Life-Trotting with Maribeth

Hola! I'm Maribeth. I work online. I love: food, photography, and travel (among other things). Can't tell you enough about me so read my blog. :)

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Sagada, Mt. Province Philippines

Follow us on our tour and adventures at the beautiful place of Sagada, Mt. Province.

Cagayan De Oro White Water Rafting

Conquering 21 major rapids at Cagayan De Oro River. A very rewarding experience for a beginner like me!

The Majestic Mayon Volcano

The Mayon Volcano is well-known for its perfect cone shape. Even the thick clouds that cover some part of the volcano won't stop you from getting impressed with its majestic beauty.

Summerscape at CamSur: Wakeboarding

Summer's definitely not over yet. Wakeboarding at CamSur can make your arms and neck really sore but it's all worth the fun and experience! :)

Isla Gigantes Adventure

An unspoiled group of islands in the town of Carles, Iloilo. White sand, pristine water, and beautiful scenery - truly a paradise.

Snorkeling. More fun in the Philippines

With those giant whale sharks swimming in Tan-awan, Oslob sea, snorkeling is indeed more fun in the Philippines!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Exploring Siargao

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I don't have an actual bucket list but if ever I have one, Siargao would be in it... and I would have ticked it off by now!

Siargao is said to be the surfing capital of the Philippines. I am no surfer so I cannot really tell if its the best surfing spot in the country. For a non-surfer like me, it's a great place to start learning how to ride with the waves. So it should be on anyone's itinerary when visiting Siargao. Even if you're not planning to be a pro, trying it once is worth the adventure. 

Since I'm not a surfer, I did a research on other activities to do while in Siargao. I found out that you can go island hopping, stand-up paddle boarding, caving, visit Magpupungko Rock Pool, or go to Bucas Grande. 

Our 4 Days and 3 Nights Itinerary in Siargao

Day 1: Cebu-Siargao flight (departure around 11:00 am)
Resort check-in, lunch, rest then 1-hour surfing lesson at around 3:00 pm

Day 2: Strolled along the board walk at Cloud 9 in the morning and went Island Hopping at 11:00 am

Day 3: Travel from Siargao to Bucas Grande (left around 6:30am)
Resort check-in, lunch, then went to Sohoton Cove Tour

Day 4: Travel from Bucas Grande to Hayanggabon port, Surigao before 7:00 am
Hayanggabon port to Surigao City via van
Surigao City - Cebu flight


Flying to Siargao in a sunny morning will give you a fantastic view of small islets which I guess are part of Bucas Grande. From the airport, we took a van going to General Luna with travel time of approximately 45 minutes. Siargao gave me an impression of a true island life. Not so crowded, no tall or big commercial establishments or resorts, abundant of palm/coconut trees and other tropical plants and trees.

Surfing Sesh

It was our first time to try surfing so we were taught with the basics only: how to stand up and balance on the board. Doing it with an instructor was easier because they find the perfect wave for us and push/pull us on the board while in the So lesser paddling effort for us. All we had to concentrate on was practice standing up and balancing while on the board and enjoy riding with the waves.

I'm proud to say that I learned how to do it fast... I guess. I didn't know what to do after the ride so I just jump off. I found out later on through the internet that you can actually just go back lying on the board. It was fun though, and very addicting! We wanted to do it again the next day but our bodies were sore!

Island Hopping

There are three islands to visit in this activity: Naked Island, Daku Island, and Guyam Island. The weather was gloomy when we went island hopping but the 3 islands didn't fail to amaze us.

Naked Island. Literally, it is naked. No trees, just a small island full of sand. Its like a sandbar without the main island. It was raining when we got there so we weren't able to enjoy swimming and exploring it. Kinda scary to be in a naked island with the clouds so dark and the rain pouring in. hahah So we just ate our lunch at the boat before going to the next island.

Daku Island. Its the biggest among three that's why its called Daku, which means "big" in Siargaonon dialect. Its where we had fun swimming on the long shoreline because the rain has stopped. There were also small cottages for rent.

Guyam Island. I really find this tiny island so cute! Small and circular but full of tall coconut trees. Looks so tropical and very picturesque!

Bucas Grande

The limestone islets at Bucas Grande are an amazing view while on the boat. It gives you that feeling of serenity and awe while looking at the scenic beauty of nature. The water is also very clear that you can see the corals, fish, and starfish in some areas.  Bucas Grande is not very popular yet compared to the famous tourist spots in the country. That is why we were able to enjoy the serenity of the place and its unspoilt natural beauty. 

There are different tourist spots within the islands of Bucas Grande. There's Sohoton Cove, Stingless Jellyfish Sanctuary, caves, falls, and lagoon. I think it needs a separate blog post so watch out for it (and pray that I'll be able to post about it lol).

For more photos of our Siargao trip, follow @lifetrotting on Instagram and check the hashtag #ExploringSiargao. :)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

TBT: El Nido Island Hopping Tours

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El Nido has always been on my bucket list. When Cebu Pacific started to offer a direct flight from Iloilo to Puerto Princesa last 2012, I grabbed the chance. Fortunately, I was able to fit the El Nido tours in our 6-day itinerary in Palawan. I have always thought it was very expensive to go there because it looked so luxurious. I didn't know there are affordable guest houses in El Nido, big thanks to the Internet!

From Puerto Princesa City, we took a bus going to El Nido. The trip was approximately 5 hours including one stop-over for lunch. We arrived at El Nido at around 4PM so we just strolled around after we found a guest house and settled our bags.

Our favorite hangout place near the beach was the Pukka Resto Bar. The bar has live band performing reggae songs that's perfect for a relaxing beach vibe.

El Nido Island Hopping Tours

There are four types of island hopping tours in El Nido and all have standard prices per person. However, I found out through my research online that you may also rent a boat for around 2000-3000 or higher for any of the tours offered. I forgot the exact prices on our 2-day tour but prices are negotiable with the boatmen. Renting a boat is cheaper if you are a group of 5 or more.

El Nido Island Hopping Tour A

Small Lagoon

Big Lagoon

Secret Lagoon at Entalula Island

The Tiny Entrance to Secret Lagoon

Simizu Island

7 Commandos Beach

El Nido Island Hopping Tour C

Helicopter Island

Hidden Beach

Talisayen Beach (Near Matinloc Shrine)

Matinloc Shrine

Secret Beach

Friday, March 21, 2014

Sagada Tales: Experiencing The Other Side of Philippine Beauty

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The Philippines is a tropical country popular for its beautiful and pristine beaches. This is one of the main reasons why tourists from all over the world travel to our country. I have been to a few of these popular beach destinations like Boracay and Palawan and they are indeed beautiful that you'll feel like being in paradise!

Our beach trips were undeniably fun and unforgettable; however, they were not life-changing for me. But the trip to Sagada was!  My boyfriend and I flew to Manila from Iloilo last November 2012, took a 9-hour bus ride from Manila to Bontoc, and rode a van for 3 hours from Bontoc to Sagada, Mt. Province. Unlike going to Palawan or Boracay, it was not a very convenient trip at all. If you are unlucky, a single road block could let your hours of travel go to waste because if any part of the road is unpassable, you will not be able to reach Sagada. Your choices would be to go back to Manila or head to Baguio.

Sagada, Mt. Province

Sagada did not look like a touristy place. I was a bit disappointed when we got off the van because the driver had us walk to our hotel. It did not feel like a tourist spot because no one bothered approaching us and offer anything like a tour or accommodation. Not even to the foreigners in front of us. I think that's what I like more in Sagada compared to other local destinations. It simply looked like a local community - no big commercial establishments and locals were not so eager to please the foreigners. There were no motorcycles or cabs as well and you can seldom see a jeepney or bus on the street. The cold temperature felt so good and strange at the same time being in the Philippines.

The trip to Sagada was already quite an adventure just by traveling to the place. Hence, we got to see and experience the other side of the Philippines’ beauty too:

  • The temperature in Sagada is almost freezing. 
  • You can witness the sun rise majestically and up close at the Kiltepan Peak. The enchanting feeling was different from the beautiful scenery of the sunset at the beach.
  • The connected Lumiang andSumaguing Caves are the most beautiful caves I've been to in the Philippines. For me, it is even more beautiful than the famous cave in the Underground River in Palawan. Conquering the two connected caves in Sagada was quite an adventure as well as we had to rapel, slide, and climb rocks for 5 hours.
  • The rice terraces are breathtaking! It's hard to imagine how our ancestors built them without any machinery.

Other Tourist Spots in Sagada

Aside from the caves and the sunrise at Kiltepan Peak, there are other tourist spots in Sagada. Bomod-ok falls is a popular destination but unfortunately it was closed when we were there because it was a holiday for the Igorots. There was the Echo Valley as well where you get to see the hanging coffins up close! It might look creepy at some point but it was more of a weird feeling for me to see those coffins hanging at the mountain.

The Igorot Tribe

Aside from those tourist spots in Sagada, the existence and dominance of the Igorot tribe in the place was also life-changing for me. According to my research through the Internet, there are still Igorot tribes in Sagada. What came into my mind was a picture of a person in "bahag" ("garment") with headdress and spear. Just like those Igorots we saw in textbooks at school. So we were surprised to know that our tour guides were actually Igorots! They wear modern clothes instead of their traditional costume though. But during special occasions or tribal events, they still wear "bahag" ("garment").

Our tour guides looked like typical young Filipinos wearing shorts/pants and shirt/sando. So you would never expect them to be real Igorots. Even the caretaker of the guest house was also an Igorot. They told us stories over a bonfire one night and they do not sound ashamed of their ways and beliefs no matter how different it is in our modern society. I'm not saying they are old-fashioned or traditional, they have also coped with the modern world but their traditions and beliefs remain. They still do certain practices like burying a deceased person in a hanging coffin.

Meeting real Igorots may not sound life-changing. But you see, I've only heard about Igorots in my "Sibika at Kultura" ("Civics and Culture") subject during Grade School or "Araling Panlipunan" ("Social Studies") class in High School. Igorots were described as "pandak" (Short), "maitim" (dark skin), "kulot ang buhok" ("kinky or curly hair) at "pango ang ilong" ("snub nose").  So that was how Igorots were pictured in my mind, wearing their bahag ("garment") costumes.

Today, we only normally see Igorots in tourist spots, like Baguio, waiting for us to have a picture with them and give them donation. Meeting a real Igorot, however, was another thing for me. That trip to Sagada was different among other trips we had because it made me feel like a true Filipino. Seeing the Banaue Rice Terraces up close was just overwhelming. They're very beautiful, well-sculpted, and made by our forefathers. There was a distinct feeling of Filipino Pride in me when I saw them.

New Friends!

An added bonus to our Sagada trip was the new adventurous friends we met who were kind enough to let us join their group and hitch with them all the way to Nueva Ecija! ^^

Final Thoughts

For me, traveling is not just about going to places. Rather, it is about experiencing the place you’re in. Sagada, Mt. Province is far from the tropical sceneries at the beach that always depict The Philippines. Yet, it is where I have found the truest sense of being a Filipino.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda

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This is the welcome sign/arch when you enter and leave Capiz in between Dumarao and Passi
It's been almost a month since Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda hit the Philippines. Tacloban and other areas in Samar and Leyte were probably the most affected parts of the country. However, other provinces were badly hit too! One of which is Capiz, my home province.

During the typhoon, telecommunication lines and signals were cut and we had no electricity here in Iloilo. When the weather calmed down, mobile network signals were back and I immediately contacted my family in Roxas City. However, I cannot contact anyone. I was hoping that they just had empty batteries or still no signal. But I was worried though especially when I heard news over the internet about the situation in affected areas. Iloilo wasn't hit badly by the typhoon except the northern part. There were a number of casualties in those areas especially those near the coast.

I was only able to talk to my parents 2 days after the typhoon when they went to the city proper and able to receive a signal. After 2 days, I was finally relieved knowing they're safe. But our kitchen roof was destroyed and trees around the house were uprooted. Our neighbor's house was even entirely ravaged.

Our kitchen was fixed immediately though and our surroundings were cleared by the efforts of my family and our neighbors. But there's still no electricity at home until now and some say it might take 3-4 months to fix everything. Only a small part of Roxas City proper has electricity as of today.

My grandparents' home at Sigma, Capiz was also totally ruined by the typhoon and this made me really sad. Of course I'm glad that they're all safe in there. Their home wasn't too big and grand but it holds too many memories for our family. Me and my brother used to spend summer vacations there when we were kids. Family gatherings were also spent there most of the time. Here's what's left of my grandparents home as photographed by my uncle:

Sunday, September 29, 2013

I'm A Sunnies Kind of Girl

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Living in the Philippines where it's "sunny all year round" according to Lea Michele of Glee, wearing sunglasses is not just a trend, it is rather fundamental. Being a "night owl" myself, the sunlight can really hurt my eyes when I'm out in the morning so sunglasses have become an essential accessory for me even just for short trips or running for some errands.

I used to be particular on the brand of sunglasses I buy. Though not really the expensive ones like Rayban or Oakley. Maybe the highest price I've bought so far is worth PhP2,000++. However, I saw some vintage and stylish sunnies online and got attracted to them instantly! One particular brand I've been eyeing is Sunnies By Charlie, worn by some celebrities like Laureen Uy and Georgina Wilson.

They're not high-end sunglasses, not made of premium materials I guess, but they're very affordable and fashionable! The fact that they won't hurt my pocket made me think that it's worth trying them out. So I ordered 2 pairs at Zalora, the Hepburn and Brooke sunglasses(shown below). Transaction was smooth and after a week, I received these 2 pairs of Sunnies by Charlie! Retro? You bet! :)

Before ordering, I was completely aware of the risk since I haven't seen and tried the actual products. I only saw pictures from the internet. So possibilities are endless: they might not fit on me, not so durable, different from picture, may easily break, etc. BUT, when I received them, I was so glad that they aren't some cheapo sunglasses at all and they even look chic!


So what do you think of the sunnies I bought from Zalora? Do you want to buy a pair of sunnies, too? Just click on the image below to get started. There are actually a lot of brands of sunglasses at Zalora that you can choose from.