will definitely love Homestay family accommodation in Barcelona. Enjoy everything Barcelona has to offer with the help of Barcelona Host Families. Indulge in the comforts of their affordable accommodation and get to know Barcelona through your host. In such a charming and magical city, it is worth staying at a place where you will feel welcomed and is up to the task of completing this unique travel experience.
What is a host family? It is simply a family that accommodates travelers in their host country. It is becoming a norm now among travelers on a tight budget or for the adventurous one who wants to experience living in Barcelona like a true local. At Barcelona Host Families, you will truly feel like you are home away from home. :)


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Certified foodie. Crazy cat lady in training.