Trip to Twin Lakes, Sibulan

The Twin Lakes are a famous place to visit in the area of Dumaguete. It is very beautiful and cool, because it is in the mountains. Sometimes the landscape looks almost european, if it wasn’t for the palm trees. Here is a description how to get there, I couldn’t do this better.

Because we were four people plus a puppy, we hired a personal guide who drove us in a van. We paid for everything 2500 Pesos, around 50 Euros. For this price he was available as long as we wanted. On the way back my friend took advantage of the arrangement to buy and load a big plastic box in the car. Anything goes in the Philippines :-).

It was a nice and peaceful day as you can see here.

Streetphotography in Dumaguete

I already moved on to Bacong, but before I talk about that, here are some impressions of Dumaguete. It’s not always pretty, but that’s streetphotography. Which means I just walk the streets and take pictures in automatic mode. Everyone can do pretty, right?

It is only a selection. I also always update my pictures page with all pictures. Editing WordPress on the tablet is a drag, I can’t do it as nice as I like, but try my best. Click on the first picture and you can see the title and move to the next.

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Finally arrived in Dumaguete

After a long trip I finally arrived yesterday late and moved in Carlo’s Place. My room is pretty big with a kitchenette and a huge aircon. I only turn it on for a few minutes sometimes to cool off and that’s enough. 

The place is not pretty as such. It’s in a compound and right now I’m looking at a wall on the opposite side when I sit on my porch. If you want it idyllic, don’t go here.  But it’s alright for me, and I pay only 16 € per night. I get a good vibe from the place and the people and it’s quiet besides an annoying dog and roosters in the neighborhood.

Took my first walk to do some shopping and walked along the streets and the Sea side to adjust myself to the energy of this place. Everything is so different. Loud, chaotic, but at the same time relaxed and you actually smell the air. Gasoline, the ocean, food, fire, always something. I didn’t know that I missed all this.

Of course everything here is new. Although I have friends here, I’m still alone which is the point of my trip. There are moments of insecurity, like will I be able to make new friends or does everyone think, I’m a weird older lady and stays away from me? But I’m trying not to think like that.

Anyhow, this is one of the reasons for my trip. To find my center and not worry about such things because I am good enough for myself. If I’m happy and open, everything will fall in place.

Back in Manila

Back to Manila after a year. It feels strange and familiar at the same time, but I am happy I don’t have to deal with the city, just in and out the hotel basically.

Trying to get to the Philippines from Frankfurt

I had to cancel my flight with Cathay Pacific because Hongkong ist closed. and booked a new one with Kuwait Airlines. At least now I had a travel mate, my friend Edwin who recently moved with his family to the Philippines, was on the same flight.

The flight was uneventful and on time. We had a long stopover at the airport in Kuwait and I ate an overpriced, but delicious Szechuan Chickenburger, whatever this is, it was spicy!

Shake shack

After another flight nine hours later we finally arrived here in Manila. Right now it is surprisingly cool in Manila, only 28 degrees Celsius.

Staying in the Savoy Hotel

The Savoy hotel was a good decision. Hotel is pricy for here,around 60 €. But free airport shuttle, nice big room, hot shower and a cool bar at the swimming pool! I am planning on living modest and I don’t need much. But after a long trip like this it is nice to spoil yourself with a little extravaganza.

I went out and the area here is not bad at all. That is where you can see the impact of the growing middle class, or let’s call it gentrification. Nice restaurants, clean streets, no beggars. Of course, probably walk 15 minutes and the world looks different. It’s not the reality.

I went to a simple chinese noodle restaurant and had seafood noodle soup. Now, this kind of soup is very simple and good. Basically seafood, noodles and some greens in hot water, no extra spices, I really like it. It cost around six Euro, but this is because of the fancy area and next to the expensive hotels.

Noodlesoup

So, it was tiring, but a good trip and I am looking forward to finally arrive in Dumaguete this afternoon.

 

 

Dumaguete – the city of friendly people

Dumaguete has the reputation to be the city of friendly people and will be my first adress for at least five days.

I have four more days before I leave and I am thinking of the first time I visited Dumaguete. It is a friendly little town and the surrounding area is beautiful. I searched YouTube, there aren’t many videos about it, but I found a nice one. It shows how pretty it is.

Besides the beautiful nature and culture, Dumaguete has some nice bars and restaurants along the boardwalk where I would go any time by myself without concern. Being an older white woman alone there is like being a Unicorn, it’s rare, but I had only positive attention. The place felt very safe and it is lively until late.

More about it, when I am there.

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Banaue rice terraces in Luzon

Banaue rice terraces in Luzon are part of the world cultural heritage and so beautiful. Even before the first time I came to the Philippines, I fell in love and wanted to go ther. In December 2016 I was the second time in the Philippines, visiting my family for four weeks. I decided, this time I should do it and on my own to learn how to get around alone.

How to get to Banaue

The best way to get there is by bus from Manila. Every night at 9 pm a bus goes directly to Banaue. Detailed information you can get here. The bus takes around 9 hours. I recommend to take a jacket, my bus was very cold, it was 18 degrees Celsius, outside in Manila it was around 35 degrees. It is the only reasonable way to get there. This trip with a motor bike or a car can take much longer and can be dangerous because of the road conditions. Maybe it is dangerous with the bus as well, best not to think about it too much…
 
When, after a long, cold and tiring bus ride, you finally reach your destination, be prepared for the next shock. If you travel like I did in January, it can be cool and rainy there. The best time to travel there is from June to November.
 
The bus stops on the road, which is above the center of Banaue. It is possible to walk down stairs, but I would not recommend to search for it. At six am it is dark and the stairs are hard to see when you don’t know exactly where they are, and can be slippery. There are plenty of trycicles waiting to bring you to town.

Accomodation

Because Banaue is a small tourist spot, this is easy. There is a hotel a little outside the city, where I stayed two nights because I wasn’t feeling well. It is nice, big rooms, hot shower. But it is very touristic, I saw many families and travel groups. In the evening they had a “cultural event” with performances from native people, the Ifugao. I don’t think it is very authentic, in any case I didn’t care much for it.
 
Besides the Banaue Hotel are plenty of Inns in the village, which cost around 10 Euro per night. After I felt better, I moved down to the village. My room was simple, but clean and had a cool shower. But I liked it better than the Hotel, because from there you can access everything by foot.

What to do in Banaue

The landscape is stunning and definitely visit the Banaue rice terraces. In the town you will find many tour offers, from the Inn or tourist offices. In my case I was lucky, I liked one trycicle driver I took a ride with and made a deal with him. I paid him 20 Euros for a whole day to take me around with the trycicle. He was a great person and definitely more educating than the silly folkore in the Hotel.

I learned a lot about the people and the history in two days. And I learned how to chew betel, but one time is enough…
 
I have a good intuition with people because I am experienced in travelling. It does not mean I never misjudged, but usually I am lucky, so I take my chances. If you are not so experienced or insecure, I recommend to search a tourist office or speak with your host who will organize you a guide. Maybe it costs some more, but feeling comfortable with your environment should be your first priority.  In any case, it is a very safe place.
 
I really enjoyed the Hot Spring in Hapao. If you don’t have a tour guide already, you can take a trycicle to Hapao and there you can hire a guide. I would not recommend to do the trail alone, it’s not worth getting lost to save a few euros. The trail goes through the Banaue rice terraces, very beautiful and not too hard.
 
There is also a museum in Banaue, which I found great and you find good information about the culture and history of the Ifugao people. And of course, my favorite thing to do, walk around, watch people, talk to people and enjoy the beauty of the country.
 

Puerto Galera and Whitebeach in Mindoro

Visiting Puerto Galera and Whitebeach in Mindoro was my first trip alone. This was in May 2015 and it was very exciting to travel with the bus to Batangas and find my boat. My family gave me instructions and brought me to the bus depot. But still, it was my first time in South East Asia, everything was so different. And because in May it was close to 40 degrees celsius I was melting away.

I don’t really recommend the place for a solo female because there is nothing much to do, it’s more a place for old white men looking for girls… It is poor except for some restaurants and bars. But there are plenty tour offers for sightseeing, diving etc. and some beaches close by. I only visited Whitebeach, which is safe for single women travelling solo in the Philippines and it has plenty of bars and restaurants where I was always treated friendly. In the evening it gets loud, almost every bar has a stage for Ladyboys to sing and you can imagine…

How to get to Puerto Galera and Whitebeach

It’s not far from Manila, you only need to take a bus or drive to Batangas and catch a ferry to Puerto Galera or directly to Whitebeach. This was my first trip on my own the first time I visited the Philippines and it’s easy. Usually someone will approach you and offer assistance when they see you are a stranger on your own. That helps, but don’t forget to pay something. 50 Pesos (ca. 1 Euro) is good money for a poor person and nothing for us, there is no reason to be cheap.

Visiting Puerto Galera and Whitebeach in Mindoro is fine, if you are staying in Manila and want to get away for a few days. But remember, easy to reach is not like taking a train or hopping in the car in Europe or America.

More info on Puerto Valera: https://www.thepoortraveler.net/2019/05/puerto-galera-oriental-mindoro/

How to get to Batangas: http://www.phbus.com/jam-bus/

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