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Thursday, March 09, 2017

Colibra Island: A Secluded Paradise in Pangasinan


I have been wanting to check out and visit Colibra Island when we first visited Balinmanok in Dasol, Pangasinan. Unfortunately, due to limited budget (how I only wish I would win a jackpot prize in Lotto or in any betting sites), we were not able to push it through. Another reason also is that since my parents were too satisfied of the shore of Balinmanok Beach, they did not want to leave.

During our first visit, I knew for a fact that we are going back to Dasol - that is for sure! The smiles and feedback that I was getting from everyone in the trip was a strong proof. They were all happy; they really did enjoy. So when my Father's Birthday Trip to Calaguas Island got cancelled due to typhoon, without any second thoughts, my Father opted to go back to Balinmanok Beach instead.
Island Hopping at Colibra Island a.k.a Snake Island in Pangasinan

How to get to Colibra Island? Well, it is pretty easy. From Balinmanok Beach, you may rent a boat to do the island hopping which will bring you to 3 islands - Colibra Island, Cabacungan Cove, and Crocodile Island. In our part, when we saw Colibra Island, we were all contented that we decided to just stay there instead.

Boat rental fee ranges from Php1200 to Php1300 - this already includes the entire island hopping, a guide, and life vests. Boat ride would be approximately 30 minutes or so; make sure to leave the mainland around between 6AM - 7AM to ensure much smoother boat ride.

Colibra Island is actually an islet and can be explored in less than 30 minutes. It is a combination of rocky and sand parts. Tip: Do not settle on the part where the boats dock - the waves there are strong and one can barely have a good and relaxing swim.

Strong Waves at Colibra Island

Go for a short walk to the western end part of the island and you will see the best part of the island; the water is crystal clear and warm. It is also the best spot for swimming and snorkeling.

The Best Part of Colibra Island in Pangasinan

Please take note that there are no resorts nor cottages in Colibra Island. There are 4 widely-spread coconut trees which do not really help to give a good shade so do not expect any thing commercialized on this deserted island.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Thoughts in Between Travel: Unspoken Words in Calle Crisologo



Thousands of people have passed by this old street they call Calle Crisologo
Thousands of people are still passing, bumping each other without saying "Hi and Hellos"
At times it is crowded, sometimes one would feel alone
But this street is always mysterious, it could prolly be the cobblestones.
Everyone's busy. Everyone's amused.
That feeling of seeing something for the first time
It's always amazing
Yes, it's always amazing.
The feeling is good!

The array of vintage houses
This sight itself is truly a delight
An eye candy sort of sepia type.
The music of horses' hooves
The vintage shops on the sides
What could you ever ask for?
Ah.. hmm.. a countless selfies, maybe?
Dear, let's capture the memories, por favor?
Speakin' of antiquity and richness
Seem like History tickles one's mind in every step
One, two, three, another step
Sunddenly
My knees tremble...
Shifting from present to past, past to present 
In a snap, I felt
Dislocated, confused, and vice versa

Why is it so perpetually good to look back?
Why do we wish these muted old walls could talk?
Why do we believe that people can just let bygones be bygones?
Why do we desire to relive the memories that have long been deeply embellished?
The answer? None.
The answer. Run.

Thousands of people have passed by this old street they call Calle Crisologo
Thousands of people are still passing, How I wish we could bump into each other again and say "Hi and Hellos"
But then again, I answered none. I ran.
Walking away in the tune of...

We've only just Vigan
White lace and promises
A kiss for luck and we're on our way


Thursday, March 02, 2017

Going Travel Loco Over Traveloka


For the past two years, it seems like I have lost my interest and excitement on airline seat sales. While everybody is spending sleepless nights booking for different Philippine and/or international destinations, I am already satisfied with the thought of seeing other people luckily booking themselves some. I can see them flooding my Facebook timeline with hashtags like #blessed, #SeeYouSoon*Insert destination here*, #seatsale, #PuyatPeroWorthIt, and so on. I also lost the hope in getting big discounts on booking hotels; I am already satisfied with the thought that my reservations got free breakfast, free WIFI, and ahmmm... free cancellation. It seems like anything more than that is next to impossible. To be honest, I could also say that it could be equated to losing interest to travel - or should I say losing interest to no interest at all. Anyone in my age would probably agree. I won't be pushing my luck to get cheap flights or budget hotels. I would not trade a good night sleep just to get myself some petty discounts. Yeah, I know what you're thinking right now, I am a certified #TitasOfManila.

Good thing, Traveloka came to the rescue!

I can no longer remember when and where I heard about Traveloka. Probably, it started when they featured Chasing Philippines as one of the Filipino Travel Bloggers Who Will Inspire Your Inner Wanderlust. See here:

I got curious and started using it - I find it more legit and is user-friendly too compared to other travel discount sites. No need to waste hours just to book a flight during seat sale, Traveloka will show the cheapest flights available from different airlines. Yes, cheapest flights from different airlines are being shown so there is really no need to go to their websites one by one. So, see? Traveloka does not simply save you a lot of money but it saves a lot of your precious time too. I booked my first flight (Singapore) and I was so happy because aside from the discounted rate due to seat sale, I also got an extra Php500 off my total bill. Isn't it amazing?

In short, I got addicted and kept on booking. I even downloaded the Traveloka App on my mobile phone to make it much much easier for me to book my flights and hotels in no time.
Download the Traveloka App - it is available in App Store for Iphone users and Google Play for Android users.
Caution: It's addicting. It's a must-have travel app.
Cool and simple user interface right?

It is very easy to use. Simply type in and select your destination, check-in date, duration, total number of guests, and number of rooms. And whoala! in less than a minute, hundreds of recommended hotels will show on the search results.

You may even filter your searches by star rating, budget, luxury, and location.

Traveloka is not into surprises, secret messages, and hidden charges; they divulge all the information up to the smallest details. It's a one stop shop - no need to jump from other websites to check rates, reviews, and exact location. By using Traveloka, the user can immediately see the images of the hotel, room details, reviews, hotel and cancellation policies.
 

Once you selected your hotel and your preferred room type, you may now proceed to reviewing your booking wherein you will be required to enter your name and contact number. At this page, you may include your special requests too (if you have any).
 
Booking your hotels via Traveloka is very convenient. This newest and most powerful hotel and flight booking app offers a lot of payment options: 1) credit/debit card 2) over the counter and 3) bank counters. Another good news, there's no convenience or booking fee in any of these options!

And last but not the least, and one of the greatest advantage of Traveloka, make sure to key in the promo code. On a regular basis, Traveloka sends promo codes which you can use to get additional discounts on top of their discounted rates.

Take my word, subscribe to their email newsletters, or probably like and follow their Facebook Page. All of their promo codes are working. The most recent promo code that I used trimmed down my total from Php4,698.28 to Php2,523.71. Big savings, right? 

Lastly, immediately after a few minutes of your purchase, a voucher will be sent to your email. Purchase confirmation will also be sent through email and SMS.
Traveloka is so easy and safe to use!

So stop searching and start booking. Let your love for travel be renewed.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Narra Hill: One of Airbnb's Best


We've been eyeing Narra Hill for about more than a year now. It has always been booked every time we try to make a reservation. So, when, one time we saw that it's finally available - in a blink of an eye, we found ourselves going to Tagaytay for our much deserved R&R.
Indeed, Narra Hill is a concrete sample of "What you see is what you get". I took the same shot I have been seeing on their website - and it left me in awe.

Make sure to wake up early to witness this.
Totally amazing!

All photos are taken using my mobile phone Sony Xperia Z1 Compact; I decided not to bring my cameras despite the fact that successfully booking Narra Hill is a rare chance. Why? I simply wanted to get my much deserved rest. I wanted to sleep, sleep, eat, and sleep. Anyways, you can avail their body massage too, which, our group did.

The place is a perfect spot to relax, appreciate nature, and enjoy each other's company. You'll get what I'm saying once you get a taste of Narra Hill's exclusivity. The entire place is serene, quiet, and secluded - a perfect destination for those who want a real "Me Time". It's also a big plus that they serve GREAT food. Tip: Do not plan to go out once you check in, simply avail and have Narra Hill set up a breakfast, lunch, or dinner meal. Promise, you guys won't regret it! 
Would you like to get up when you have this stunning view right in front of your bed?

Breathtaking view from our kubo's balcony.


Want to have your perfect weekend staycation? Book now! Narra Hill is located at Laurel, Tagaytay, Philippines. Enjoy! :)


Friday, January 27, 2017

Bunsuran Falls: The Underrated Falls in Antipolo


I have been to a lot of waterfalls before and I must say that this is the first time that I saw a waterfall as wide as this. Most of the waterfalls that I have been to are tower-high and are somewhat famous. And, yeah, to be honest, I have never heard about Bunsuran Falls. Even if you are going to Google it right now, you would not really see any information about it... yet.

The trek to Bunsuran Falls


Bunsuran Falls is located in Brgy. Calawis, Antipolo City. Not much information are available online or anywhere else since this falls is only known within the locals and by the locals. Mount Purro Nature Reserve in Antipolo helps in promoting this underrated falls by including this as one of their destinations when you decide to avail any of their Trekking/Hiking Activities.

There are no entrance/environmental fees; simply make sure that when you visit Bunsuran Falls, you will help in conserving it since it is part of the Marikina Watershed.


Look at that! It looks like a big satin-threaded wall!
And take note, the water that gushes down the rocks is clear. 
And, ahmm, it tastes sweet too. Try it! :)

Bunsuran Falls might be underrated and could not be considered as magnificent as the other waterfalls we have in the country, but hey, the happiness and excitement that I felt when I saw Bunsuran is incomparably priceless! Besides, as cliche as it may sound, let's remember that the joy of traveling is not always about the destination but it's about the people that you share it with.


Bunsuran Falls definitely deserves a shoutout! :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2017 Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta: Schedule, Activities, Ticket Prices, and How To Get There


The Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is the longest-running sports aviation event in Asia, gathering aviators and spectators from around the world. Expect a weekend of everything that flies - from hot air balloons to aerobatic exhibitions, formation flying to radio-controlled aircraft, paragliding, skydiving, and dozens of on-ground activities.
photo grabbed from http://www.philballoonfest.net/

The 21st Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is happening February 9-12, 2017 at Clark Pampanga. (Rumor has it that this could be the last Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta due to government plans of using Clark Pampanga as our main airport for international flights).

Ticket Price: 
General Admission = Php350/person
Tickets are available through Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta online ticketing portal, SM Ticketnet, event's gate, and Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta offices at Air Ads Hangar in Pasay City.

Entrance is free for children below 3 feet. Paylesser by bringing your IDs; senior citizens are entitled for 20% discount.

VIP Passes = Php6000/person
VIP Passes are inclusive of the ff: priority entrance to the fiesta, complimentary use of the Balloon Launch Patio, access to the air conditioned lounge and toilet, breakfast & lunch buffets, and afternoon high tea.

How to Get There:
Clark Pampanga is approximately 80 km from Manila.

via Public Transpo (a.k.a. Commute)
Take a bus bound for Dau Pampanga. At Dau, take a cab/jeepney/tricycle to Clark Gate. From Clark Gate, take a jeepney to the Balloon Fiesta.

via Private Car
NLEX-DAU
Take NLEX and exit at Dau, Mabalacat City, Pampanga. After the exit, turn left towards Angeles City and another easy right turn into Clark Zone itself.

NLEX-SCTEX
Take NLEX and continue past Dau Toll Plaza - do  not take the Dau Exit. Pull to the right and take the SCTEX on-ramp. From the SCTEX toll booth, take the southbound lane to Clark South Exit. Enter Clark Zone through the Yokohama Complex. At the stoplight, turn right into Roxas HIghway. The Balloon Fiesta will be on your right.

Also, you may hop on to any flights to Pampanga. To book cheaper flights, you may use an Expedia Discount Code

Important Travel Tips:
If you are planning to ride the balloon or to witness the balloon flying and their preps, make sure to be there as early as 4AM. To avoid the hassle, most of the balloon enthusiasts stay in one of nearby hotels in Clark Pampanga. You may use Expedia Promotion Code to avail discounted rates.

(I remember that this is one of the attractions that I missed when I visited Hongkong 2 years ago. A balloon ride giving the visitors a new perspective of the world famous Hongkong skyline). You guys might to try it out here in the Philippines.

For more information, visit http://www.philballoonfest.net/.
  

SKYJET Birthday Promo: Free Airfare on Your Birthday


Celebrate your birthday this year somewhere else as SKYJET Airlines gives away free airfare on your birthday. Have your Birthday Trip on your dream Philippine destinations - may it be on Boracay, Siargao, Coron, and even Batanes!

Here are the mechanics:
1. Birthday celebrant of all ages can avail the birthday promo on the day itself of their birthday month.
2. Celebrants can avail of the one-way free of charge exclusive of DPSC & ASF tickets provided with the following conditions:
A) Celebrant must be booked and ticketed as roundtrip
** Traveling w/ different onward and/or return flight date, subject to fare availability
** Free of charge if the return flight will be on the day itself of their birthday
B) Must be accompanied by 1 full paying passenger (One-Way or Roundtrip)
** Must be booked and traveled together with the celebrant
** One full paying passenger, airfare will be based on system availability
3. Bookings and reservation must be made at least 7 days before the birthday
4. Birthday celebrant and the accompanied paying passenger must be booked and paid on the same date
5. Point of origin can be from Manila or from any of the SKYJET destinations
6. Requirements for Celebrants: Celebrant must bring an original and valid government-issued picture ID with the birthdate imprinted on it, both local and foreign IDs are accepted, for proof such as (SSS, NBI, Driver's License, PAGIBIG, Passport) In the case that the celebrant does not have a government issued picture ID, he/she may bring his/her birth certificate supported by any picture ID (School ID, Parents' ID, Company ID)
7. This promo cannot be used in conjunction with SKYJET's fixed and special promo and discounts
8. Payment can only be made in all SKYJET organic ticketing offices. Reservations can only be made thru (+632) 8631333
9. Not applicable to online transactions
10. Celebrants' free of charge ticket is valid on specified date only with restrictions: non transferrable/non reroutable/non endorsable/non rebookable/non convertible to cash
11. Gift certificates will not be honored with this promo
12. This promo is available until December 31, 2017. Promo is valid during peak dates

For more information, visit https://www.flyskyjetair.com/article/birthday-promo/.



Monday, November 21, 2016

Pililla Wind Farm: Windmills Near Metro Manila


Have you been to Bangui? Are you planning to go to Bangui to see those big windmill? Why go as far as Ilocos, which would be approximately 8 to 10 hours away from Manila, if you can see wind turbines in Pililla, Rizal?

Oh, yes! Taking a selfie with those giant fans I mean, wind turbines on the background is no longer far from reality; one just need to travel around an hour and a half from Manila to visit the newest windfarm in the Philippines.
Visitor Center near the viewing dock

Pililla Windfarm is located at Halayhayin in Pililla, Rizal - approximately 300 meters above sea level and is over Laguna de Bay to capture Amihan from October to March. It is being operated by Alternergy Wind One Corporation and is composed of a total of 27 wind turbine generators divided into 3 clusters with a combined capacity of 67.5 megawatts. The entire windfarm of Pililla is expected to generate an approximate of 150 Gigawatt hours of electricity every year. Wow! That is a lot! And take note that it is alternative and green energy so that means less carbon footprint for us.

Since the Pililla Windfarm has been opened to the public, it has been considered as one of the newest must-visit sites when planning a quick escape from Manila. Most hotels and resorts in Antipolo and Tanay, Rizal are even including the Pililla Windfarm visit as one of their additional tour and travel packages. It is worth seeing, promise! The best time to visit Pililla Windfarm is of course, during sunset.
Giant wind turbines of Pililla Windfarm

How to Get There:
via Public Transpo (a.k.a. commute)
* At Starmall Mandaluyong or at Araneta Center in Cubao, take a van to Tanay Public Market in Sampaloc. Fare is Php70.00.
* At Tanay Public Market, ride a tricycle to Pililla Windfarm. Fare is Php300.00 (one way). Travel time would be around 25 minutes.

via Private Vehicle
* From Edsa, take the Manila East Road and drive through the towns of Taytay, Angono, Binangonan, Cardona, Morong, Banas, and Tanay before Pililla.
* Once you passed the Villa Lorenza Resort, turn left at the fork. This road is heading to Mabitac, Famy, and Real. You are also going to see a signboard that says "To Pililla Windfarm".
* As long as you see the wind turbines get bigger and closer, then that means you are heading to the right way. 😀

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

How to Make Money as a Travel Blogger

"Earning while traveling? Is it possible?"
"Really? How do you earn money from your travel blog?"
"How to make money as a blogger or a freelance writer?"

These are the common questions that I am getting and the same questions I need to answer every time my friends find out that I just got x amount of money from my travel blog. Most of them are surprised and at the same time amazed on the idea of monetarily earning from what was originally your hobby only - Blogging.

I am not a full-time blogger. I have my own 9 to 5 job and I think I am kicking it. Travel blogging has used to be my hobby; one thing that I do during my free time and has served as my stress reliever ever since. I am running my travel blog, www.chasingphilippines.com for more or less 6 years now. It was exactly March of 2010 when I launched it; and after a year or so, my travel blog, my past time, served more than its original purpose. It started getting offers and sponsorships, hence, began monetizing.

Since I am not blogging as frequent as full-time bloggers (digital nomads as what they call themselves) do, I may not earning as much as they do but hey, I can share some tips on how to start doing it while keeping your regular jobs.
 How to Earn from Travel Blogging

The Secret

Stick with your niche
Monetizing the blog could be the pitfall for some or I must say, for most of the bloggers. When blogs start monetizing, bloggers tend to forget their niche and start blogging about anything as long as the price is right. This sometimes draw away the readers and worst, the blogger himself, since they can no longer see the blog that they used to love. If yours is a travel blog, then, be it! Stay as a travel blog.

Maintain a user-slash-reader-friendly-site
Make sure to study how you want your site to look like. Analyze the things you want to be included on your blog interface and how it should be arranged. Yes, in short, spend time in befriending html and xml codes.

Build your value
Establish your credibility. Nowadays, it is very easy for some to simply copy-paste which is a big NO. Search and experience yourself what you are about to blog. If you were able to successfully build your value, you will attract a number of readers; you will have your own set of audience.  

How to Make Money as a Travel Blogger
Earning from your travel blog does not happen overnight. Bloggers invest huge of their time and effort to make it happen and to maintain it. The key is commitment.

Sponsored Posts
Sponsored posts could be written by the advertiser or the blogger himself. Most often than not, advertisers set for the minimum number of words. Advertisers buy a word or set the required keyword that would have the link to the website of their product, travel agency, airline, and/or company. Additional tip: Check the links, it should not be directed to any of the pornographic and gambling sites. Google hates that!

Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate Marketing is a passive income and happens when bloggers partner with companies and receive commissions. There would be a lot of offers for affiliate marketing, make sure to filter them. Aside from considering the commission percentage share, companies that you should be promoting should also have credibility - this is to ensure that your audience will really be clicking and using them and would not be an additional clutter on the blog's sidebar. For example, if what you are running is a travel blog, doing an affiliate marketing with Agoda, Travel Book, and Deal Grocer is exactly what you are looking for.
See Agoda and Deal Grocer at the right part of the blog? That's what I am talking about 
- only work with companies that you believe in :)

Product Review
Companies send bloggers their products for review. Depending on the agreement and contract, review could be in exchange of the product only or in exchange of product plus a certain amount of money. Same thing goes for Hotel/Resort Reviews, these could be in exchange of a free trip and accommodation or a free stay/trip plus an x amount of money too. The latter offer is always much better.

Paid Marketing Campaigns
These are in forms of videos, banners, text links, and/or even social media posts.

 
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