The Leechy Trek to Tinagong Dagat in Mt. Mandalagan, Negros Occidental Day 2/2


The morning in Tinagong Dagat was cold but dry. When we slept last night, there was a canopy of stars but I half expected the rain still. Thanks God, the ground was only wet from the morning dew. Yay!!!

Look how happy I was with these lights. 🙂

Dry Morning in Tinagong Dagat

We plan to wake up at 5 AM but the cold morning was just too nice to be wasted. At 6 AM, the camp was finally awake. The early risers were already preparing breakfast so we took our time cam-whoring and cleaning up our tents. It was our last cooking schedule so there were a lot to cook. As soon as I was free doing my personal stuffs, I volunteered to cook the eggs – scrambled ala Kring.

Photo ops with the breakfast squad.
Cooking and breaking up camp in progress…

I never cook at home but when trekking, I cook if given the chance. Haha! But I try not to. I like to wash the dishes more. 😀

Breakfast Time

It took us about 2 hours to get ready for breakfast. The sun had already shone brightly on our part of the camp so we moved to the shady area. After, eating and cleaning up, we continued breaking up the camp and was ready to go by around 9.

Bye Bye Tinagong Dagat

After the photo ops, we left the camp at 9:30 AM after prayer with no warm up still. Descent is my favorite part of the trek but I wasn’t prepared with the almost 30 minutes uphill trek at the start. I was out of breath when we reached the top but the guide’s assurance that the next parts will be down hills restored my energy.

Tribu Iskwatters & Friends
And the husband is back to his jumping spree!

Down to the Dam

There were hard parts in going down that it’s hard to imagine if we trekked it uphill. I was especially fascinated in the dam part of the descent. Following the dam canal was both fun and dangerous. When the guide told us that it’s gonna be an hour way following the dam, I was excited.

When we stopped at the river at the start of the dam, the husband borrowed a powerbank to continue his GPS to record the trail. Instead of waiting, I went ahead thinking there would be a space where I could wait for him. Unfortunately, beyond the river was the canal trail. There wasn’t any space for waiting. As I was concentrating on my steps balancing over the canal, I kept thinking of the husband. It would have been awesome if he was with me. I regretted why I went ahead.

Hello Civ!!!

As I was about to cross a dead creek, I heard the husband calling my name. Relief washed over me. Yes, I’m brave and all but I’m braver when I’m with Migo. It was a sweet reunion and my energy was replenished. I suddenly had the energy to take pictures again. 🙂

Found my lucky charmer back. 😀 Adik lang. Low energy dayon if di magsunod ug lakaw. Hahaha

We continued the trek after a quick stop at a low lying dam canal where I wet my hair. After around 30-45 minutes, we were out of the forest at 1:30 PM. Yay! Civilization at last!!!

The Wait, the Ruins and Home Sweet Home

While waiting for our ride, we had snacks. To freshen up, I plan to just change clothes but one of our trekmates mentioned that we could actually take a bath at a nearby house for free. Yay! I wasted no time and got ready for the bath as I feel really icky for trekking on my period. T_T

Feeling fresh and free!!!

Everyone got busy chilling on the wait. 2 of our trekmates went to check Campuestohan. If not for my period, I would have gone swimming with them too. Maybe next time.

At around 3 PM, our ride arrived. But before leaving, we walked to the entrance of Campuestohan to have our souvenir pic.

Talaba for Late Lunch

I have been craving Talaba for the longest time but the husband wouldn’t drive me to Liloan. There wasn’t any fresh talaba restaurant in Cebu that I know of too. Sad, sad story but thankfully, we were able to visit Mercy’s Talabahan before proceeding to our side trip – The Ruins. A bowlful of Talaba is only Php 50 to my amazement. I really had my fill and even wanted to add but the husband forbade me as he thought I had more than enough. Huhu!

The Ruins

Our last stop was the Ruins so we were once again carrying our  big packs as we checked it out. Good thing, it wasn’t that big and despite the number of people, we were still able to find a place to chill. There wasn’t really much to do at The Ruins but there are tons of places to take pictures. The views are very instagrammable.

This guy’s so in love with me gurl!!! ❤
DIY photo ops around the ruins!

The Ride Back Home

At 7 PM, we left the Ruins and rode a trike to Ceres Terminal where we waited for our ride back to Cebu at 9 PM. The bus was via Tabuelan. As the bus left the terminal, there was happiness in my heart. It was another awesome experience for the books. Just thankful for Tribu Iskwatters for the company. Looking forward to more treks with them.

And…I don’t mind going back to Tinagong Dagat as we missed the Solfatara. 😀 Besides, we’ve trekked the other 2 mountains in Negros twice so it’s only fair to climb Mt. Mandalagan again. Right?

Thank you so much for your time. I hope you had fun reading as much as I enjoyed writing. I might have missed some details but I’m leaving it out for you to discover. 🙂




Reasons Why You Should Re-Trek


Just last weekend, the Negros trilogy was finally complete when we experienced the leech-infested forest ascent to Tinagong Dagat. There are 3 popular mountains in Negros Island: Canlaon, Cuernos De Negros or Talinis and Mandalagan or Tinagong Dagat that are trekking must climbs.

While writing the adventure in Mt. Mandalagan, I realized that 2 of the mountains were trekked twice. Talinis in 2012 and then last Feb. Canlaon was last 2015 and then 2012. If it was just me, I wouldn’t want to go back. Once is enough and there’s still a lot of mountains to go so I’d want every major climbs to be different. But after 2 double takes, I realized that trekking a mountain twice is not all that bad.

Reasons Why You Should Re-Trek

  1. Every trekking experience is different. No trek is ever the same. 
    (2012) We missed Lake Yagumyum on our re-trek since we start at a different trail. It was raining when we started but the re-trek in 2017 was very humid.
    Entry point: Brgy. Bediao, Dauin | Exit point: Brgy. Apolong, Valencia City

    (2017) After lunch at Nug-as Rancho. We weren’t able to pass here in 2012.
    Entry point: Brgy. Malongcay Dacu, Dauin | Exit point: Brgy. Apolong, Valencia City
  2. You have the avenue to connect to more trekking friends. 
    (2012) Team BRB with only 3 girls.

    (2017) Team NCR Trekkers with 5 girls already! Hurray! More women trekkers please. By this time, the 2 girls I was with in 2012 is now busy with motherhood. Wondering how many of these women will be with us if there’s a re-trek years from now? Hehe
  3. You will be be able to check whether age has made you better in trekking or not.
    (2017) At Rancho camp but this time, it is part of the itinerary. In 2012, we were forced to camp here.

    (2012) Enjoying the Twin Lake after the emergency camp.
  4. Chance to experience a different trail and/or different weather conditions.
    (2012) A foggy Canlaon slopes. We weren’t able to summit due to heavy rains.

    (2015) A super clear view of Canlaon – super blessed after all the fogginess on our 1st trek.
  5. Trekking is not about how many peaks you’ve been to. It is about the experiences that you have accumulated in the journey.
    (2012) We walk away from the peak on the same path in 2015 but it still feels like I’ve been trekking on it for the first time.

    (2015) Now a pink rain cover for me. 🙂 Haha!
  6. The 2nd trek can be less strenuous because you now have a rough estimate of the distances. 
    (2012) Rainy Canlaon!!!

    (2015) Answered prayers!!!
  7. The more major treks you have regardless of the location are training ground for a bigger goal – say Guiting-Guiting or Mantalingajan or maybe, Everest. The more you do long distance and multi-day trek, the more you are equipped for more difficult trails.

That’s our 7 reasons why we re-trek. How about you? Do you want to re-trek? What are your reasons for re-trekking or not? Let us know of your re-trekking experience too in the comment below. 🙂

The Leechy Trek to Tinagong Dagat in Mt. Mandalagan, Negros Occidental Day 0/2


So What Do You Think is The Story of How I Ended My Hiatus?

LEECH, no pre-climbs and the threat of menstrual cramps were 3 of my major concerns in trekking Mt. Mandalagan. Yet despite the reservations, my will is bigger than my fears. We already missed Mandalagan in 2013 because I was on a company trip in USA and the then-boyfie-now-husband didn’t want to go without the annoying me. Sweet! So without further ado when the opportunity presents itself, I shared it to the husband. Since I received Christ, being a good and submissive wife has become a goal. Nowadays, unlike before, instead of deciding on my own right away, I consult my husband (aka Migo) first.

Migo has been wanting to resume trekking for a while but I have been too busy with other things. Our company trekking club went to Tres Marias on the Freedom long weekend but he understood that I needed to rest and recuperate now that the events at work has come to an end. He had fully supported my June hiatus, the social media sabbatical and my desire to pursue Jesus in his own ways.

So when he expressed the desire to join the trek to Mandalagan, I agreed despite my fears. Thanks to a good friend for sharing the info and to another friend who responded positively to our interest.

So the story of how I ended up going to Mandalagan despite my hiatus is a love story. People trek mountains for different reasons. As for me, it has always been love. My love for adventure and my love to my oh so awesome husband who empowers me to face my fears – this time, LEECHES in Mandalagan.

Will get to them leeches later but first…let me take you back to…

Day 0 Friday

The plan was to meet at North Bus Terminal at 3:30PM so we took a leave to prepare. We plan to pack earlier but as usual, we ended up cramming and even forgot to charge our powerbanks which makes the husband very uncomfortable.

Since the bus leaves at 6PM, we decided to leave the house at 4PM to charge some more. But that too wasn’t enough. It led to the husband’s comical search for power outlets every place we went. This has been our mishap last trek too. I hope this wouldn’t happen again. Must add in the list.

Somebody is happy upon seeing the charging station at North Bus Terminal.

We were the last ones to arrive at 5PM. We didn’t really know who we are going with but when I saw 3 other familiar faces, I felt at peace. I don’t really mind trekking with strangers but there’s comfort in familiarity. Unlike before, I didn’t went into full mode chatterbox, which happens rather often lately. Nowadays, I find it more appealing to just wait for people to talk to me than do the reaching out first. I still love connecting to new people but now with reservations. I don’t want to come off as a show-off and a braggart which was mostly tied to friendly and extroverted people. 😦 But the change was not really about how people will see me, I have been over that already, it’s because of my desire to learn how to listen more than talking. Jesus values listening more than talking so I’m trying my best to learn the art of observing and listening first before opening my mouth. It was only when the bus left that I asked for the names of those that I met for the first time.

The trip to Toledo City took more than 2.5 hours. Migo dozed off while I spent my time writing on my personal blog. I expected it to be posted before the signal went off at Naga but the words just kept on coming. Thankfully, it was done just before the bus stopped at Toledo port.

After receiving our ticket and terminal fee, we were told to be at the ferry by 9PM. Since it was already 8:45, we all agreed to buy takeout at Mcdo. We were at the ferry by 9PM uncomfortably munching on our takeouts and somewhat regretting why we didn’t buy burger instead. The seat numbers weren’t followed so we ended up taking the bench next to the trash can and too close together. Pfft!

Hello San Carlos City

The ferry ride took almost 2 hours. Because I didn’t want to drain my phone, I decided to sleep but the seat was very uncomfortable so I only managed to dozed a little. We arrived in San Carlos City at 11:15 PM. 15 minutes after, we went back to the bus and it departed to Bacolod City.

Bacolod City First Timers

This was our 3rd trek in Negros Island. When we trekked in Mt. Canlaon, we arrived in San Carlos City and then Canlaon City. For Mt. Talinis, we arrived in Dumaguete City.

Day 1 Saturday

I was quite surprised with Bacolod especially the big and airport feels Ceres Bus Terminal. We arrived at the old Terminal at 2AM. We waited for our other companions and then rode a tryke to Ceres Bus Terminal where we catch a short rest before the terminal operation resumes at 5AM.

To The Jump-Off in Patag, Silay City

The bus terminal was awake at 5AM. After washing our face and enduring the cold at the airconditioned comfort room, we were ready for the next stop: Silay City. We arrived in Poblacion, Silay at 6AM after 30 minutes of travel from Bacolod City. We settled and had breakfast at #HugotSizzlers.

Patag is still an hour away from Poblacion. To save the fare, instead of hiring a private vehicle, we utilized the commuter jeepney instead. We only pay for Php45 for the trip but we had to wait 45 minutes for the jeepney to be filled.

The Hospital, Patag (Jump-Off)

The jeepney left at 8:15. By 9:15, we were at the hospital where we got our guides. We haggled to only have 1 guide as 2 of our companions were from Negros and they are quite familiar with the trail. Unfortunately, the tourism insisted that we should have 2.

Compared to other guide fees which was mostly Php500/day, Tinagong Dagat guide fee was Php750/day. We were already uneasy by the guide fees more so when they asked us to pay for the entrance fee, we were baffled why we had to pay when we only went their to get guides but they insist that we should pay. T_T

We thought that was our only “pay” trouble. We thought wrong. Stay tuned on the next post as we finally start our trek and leave the Hospital but before ending this post, let me tell you a story about the hospital.

About the Hospital. Back in 2013, I remembered one of our hiking friends told us that the hospital was kind of haunted. I was especially excited to see it. To my surprise, the hospital was now turned into rooms for the guests who want to swim at the pool beside it. Hehe! No more ghost feels for me. Lol

An Overnight Trek to Tinagong Dagat in Mt. Mandalagan via Patag – Campuestohan Traverse


See below the ITINERARY AND EXPENSES, story to follow.

ITINERARY AND EXPENSES

Day 0
Permit/Fax: Php300

The Adventurers before leaving the camp.

Roll Call (from Left):
Harold, Pete, Kathy, Alfred, Rhea, Kring, July, RJ, Jill, Van, Carl, Andoy, Shie, Guide 1, Guide 2, Gil

17:00 North Bus Terminal
– Be early to secure a seat.
17:50 Departure to Toledo
– Fare/Pax: Php375 via Ceres (w/ CR)
20:30 Toledo City
20:45 Get off the bus
– Told to be back at 9PM so we just bought take out at Mcdo.
21:00 At the Ferry
21:30 Departure to San Carlos City
– Ticket and terminal fee was provided by the Ceres conductor before leaving the bus. Things were left at the bus too.
23:15 Arrival in San Carlos City
23:30 At the bus, departure to Bacolod

Day 1

02:00 Bacolod Old Terminal
02:45 To Ceres Northbound Terminal
– Fare/Pax: Php30 via tryke
03:00 At Terminal
– Sleep until 5:00 AM (Preps)
05:30 To Silay
– Fare/Pax: Php16 via Ceres Bus
06:00 Poblacion Silay City
– Breakfast @ #Hugot Sizzlers
– Wait for Alfred. Permit was forgotten.
– CR breaks
– Buy lunch pack at Mercado.
07:30 At jeep to Patag (Commute)
– Fare/Pax: Php45 via passenger jeepney
– Waiting for other passengers
08:15 Jeep Departure
09:15 Hospital – Tourism
– Guide Fee: Php750/day
– Guide Fee/Pax: Php250
– Entrance: Php10
12:00 Lunch
13:00 Platform
16:30 Tinagong Dagat
18:00 Dinner Preps
20:00 Dinner
20:30 Socials
22:00 Lights Off

Day 2

05:00 Wake up call
06:00 Breakfast Preps, Break Camp
08:30 Breakfast
09:30 Left Tinagong Dagat
13:00 Campuestohan
– Food Share/Pax: Php87
15:00 ETD to Bacolod
16:00 ETA in Mercy’s Talabahan, Bacolod
16:30 ETD to Ruins
– Fare/Pax: Php150
17:00 The Ruins
– Entrance/Pax: Php100
19:00 ETD to Ceres Terminal
– Fare/Pax: Php25 via Tryke
– Dinner
– Fare/Pax: Php410 from Bacolod to North Bus via Escalante – Tabuelan
21:00 ETD to Ferry
23:30 ETA Ferry Port
– Fare/Pax: Php130
00:00 ETD to Tabuelan Port
03:00 ETD to North Bus Terminal
05:30 Home Sweet Home

EXPENSES
Permit/Fax: Php300 paid 1 to 2 weeks before the trek
Fare/Pax: Php375 from North Bus to Bacolod City via Ceres (w/ CR)
Fare/Pax: Php30 from Bacolod Bus Stop to Ceres Terminal via tryke
Fare/Pax: Php16 from Ceres Terminal to Silay City via Ceres Bus
Fare/Pax: Php45 from Silay City to jump-off in Patag
Guide Fee/Pax: Php250 paid at Hospital
Entrance Hospital: Php10 paid at Hospital
Food Share/Pax: Php87 group food sharing (Day 1 Dinner, Day 2 Breakfast, Lunch)
Fare/Pax: Php150 from Campuestohan to The Ruins
Entrance/Pax: Php100 The Ruins
Fare/Pax: Php25 via Tryke from The Ruins to Ceres Terminal
Fare/Pax: Php410 from Bacolod to North Bus via Escalante – Tabuelan
Fare/Pax: Php130 Ferry from Escalante to Tabuelan
TREK TOTAL: Php1928

Additionals:
Day 0 Dinner Php100
Day 1 Breakfast Php50
Day 1 Pack Lunch Php50
Day 2 Snacks Php100
Day 2 Late Lunch Php150
Day 2 Dinner Php50
ADDITIONALS TOTAL: Php500

GRAND TOTAL: Php2500 (total estimated max budget. Just bring Php3000)

GUIDE DETAILS (Guide is provided by Tourism office on the day in Hospital, Patag, Silay City)
Note: 1 guide per 10 pax, in excess mandatory add 1 guide
– Guide Fee: Php750/day/pax

Daily Prompt: Waiting


via Daily Prompt: Waiting

When I started to embrace travel as a way of coping up back in 2011, I wanted to travel as many places as I can. But I don’t have the means and capacity both financially and emotionally yet so I stayed put and waited for the right moment. But as I was waiting, I kept on dreaming of the day that I would be able to tick off the entries in my list one at a time. 5 years after, I haven’t been everywhere but I am satisfied of the places I have been. Had I stop waiting, I’m sure I would stop dreaming too. But I didn’t.

In life, everything has its own moment. Waiting is tough but it has its benefits. You’ll never know how worthy is the wait if you stop on waiting. And to top of it all, the best waiting I’ve done in my life was waiting for my boyfriend-then-now-husband to realize I was the one for him. Haha! We started traveling because he was not ready to settle down. LOL It was our way of keeping me happy. Haha! Looking at it now that we are married, it was the best wait EVER and the most fun too.

Here’s our latest travel memoirs – our last hurrah before our long vacation away from travel to embark on another waiting moment for our little Migo or Miga. Hopefully, we wouldn’t wait long. 😀

This is my waiting. How about you, what are you Waiting for or waited?

3 Days in Vang Vieng, Laos (Day 7-9/11)


The plan was to leave Vientiane at 6 AM but we found a 9:30 AM bus schedule. We welcomed the change since we’ve been waking very early the passing days.

We woke up a little late than usual and had our breakfast at the Karenderia near Singsanti’s. By 9:00 AM, we were already in front of Capitol Residence waiting for pick-up. After 15 minutes of waiting, we were worried why our pick-up didn’t show up. The husband asked me to call the ticketing. They assured us that the pick-up will be there in 10 minutes. Another 10 minutes passed, still nothing. The husband pushed to call again but I hesitated because it might seem too pushy. After a while the tuktuk came and we relaxed a little. We picked up 2 more along the way.

Bottom right pic is Migo standing in front of our accommodation in Vientiane. The rest are pics from our breakfast - the street opposite the karenderia, the karenderia and our food!
Bottom right pic is Migo standing in front of our accommodation in Vientiane. The rest are pics from our breakfast – the street opposite the karenderia, the karenderia and our food!

Bus to Vang Vieng

The travel to Vang Vieng is about 4 hours. When we got to the bus, it was already filled so the husband and I were forced to seat apart. On the way, the husband was sound asleep while I blogged about our day in Vientiane.

Journey to Vang Vieng from Vientiane!
Journey to Vang Vieng from Vientiane! Migo & Miga wearing the new couple shirt bought at Vientiane night market.

Hello Vang Vieng!

When we arrived, most of the tourist left the bus station immediately on board a van while we waited for our host to pick us up. After a while a pick-up arrived. Without asking, we went with the other group. It turned out, that wasn’t our pick-up. Haha! When our host called, we told her we rode on the wrong pick-up. Nouth arrived in a while.

I picked Nouth’s place because it had awesome ambiance. True to the pics, it made me feel like we were on a honeymoon. We’ll talk more about the place we’ve stayed in 6 cities on a separate blog soon. Stay tuned.

Our quaint accommodation with our friendly host, Nouth!
Our quaint accommodation Lao Valhalla with our friendly host, Nouth!

Vang Vieng Day 1

After settling, we slept and explored Vang Vieng. We borrowed a bike and took our first pic of Vang Vieng’s mountains. Then went to the riverside looking for the view on bright side’s pic. We saw bridges but none matches what we saw in the picture. It was about sunset so we decided to just let it go since what we were seeing was just as beautiful.

Migo tuning the bike for our first stroll!
The riverside view with the power of timer! :D
The riverside view with the power of timer! 😀

 

Life in Vang Vieng, Laos! We were welcome with the rainbow promise. 🙂

When we had our fill, we walked to find a good place to eat. We had dinner then went back to the guest house and stayed at the common area. After a while, other guests arrived. We had the chance to get to know them. Hema and Alex from Spain, then Lara from UK. We bid goodbye around 11:30 PM since we had an early call-time for the half day tour.

Miga’s favorite setup to eat. 🙂

Vang Vieng Day 2
We woke up around 8 AM. Had breakfast and by 9 AM, we were ready for our half-day tour. One other guest who also stayed at Lao Valhalla joined us. On the way to the drop off we exchanged infos. When we arrived on our tour service, 3 more joined.

Our group of 6 composed of 4 nationalities: Chinese, Koreans, Laotian and us. The tour started at a trek to the start of a multi-stop zipline. The 1st stop was around 10-15 minutes walk from the common area where our Laotian guide waited while preparing our lunch.

It took us around an hour to finish all the stops. While enjoying the ride, you get to enjoy the view on the top of each platform too. At the last ride, I was famished.

Lunch were served and after we went tubing into a cave. We laid down on our tube and then pull ourselves into the cave.

The tubing was extreme. I was concerned with pulling myself that I fail to enjoy the view inside. I was afraid of being left out too. The husband said his arms were sore ’cause of the tubing. Luckily, mine didn’t because I pushed to stay close to the only other girl in the group – Yang, the Chinese. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take a photo, besides it’s pitch dark inside the cave. I’m claustrophobic so that was kind of hard for me.

We rested for a while and then went into the last stop of our half day tour – the Elephant Cave. Yang and the 3 Korean guys Yong, Jang & Kim have full day tours. We went back to our cab and traveled back to the start of their 10K kayaking. As they were oriented, I’m feeling grateful that we opt to miss it. When they left with their kayaks, our service drop us back to Namsong Bridge.

While our tour-friends are busy paddling the 10K back to city center, the husband and I went to rent a motorbike for our trek!

Motorbiking and Trekking in Vang Vieng
When we bike to the city center on our first day, our bike act up. As the husband tried fixing, a guy approached us and walked the bike. We were surprised. In my head ran bad thoughts again but as we got nearer, we saw the same bikes. We assumed he must be Nouth’s friend – the owner of the bike. He gave us a new bike and fixed what we used. While at it, we saw his motorcycles for rent too.

On the way to Nouth’s place after our half day tour doing zip line, tubing and caving, we were dropped by the tour service at Namsong Bridge. As we passed by Nouth’s friend’s place, we decided to rent a motorbike. In Vang Vieng, there are no public transportation. To go places, you have to bike or motorbike on your own. Since we planned to trek, we needed a motorbike to go there.

The husband chose the manual motorbikes first but after 2 tries, he opted for the automatic ones which were rented at a higher price. We took the motorbike home and rested for a while before leaving for our next activity of the day – trekking in Vang Vieng (will make a separate post for details).

After the trek, we went back to the city center again and as planned tried massage after dinner. Our very 1st massage since birth. Haha! It was an amazing experience. Can’t wait to try other massage since we just had a Lao traditional massage. We went back to the house past midnight already so we decided to retire.

Vang Vieng Day 3 – Blue Lagoon and Off to Bangkok, Thailand

From my research, I only find a 10AM bus sked but when we bought a ticket on our 1st day, there was a 1:30 PM trip bound to Bangkok already. It added us an extra half day in Vang Vieng and crunched our travel time to night.

We spent the extra hours swimming at Blue Lagoon despite the rain. By 1 pm, we were ready to go. We bid goodbye to Nouth. Yang was scheduled to leave too. Nouth drop us at the end of Namsong bridge. We walked to the other side and waited for our bus pickup.

While waiting, the husband bought lunch and mango shake. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to enjoy it since I toppled the table and dropped the mango shake. I was stunned for a while, thinking he would lashed out at me. But just like always, his patience and tolerance for my carelessness is noteworthy. Thank you Lord for husbands like Migo. 🙂

Then we were off to our journey back to Vientiane then finally to the friendship bridge where an agent of Soutchai Travel assisted us. He bought our terminal fee then instructed us to ride the bus to the other side. When we arrive in the border of Thailand, another agent from Soutchai Travel helped us get our night bus ticket. When we were settled at the bus station, he bade us goodbye. As it was still 7 pm, we had an hour to ourselves since the bus is scheduled to arrive at 8:00 PM. The husband and I didn’t waste our time and bought food and a Thai sim card. The 7/11 staff was very kind enough to set-up our sim. It was much easier than our experience at Laos. 🙂

The story about how we were awed (or naihas) with the night bus to Bangkok is up next. Stay tuned. Hopefully, I can blog this weekend. I’m just so excited to be done with the personal blogging so that I could finally start my non-meish blogging and do a cleanup.  I’m afraid that if I did the non-meish stuffs first, I would forget the personal details. It’s just doesn’t  feel right to forgot my first love.  LOL

Booked: Indochina Backpacking Tips and Tricks


Sharing our trip at Tripzilla was good because I was able to learn a lot from the people’s comments. While I find our trip just within our budget, I realized that it may have been too much for others. Our budget was 100K excluding the flight fare and accommodation (pre-paid). We spend only 8OK for 4 countries which makes it 20K per country (10K/person/country).

We find our trip just enough but to those who find it steep on the budget here’s a list of tips and tricks in which they can compromise while we decided that they are must-haves.

Accommodation
One of our biggest expense is the accommodation since we have them all pre-booked in AirBNB around 2-3 months before the date. While I am adventurous and a daredevil, the husband wanted a sure place to stay. He couldn’t imagine us jumping from place to place without a proper accommodation at hand. Also, we have a listing in AirBNB. Using it as our main platform for accommodation is paying it forward.

Tip: In all of the four countries, there were lots of accommodations everywhere. If you are feeling brave, just booked only your starting country since you might need it at the immigration or use other platforms other than AirBNB and see if you can find a much better deal.

Transportation
Jumping from one country to the other is expensive. We’ve spent around 14K. These were all land trips since I wanted to experience the border crossings. Call it crazy but Indochina wouldn’t be the same had we flown all over. Lol Expensive and battering but worth it. We were able to experience traveling in different modes of transport plus we had a chance to immersed with the locals too. You can check on the table for our fares and cross check it with flights. You might find a better deal than we did. The table had time duration too.

Also, Laos was super stretched. It was crazy going there from Vietnam. Most of the itineraries I saw on the net exclude Laos.

There was miscalculation on the flight too. It would have been nice if we started from HCMC, Vietnam to Cambodia to Bangkok and then end in Laos. But we weren’t really thinking of the itinerary when we booked.

Tip: Don’t include Laos in your itinerary. Vang Vieng is not to be missed but you can do a trip to Laos separately. On this trip, we missed Luang Prabang so maybe you can include it in yours. In Laos alone, we’ve spent around 11K+ so if you exclude it, it’ll be cheaper.

Food
When I made the plan, I only allocated around 8K. What happened was it ballooned to almost twice. Instead of just eating in the streets, we splurged a little. Ate at cafes and some to our heart’s desires. Lol I’m a fan of thrift eating too but we’ve saved enough to eat nicely so why shouldn’t we?

Tip: Don’t eat at cafes. Be adventurous always and eat always in the streets. 

Tours and Private Transportation while checking Spots
I’m an avid DIYers but when you only have a day to spend on a city, you can’t help but splurged on the easy way or else you will be spending your day unwisely. Besides we only have 11 days of travel in between these countries. We need to make use of our time wisely.

Tip: Haggle to the max. We didn’t really haggled much for ours. 🙂

Extras
The 40K is not all spent in Indochina trip only. We spent around 15K+ in our Manila lay-over. Look at our gdocs detail to see everything that we spent per country. Also we splurged a little in buying stuffs like couple shirts and souvenirs which were not actually part of our plan. Hehe

Tip: Be firm in your budget. Don’t be tempted with couple shirts and unique skirt (wore them on our 1st day in Vang Vieng). Don’t even think of buying souvenirs even if they are too cute. Don’t give tips and the likes. Hehe We spend 9k on these extras. 

Summary
We planned this trip for almost 8 months since we booked the ticket on December 31, 2015. I’m an OC planner and always try to make travel cheap. But maybe this is not cheap enough. Haha

Tip: Next time on your next travel, make the itinerary first before the ticket. The greatest lesson I learned from this trip is to plot your itinerary first before getting a ticket especially if you plan on a multi-country route.

So is our trip expensive? Depends on whose perspective. But we’ve always been cautious travelers and we planned for things wisely. We are not some millenial traveler. For us, this is enough and money well spent. If you ever find a much cheaper version, do let us know. 🙂

Open our planning doc for more details. Just added a new sheet “Expense_Details” that has the day-to-day spending because we’ve been getting inquiries about entrances and etc.

I actually have all the data in my ever note since everyday on travel before sleeping, we tracked how much we were spending to make sure we were on track. 🙂

Cheering on you,
Miga&Migo

Booked: Indochina Backpacking Itinerary + Expenses (Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand)


I wanted to do this post after I narrated the everyday adventure but the thought of knowing how poor have we become won’t let me rest. Haha! I didn’t even want to go out since we arrived on Thursday because of it. LOL But the husband was unusually restless. He went out on Friday and begged me to joined him on a movie with friends on Saturday (Train to Busan). All throughout, I felt like I was there but not really there. All I wanted to do is just sit down and track our damage, which I did this dawn. Slept around 3 AM just to get it all laid out. (Yeah, OC!) I wanted to write a post immediately but I remembered piktochart. I can’t make a post without it.

indochina_15343758_726988bc3d5ad9619816cd35801637e3cba9a24e

Today everything is ready. 🙂 I had an initial accounting on Friday while the husband was playing board games. I noted that we spent around 25K per person, almost the same amount with our Hongkong-Macau trip for 5 days but I forgot to include the flight fares and accommodations which were already paid plus our expense in Manila and some ATM charges. In all, we spent around 40K per person – that’s everything already. 10K less than my estimated 50K pocket money only. I actually thought we spent bigger since we had some extra splurges like the souvenirs and shopping which were not part of the estimates. Haha! See the details here. Everything is plotted – schedules, itinerary, expenses, transpo & accommodation.

Was it worth our money?

Of course! It was worth every penny. The joy of wanders is totally overwhelming. Much more to me since I loved everything about the trip since the planning. And being able to achieved everything that was planned is totally mind blowing. I attribute it all to God, to the good people of the place we’ve been to, especially to the husband who has been very supportive in everything. Once again, the Lord has shown me that nothing is impossible if you only put your mind and heart into it. People thought it was crazy – 4 countries in less than 2 weeks? Who’d do that? We JUST did. Crazy Couple, are we not?! o_O

Where’s the awesome pics?

As much as I wanted to share it now but this blog’s storage is unfortunately full already. And it might take some time to select favorites with an almost 8 GB of pics from Day 0 to Day 12. The husband did post our Go Pro selfies on his Facebook. That would be for now. Will find a way in the coming days. Hehe! Stay tuned. 🙂

The Itinerary

I had a very detailed itinerary in our planning board but on our next trip, I think I will adapt the new plotted itinerary found in our updated board. Putting in just the goals of the day is way better that OC-ing everything with time limits. Flexibility is much more fun. Also, I loved it that every time we arrived at a new place, the husband would just ask our target place to visit and then he will searched it on his maps and find a way to get us there either walking or bus or train. Well, you could do this if you have a very reliable and direction-savvy husband or travel partner especially if you are like me who is only good at planning but zero in directions and map reading. Hahaha!

Day 0 Cebu->Manila, Manila->Siem Reap
-Flight to Manila (unfortunately Cebu Pac doesn’t have Cebu->Siem Reap. Right now, there are only 5 international destination that can be reached directly in Cebu: Singapore, Hongkong, Taipei, Incheon, Tokyo-Narita. Maybe, we’ll have Singapore or Taipei next. The husband and I had a consensus not to do Korea and Japan anytime soon. Will blog about it on the coming days.)
-8 hours of lay-over
-Flight to Siem
-Late night hostel checkin
-Slept at Khmere’s Place

Day 1 Siem Reap, Cambodia (Currency spent: USD-cash on hand)
-Sunrise @ Angkor Wat
-Bayon, Baphoun, Royal Enclosure, Terraces of Elephants
-Checkout
-Lunch
-Bantay Kdei, Ta Phrom, Sunset @ Phnom Bakeng
-Night bus to Phnom Penh

Day 2 Phnom Penh, Cambodia (Currency spent: USD-cash on hand)
-Early arrival in PhnomP
-SLA early check-in
-Killing fields 9-12 AM
-Lunch
-Toul Sleng 2-4 PM
-Royal Palace
-Independent Monument
– Buy tix to PP & Laos
-Slept @ SLA

Day 3-4 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (Currency spent: VND-withdrawn)
Day 3:
-Checkout at SLA at 7AM
-Early departure to HCMC
-Checkin at Rich’s Place
-Afternoon & night in HCMC
-City walk to riverside & etc
-Book Cu Chi tunnel tour
-Slept @ Rich’s Place

Day 4:
-Checkout at Rich’s at 6AM
-Breakfast outside
-Left the big packs
at VietWay Tours
-Cu Chi Tour 8-230PM
-Bus back to PPenh 400 PM
-Arrive 10PM, slept
at Village Hostel

Day 5 Bus from HCMC, Vietnam ->PP, Cambodia ->Vientiane, Laos (Currency spent: USD, LAK-withdrawn in Pakse, Laos)
-Checkout at Village Hostel
-Van to Stung Treng 4AM
-Arrival in Stung Treng 12PM
-Van to Pakse1230PM
-Arrival in Pakse 500PM
-Dinner
-Night bus to Vientiane 830PM

Day 6 Vientiane, Laos (Currency spent: LAK)
-Arrival in Vientiane 7AM
-Early checkin @ Sing’s
-Rest & lunch after
– Buy tix to Vang Vieng
-Visit Buddha Park
-Riverside & night market
-Slept at Sing’s

Day 7-9 Vang Vieng (Currency spent: LAK-withdrawn in Vang Vieng)
Day 7:
-Checkout @ Sing’s
-Breakfast at karenderia
-Departure to VangV 9AM
-Arrival in VangV 1PM
-Checkin @ Nouth’s
-Rented a bike and do a tour
-Slept @ Nouth’s

Day 8:
-Free breakfast
-Join a half-day tour w/
Ziplining, Caving & Tubing
-Rent a motorbike
-Trek to Phon Ngern
Mountain
-Dinner & tried a Lao Massage
-Slept @ Nouth’s

Day 9:
-Free breakfast
-Motorbike to Blue Lagoon
-Checkout @ Nouth’s
-Left VangV @ 1PM
-Dinner while waiting for bus
-@ Sleeper bus by 8PM
-Slept @ bus

Day 10-11 Bangkok (Currency spent: BAHT-withdrawn in Nong Khai)
Day 10:
-Arrive in Bangkok at 6AM
-Early checkin not possible
-Left bag and do an early
temple visit @ Royal Palace
and Wat Pra Kaew
-Checkin at 3PM, slept
-Free dinner @ 7 PM
-Visit a board game cafe
-Slept @ Daniele’s

Day 11:
-Woke up late.
-Free brunch
-Checkout & left bag
-Visit Wat Pho
-Back to pickup bag
-Dinner @ airport
-Left bangkok at 12AM

Day 12 Flight out of Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok
-Arrive in Mla at 4 AM
-Checkin at The Wings
-Slept until 12PM
-Free brunch
-Checkout at 1:30 PM
-Left Manila at 4:00 PM
-Home by 5:00 PM
-Dinner at Bigby’s til 10PM

Highlights:
-Able to withdraw VND, LAK & BAHT
-Affordable internet sim in Laos & Thailand
-All bus tix were bought on the day & were able to pick new sked thus extending
wander time.
-Tried a lot of means of transport
-Eat at street foods & cafes alike
-Able to bike & motorbike in Vang V
-Able to trek in Vang V
-Meet new friends in Cu Chi & Vang V tour
-Achieved the 4 country target with no bus sked aberrations & etc
-No bad experiences in people and etc
-Able to navigate on our own via maps
-Amazed by The Wings in NAIA 3
-Awesome trip!!!

TOTAL DAMAGE:

Category Cost
PRE-PAID (via credit card) ₱18,831.40
Ceb<->Mla;
Mla->Siem;
BKK->Mla
₱10,802.40
Accommodations ₱8,029.00
PAID DURING TRIP ₱61,729.95
Transport in between cities ₱14,736.00
Expenses* ₱46,993.95
TOTAL FOR TWO PERSONS ₱80,561.35
Per person cost ₱40,280.68

Documents here:

Indochina in 11 Days (Cam-Vie-Lao-Tha) Infographic
Trip Details (Schedules, Itinerary, Expense, Transpo, Accommodation)

Accommodations:

Date Place Link to Stay Cost /Person (US$) Total Cost (US$) Total Cost (₱)* Notes
1 8/20 – 8/21 Siem Reap, Cambodia Khmere’s Place US$10 US$20 ₱942 Sat Night, Booked
2 8/22 – 8/23 Phnom Penh, Cambodia Local Riverside Guesthouse US$10 US$22 ₱1,036 Mon Night, Booked
3 8/23 – 8/24 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Rich’s Place US$13 US$15 ₱705 Tue Night, Booked
4 8/24 – 8/25 Phnom Penh, Cambodia Khmer Village Hostel US$10 US$20 ₱960 Wed Night
5 8/26 – 8/27 Vientiane, Laos Singsanti’s US$13 US$15 ₱802 Fri Night, Booked
6 8/27 – 8/29 Vang Vieng, Laos Lao Valhalla Bungalows & Restaurant US$25 US$25 ₱2,641 Sat,Sun Night, Booked
7 8/30 – 8/31 Bangkok, Thailand Daniele’s US$15 US$15 ₱943 Tue Night, Booked
TOTAL US$96 US$132 ₱8,029

*US$1 = ₱48

Transportation:

Date From To Transportation (Ticketing/Bus) Travel Time (hrs) Cost /Person (US$) Total Cost (US$) Total Cost (₱)*
1 8/21 (Sun), 22:30 Siem Reap, Cambodia Phnom Penh, Cambodia Night Bus (Cambodia Angkor Express) 7 US$18 US$36 ₱1,728
2 8/23 (Tue), 08:00 Phnom Penh, Cambodia Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Day Bus (Phuong Heng (Sun Leang)) 7 US$15 US$30 ₱1,440
3 8/24 (Wed), 16:00 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Phnom Penh, Cambodia Day Bus (Phuong Heng (Sun Leang)) 7 US$15 US$15 ₱1,440
4 8/25 (Thu), 4:30 Phnom Penh, Cambodia Stung Treng, Cambodia Van (Sun Leang) 7 US$65 US$130 ₱6,240
8/25 (Thu), 12:30 Stung Treng, Cambodia Pakse, Laos Van 5
8/25 (Thu), 20:30 Pakse, Laos Vientiane, Laos Sleeper Bus 11
5 8/27 (Sat), 9:30 Vientiane, Laos Vang Vieng, Laos Day Bus (Yortdoy Service) 4 US$5.50 US$11 ₱528
6 8/29 (Mon), 13:30 Vang Vieng, Laos Udonthani, Laos Van (Southchai) 6 US$35 US$70 ₱3,360
8/25 (Thu), 20:30 Udonthani, Laos Nakhon Ratcha, Thailand Sleeper Bus 7
8/30 (Tue), 3:00 Nakhon Ratcha, Thailand Bangkok, Thailand Sleeper Bus 3
TOTAL 64 (2.67 days) US$153.50 US$307 ₱14,736

*US$1 = ₱48

Basically, above are the details that you will need if you ever want to do what we did. But maybe you can find a better option than do a crazy all day travel from Vietnam to Laos. You can also scrap Laos altogether like this itinerary.

When we book this trip, we didn’t really thought about what we will do. We just booked the cheapest flight that we found. Haha! You can do better. 🙂 That’s if you are willing to gamble like what we did here since basically, I didn’t find the same itinerary of what we did when we planned this. LOL Laos was the odd one out but I really wanted to visit Vang Vieng. No regrets though because Vang Vieng is way better than what I have dreamed of. 🙂

Finally this is it. 🙂 I will try my best to continue writing the everyday happenings but most of the non-personal details are already here. You can ask me anything if you have more questions about doing this adventure. If you ever thought about doing this, listen to that voice.

No matter what other people tell you, doing what you love is the best thing in the world EVER! Go and seize it. YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE so make the most out of it. 🙂 You can’t bring possessions to your grave but memories live forever.

Cheering on you,

Migo & Miga

This post is at TripZilla’s Blog. Shared also at TripZilla Philippines Facebook Page.

13D12N of Adventure – an Instagram and Facebook Recap


Before continuing the story of our Indochina adventure in Vang Vieng, Laos – our longest city stop, let us reminisce the adventure with our everyday updates. Instagram updates were done by the wife (me) and super amazed that the husband voluntarily joined the fun by posting in his Facebook page. Hurray! I have Pokemon Go to thank for since if not for it, the husband surely wouldn’t get a mobile internet and a new phone. Haha!

Here’s the day-to-day activity from our albums & linked to the blogs:

Day 0 – Flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia

Day 1 – Temple Hop in Siem Reap, Cambodia & night bus to Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Day 2 – Historics in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Day 3 – Day bus to HCMC, Vietnam & night life

Day 4 – HCMC, Vietnam & bus back to Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Day 5 – Multi-transport to Vientiane, Laos

Day 6 – Vientiane, Laos

Day 7 – Vang Vieng, Laos
Day 8 – Vang Vieng, Laos
Day 9 – Vang Vieng, Laos & multi-transport to Bangkok, Thailand
Day 10 – Bangkok, Thailand
Day 11 – Bangkok, Thailand & flight to Manila
Day 12 – Manila, Philippines

Will update this post as soon as I’m done writing the remaining activities from Day 7 on wards.

Here’s the 28 insta pics that summarized our activities everyday since August 20, 2016 (the wife’s 30th birthday) to September 01, 2016 (the husband’s birth day count down at 10. birthday on September 10!)

 

In Facebook:

 

Our trip in numbers:

10 leg of transports,7 accommodations, 6 wandered cities, 4 border crossings, 4 flights, 2 stop-overs

How poor have we become?

Will post soon. 🙂

A Day in Vientiane, Laos (Day 6/11)


Fresh from our all-day-all-night city and country hopping, we arrived in Vientiane early morning of our 6th day. Our AirBNB host was away on vacation so we were told to be at the place exactly at 2 PM. His maid will only be there at that time.

When we get off the sleeper bus, we saw other tourist get on a cab. It looks like a multi-cab here in PH. The driver also called us so I took it as a blessing. Looking for a ride can be a hassle. We paid 30K for the ride to the city center.

The ride took around 30+ minutes. It must have been short without the Friday morning grind. When we get off the bus, I asked the driver for directions to our place. But as we were about to start walking, the direction I thought was different from that of the husband.

We argued a little and he got angry with my distrust. It didn’t last long though. After a while, we were back to being lovey dovey. If there’s one thing I love most about traveling together, that would be our camaraderie. We were a team in everything. And I’m quite certain that we wouldn’t have the same output when we are with other people. In a group, I tend to be the Alpha but when we are together, we take turns in being one. It is also a blessing that our strengths are different because together, we make an awesome blend. I’m good with planning and research while the husband is the navigator. He takes my plan and find a way to get us there. I’m all about the positives and he, the negatives. I am in charge of the time and he takes care of the money.

Early Check-in Blessing

Locating Singsanti’s place was quite hard. The people that we asked were not familiar with the land mark, Capitol Residence but after a while of walking through the streets, we found it. As we were deciding where to go next since it was still early for check-in, someone approached us. I noticed her passed by a while back. She asked if we were the AirBNB guests. After our nod, she called someone and told us the maid will be here in 5 minutes. We were surprised. She was in a hurry to leave too so I didn’t get the chance to asked who she was.

The maid arrived after a while. Singsanti’s maid doesn’t speak and understand English so I wasn’t able to ask her who called. She led us inside and toured us around with just signs. I was quite amazed. Who needs English?

Like Phnom Penh, the early check-in was a blessing. It was still around 8 so we decided to just settle and rest first before starting our tour.

The husband then asked what’s our itinerary for the day. Buddha Park was the only thing in my list but I didn’t OC-ed on the details. He proceeded researching on a way to navigate.

Vientiane in 1 Day

We went out of the house at 11 AM and were famished. Our first order of business was to find a place to eat. There were a lot of places to eat in Vientiane, from Singsanti’s place we went back to where we were dropped. On the way we find a quaint cafe in the corner.

Over lunch, the husband talk me out of going to Buddha park since it’s about 2 hour ride round trip and the last bus back to the city center is at 4:45 pm. It was very time consuming. He wanted to visit the temples instead since it’s just nearby. But I wouldn’t budged.

Buddha Park

After eating, we walked to Vientiane Capital bus station. By tuktuk round trip from the city center, Buddha Park would cost 220K so we took the bus since it’s only 12K round trip. We arrived in Buddha Park at around 4 PM. It was quite good since only a handful of tourist were around since it was almost closing time.

Buddha Park was just as I thought. The husband was not impressed since he wanted the temples so much cause of Poke stops. Haha!
image
image
image

Vientiane at Night

It was almost 5 PM when we arrived so we hurried to the temples. Unfortunately, they closed at 4 PM so we just took pictures outside. We walked to the riverside after.
image

image

There were lots of locals at the riverside jogging and walking. Then we went to check the night market. The husband wanted to buy shirts since he used all his clothes already. Our scheduled laundry is still in Vang Vieng. Unfortunately, there were lots of cool stuffs there that we bought more than we actually need. Lol

Because we were not too famished, we went to eat at a roadside stall. We had noodles and squid for me. They were yummy and only cost us half of what we spent at lunch in a chic cafe. We went back to the night market after since the husband wanted a “Pikachu” shirt. But the shirt was too big. When we get to the Alphabet shirts, we were quite amazed at the meaning of the 1st letter of our names. K for “Keep walking” and M for “Memories in the making”. Together they meant pretty awesome so we bought it.

As we we were about to leave, a cool designed skirt caught the husband’s eye. It was nice but too expensive for my taste but the husband was strongly for it so who am I to say no? Haha! Having a husband who makes you look good is rare these days so I always feel favored.

We ended the night at a chic cafe enjoying gelato and macaroons. Because we were both spent, we just tuktuked back to Singsanti’s place which we felt pretty overpriced at 50K. I haggled it to 40K (5 USD).

image

Expenses:
Starting LAK: 1, 757, 000

Brunch 135, 000
Wallet 15, 000
Ticket 90, 000
Bus#14 12, 000
Buddha Park 14, 000
Drinks 11, 000
Bus#14 12, 000
Sub-total: 289, 000

Magnet 15, 000
Keychains 50, 000
Lao Shirts 90, 000
Skirt 75, 000
Shirt 50, 000
Magician 2, 000
Dinner 34, 000
Ice Cream 42, 000
Tuktuk 40, 000
Subtotal: 398, 000

Breakfast 65, 000
Misc 5, 000
Subtotal: 70, 000

Grand Total: 757, 000
in PHP: 4, 322.00
* rate is 1000 LAK equals PHP 5.70

Itinerary:
07:00 AM Vientiane Bus Station Tuktuk to City Center
07:20 AM City Center
08:00 AM Singsanti’s Place
11:00 AM Left Singsanti’s
12:00 PM Lunch at Chez Cafe
02:30 PM Departure to Buddha Park via bus #12.
03:30 PM Buddha Park
05:30 PM Back in the City
06:00 PM Riverside Night Market
08:00 PM Streetside Dinner
10:00 PM Ice Cream
11:00 PM Singsanti’s Place

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"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." - Proverbs 13:12 NCV

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