Travel Kwento: SURIGAO

April 28, 2012 § 6 Comments

Travel Dates: April 11-13, 2013

Travel Companion: Didda, Me, Kite, Laya & Yaya Jhona, Bong and his kids Nik & Max

Backgrounder: I saw Club Tara’s deal on groupon sites na, found it interesting kasi new place, kasi Rhila posted about Jellyfish Lake, kasi si Yaya Jhona taga Surigao. BUT my I stopped myself kasi baka bili bili tapos ma stress lang para gamitin before mag expire. So deadma na.  Tapos nag offer ulit sila nung November so tinignan ko ulit, but ignored it again. But nag text si Bong may Surigao Club Tara daw sa groupon site if we wanna go for summer for the kids. Hmmm sige for summer pa naman. Ayun bili na kami both that night. We ignored the coupon since we dont have our summer sched pa naman. Come January I started checking na sa Trip Advisor waaaahhh the feedback on the resort was so bad 😦 But sayang na the coupon P13,000 din ito. So mind conditioning na lang. I started checking na for flight waaah ang mahal ng flights nila P8000/pax 😦 Pag Cebu Pacific naman no direct flight will go to Cebu muna then Cebu to Surigao at P1000-2000 less per head, hay malaki laki din but baka lalo kaming ma bwisit if sobrang pagod sa biyahe tapos kadiri yung lugar etc etc. Oh well we decided to go na lang via PAL. So far this trip is not going so well. Hmm I was disheartened so dilly dally lang ako. Half thinking if sayangin na lang yung P13k but dyahe naman kina Bong. And am guessing Kite should also experience bad resort para di naman siya puro nice places lang, tsaka maski pa how bad the place is for sure enjoy yan kasami naman fam ni Bong eh. Hay ayun matagal tagal bago ko seryosong inayos ulit yung trip. Mga early March na when we booked our flights. Then upon finalizing with Club Tara doon ko lang nalaman na to reach the resort we have to take a bus/rent a van and the trip is 1 and a half hour long! Tapos need to ride banca pa for another 45 mins. Ha? Eh 2 night lang kami doon tapos tanghali yung flight naku ano pa kaya magagawa namin sa place nila. But at the back of my mind, ok na din para short lang stay namin since pangit ng review sa lugar. Eto pa ang nakaka inis. Alam na na super bulok yung resort, pero acting 5 star sila 😦 if we avail daw of their transfer service we have to pay P1500/pax for 2 pax or P1000/pax if 4 pax or more… imagine transfer lang aabutin kami ng P14,000 for our group or P8,000 for my family! Que horror. I asked how much if we do it ourselves and how is it, easy lang daw and around P6,000-P8,000 round trip if we do it ourselves. yikes I hate pa naman being in a place na wala kang alam and have to rely on asking and haggling but no choice ayaw ko magsayang ng extra P5000 one way. I remember transfer sa Boracay grabe sa mahal eh easy easy lang to do it ourselves. We booked the Sohoton Cave Tour with Jellyfish Lake tour via Club Tara at P1000/pax

PS. P13,000 Club Tara CashCashPinoy Deal is for 2 and full board meals na ito. P16,000 for 4 pax. Free for max of 2 kids below 6 yrs old.

Trip Kwento:

Day 1
Ayun with proper conditioning we are set na. Alam na ng buong grupo to expect the worse and just enjoy being in a new place. Ayun our flight suppose to arrive Surigao at 130pm arrived at 2pm. We went to the bus station and found out the bus left na, although I dont plan to take a bus naman talaga it was medyo kaka tense kasi napaisip ako what if wala ding banca sa pier when we arrive, anyway we hired a van to take us there sa pier. Ok naman but nakaka frustrate/hiya ang system natin. May lumapit sa amin and said P1500 for the van so ok kasi if bus at P200 each that’s P1400 na din naman eh. But when the van came P1700 daw well ok na but nakaka inis kasi naiisip ko kakahiya sa mga foreigner ang mga ganito. We arrived the pier after 1.5 hours and was able to get a banca to bring is to the resort at P1500. Yung banca is small, I sat beside Abet and exacto lang kami, so there’s mga 4 rows. The banca is small as in di ka makalipat ng upuan but stable siya, maski may konting alon di scary, wet lang kasi splash ng tubig. I guess di siya maalon kasi di siya open sea talaga yung dulo is set of islands eh.

Anyway the place looks really nice from afar and upon seeing the room with our expectation so low we were satisfied naman. Thank God for TripAdvisor and their reviews.

We stayed lang sa resort that day, kids went to the pool and we chilled lang then after dinner kids used the jacuzzi in the room. We were told our Sohoton Cave & JellyFish Lake Tour is after lunch. Perfect for us who all hates waking up early. This way we can stay up late if we wish and wake up late too.
Day 2
We woke up had breakfast then the waters were begging for kayak, it was too enticing, so the kids went kayaking while Abet & Bong used the paddle surf. Then when kids got tired and went to the pool, the two boys went kayaking to the snorkling area.

We had lunch and then off we went for to the Sohotan Cave & JellyFish Lake Tour.  We arrived at the tourism area (around 5 mins by boat fromt he resort) when everyone is obliged to stop and pay fees.  I like it that they are very organized, am ok with paying more but the locals get jobs fairly, it does not go to the most agressive instead they all take turns.  We found out upon arriving that for the jellyfish lake we are going to each ride one small banca, and they discouraged bringing Laya so Yaya & Laya stayed sa Tourism Hut.

It was breeding or egg season at the Jellyfish Lake (around 5 mins away from the tourism hut) so we are not allowed to swim, bummer but it gave me a bit of satisfaction to know these boatmen are adhering to the rules, I was half expecting them to allow us in exchange for a hefty tip.  We saw a lot of eggs swimming. By June daw they will allow swimming na and the jellyfish will number to a million.  We did spot a lot of jellyfish but not enough to warrant the name jellyfish lake. Sayang would have love to swim and see it sana but ok na din at least we saw lots naman.

Back to the tourism hut to ride our banca again, our banca is small so we are allowed to use it to go inside Sohotan and need not hire another one, a guide just accompanied us. If I remember correctly fees were P100 each banca to Jellyfish lake then another P500 for the guide who will join our banca to the Sohoton Cave. Sohoton Cave is also a few minutes away form the Tourism Hut.  The entrance is low but we need not lower our head to get inside so tide was perfect upon our entrance, I think the tide gets high at late afternoon so entrance and exit is impassable and those inside wont have a way out (except walk for hours?) But the cave is not really a cave, it is like a whole new world inside, the area is vast and open.

We had 2 stops in there, first is the luminous cave, there’s a small opening and there’s a lake inside and when you take pictures the water is luminous. I didnt get to go in coz am a scaredy cat, but when they told me easy lang I wanted to but Laya was crying na so no na lang.

Next was the jump site, to get to the jump site they have to pass thru a cave and etc. The jump was quite high but Abet & Bong did it.

After that back to the Tourism Hut to drop the guide off then back to the resort. The whole tour took 3 hours. It was the highlight of the trip 🙂  The kids had so much fun they want to go back on June when they can swim with the jellyfish. Back at the resort, we were all hungry and tired… but no food available for order. Diba kaloka? The goods are arriving pa lang that afternoon sabay with new guest coming in. Good thing I brought 2 cans of Vienna Sausage (1 left kasi the kids ate 1 na the night before) & a can of luncheon meat. So I fried them sa kitchen nila and ask them to turn the leftover rice from lunch to garlic rice. Well exacto naman for everyone. Rest rest, nap and the kids playing around. Had dinner then chat a bit but was tired na din and we are to wake up early the next day.

Day 3
Breakfast and leave resort by 9am to get to airport before 12nn for our flight. We stayed in Bastie’s a resto outside the airport that
offers meals and cakes and pastries, coffee and free wifi! Perfect place to stay and wait for flight as the PA system of the airport is
connected to their speakers too. We barely had wifi the whole time in the resort so when a 30 min. flight delay was announced it we were not even bothered nor annoyed 🙂

Overall I would say the trip is fun. Our short stay in the resort was perfect as a even a half a day extension would be too much. A shorter stay also wouldnt suffice as our time is exactly right for our stay. Even the sched of the tour was perfect giving us enough time to eat and do some activities without forcing us to wake up early or rushing to beat time.

Would I go back to the resort. Yes because that is the best place in the area for now but I definitely wont go pay their real rate, will
only go with major discount or coupon deals.

Would I go back there? I dont plan to but I just might for the jellyfish lake.

Was it time well spent? Yes.
Was it money well spent? Maybe not but it’s ok.

Photos at

Travel Kwento: BATANES

April 28, 2012 § 2 Comments

Travel Dates: December 30, 2011 – January 4, 2012

Airfare P12,000/pax (includes travel insurance) booked April 1, 2011; Airfare booked Dec 1, 2011 was at P16,755.20

Fundacion Pacita Family Terrace Suite P9,500/night good for 3 pax, we were charged P1200/night for the extra bed. I booked the room Feb 19, 2011 via website and paid 10% around P3500 then the rest paid to their bank account before we went there although we can choose to settle in cash in Batanes, they dont have no credit card facilities but they are expecting it soon.

Prologue: original trip is Dec 31-Jan4 lang kami kaso Seair texted me around Dec 1 to tell us na the flight on Dec 31 is cancelled and we can either go Dec 30 or Jan 1. I felt 3 days might be bitin so I opted for 5 days. Looking back mas ok sana yung 3 days kaso it would definitely leave me feeling bilin and rushed. Our 5 days there was really long, the last day talagang wala na kaming ginawa. And becuase we have such a long stay na usisa namin ang mga kwarto, naka pag bike kami sa city and etc etc sa akin ok ako sa long stay namin but I know Kite & Didda was bored na nung last day. But good na din kasi now we dont have an urge to go back parang na-namnam na namin siya ng husto.

Tour choices from Fundacion Pacita:

Whole day Batan Island Tour P2100/pax if 4 pax – lunch included

Half Day Northern Tour P1,790/pax if 4 pax – lunch included

Half Day Southern Tour P2,000/pax if 4 pax – lunch included

Sabtang Tour P2,350/pax if 4 pax – lunch included

I also found out we can rent a car at P350/hour (yung rent a car nila pala with driver di pwedeng we drive around) or P3000 for the whole day then if we want a guide too that’s P1000. I asked lang eh mas mura if we get the car and the guide and ask the guide to do the North or South tour with us. So ayun ang ginawa namin. I requested for Roger kasi yun yung isa nirecommend sa akin sa FB. Pag dating sa FP I was asked which Roger kasi 2 daw Roger nila waaah. I just googled and hope the Roger I will google is the right Roger.

*turns out he is not the Roger Ivan of Old Manila Walks was refering to, yung Roger daw is in his 30’s or 40’s fyi.

Travel Diary:

Day 1 (Dec 30) flight was 5:15am, we didnt sleep na kasi we left the house mga 2:30am and to be sure we are in the airport by 3am, kaso our car broke down, new car siya more than 1 year old lang and it broke down so the pessimist in me was asking hmm sign ba ito? well syempre inasikaso muna everything and we were able to leave mga 3am na, dahil madaling araw we got to the airport by 330am, flight was delayed mga 6am na nakaalis. We arrived Basco around 7:30am na. Grabe ang lamig!!! I have been monitoring the weather via yahoo and it says 22-24 degrees and ang Manila daw is 28-29 so I didnt  think it was THAT COLD! hay naku naku naku I kept visiting blogs and nakikita ko shorts and tank tops mga suot, then Abie’s blog said she is not prone to sweat but her dormant glands came alive (yes I know different season but basta yun nga. We went to Baguio mid December and it was less than 20degrees yet ok lang kami so di ako nagdala ng jackets namin! (Yes I know I know, lesson learned na…) Anyway, ok naman mga damit namin kasi I can layer BUT the worrier in me was stressing kasi nga walang jacket. I hate it kasi I prepared and researched.

Well after airport we proceeded to Fundacion Pacita na and was told the rooms are being prepared pa kasi kakaalis lang ng mga guests so have breakfast muna. The breakfast was yummy 🙂 Shortly ready na ang room. I also learned pwede mag pa cargo ng gamit via seair so I scrambled to call the house to prepare the jackets etc para mapadala but yun nga walang flight the next day so our jackets arrive Jan 1. (Malamig lang sa Batanes nung Dec 30, 31, nung Jan 1 di na gaanong malamig grrr, nung Jan 2 & 3 in fact maaraw pa!) I also took the waiting time to find out about tours and booked a tour guide and a car for the next day.

Ok after breakfast we slept lang sa room. Nagising kami 3pm na, had lunch then marvelled at the place lang, picture dito picture doon. Our lunch was super yummy! Bistek na ma garlic and ang sarap at P350 na good for 2 na; then rice is at P30 each and then P120 yung pako salad with yummy vinagrette. Total bill for lunch was P970. Not bad.

Ang siste sa FP, they will ask you lang to choose among the menu for the day ano gusto mong ulam usually it’s 2 dishes lang to choose from.

Yung breakfast set meal yun and kasama sa room cost so walang pili pili dyan. Ang breakfast nila if you are ordering is P350/pax.  Mas mahal pa kesa sa lunch.

We asked din ano ang New Years Eve festivities ng place, di pa daw alam ang plans kasi lahat ng supplies and paputok is nasa barko pa, it left Manila and dapat daw by Dec 24 nasa Batanes na kaso yung last leg ng barko eh di makatuloy tuloy dahil sa lakas ng alon, the fruits on board nga daw are pabulok na. The supplies in the barko is not just for FP but the whole town, mga tindahan daw wala na halos benta and their bigas are really low na sa supply. According to Sec Abad they flew in rice na that day for the town.

Day 2 (Dec 31)

Northern Batan Tour (I chose Northern muna kasi mas malamig yung Southern and wanna wait for our jackets muna).

Our tour was supposed to start at 9am so gising and eat breakfast at 8am, ready na kami by 9am waah the tour guide wasnt there. By 9:30 di na kami natutuwa so Didda said let’s wait na lang sa room tamang tama si Laya want milk na, so we went sa room, shortly after he arrived na, we said wait a bit kasi tulog si Laya. Well off we went sa tour, he apologized kasi daw he was hesitating kasi mukhang uulan, actually sa city daw raining na so sayang lang yung tour if raining etc. Then he proceeded with his tour and kwento about the place, wow impressed kami kasi he is really good and knowledgeable about the place, political leader siya so madaming alam about the city talaga.

We went to Radar Station, Ijang (mga fortress na bato lang no big deal but it was along the way and took maybe an additional few minutes lang so no sweat; Boulder Bay; Rolling Hills (I super love this place!) then nag mamadali na yung tour guide namin bumalik kasi mukhang malakas daw ang ulan so we didnt go na to the lighthouse, we went straight to eat na at Batanes Seaside Resort, dahil Dec 31 wala nang ibang bukas we ate there and the food was blah! pancit bihon and lumpiang shanghai na made of fish and soup na parang tinola na mas maalat ng konti and it was P250 per person! eh yung food namin sa Fundacion na ang sarap na eh sa Fundacion pa was P970, itong sa Batanes Seaside na walang ambiance tapos di masarap eh P1000 grrr at this point I was thinking ulit ok ba yung guide or are we in for a ride… baka maling Roger yung nakuha namin?

Pagasa Station

Boulder Bay

Rolling Hills

Anyway the tour was roughly 3 hours lang including our lunch na mga 45 mins so parang yikes ang bitin yata and ang daming kulang based dun sa IT ng North Tour ng FP.  But when I asked him if we settled with FP or sa kanya he said direct na lang daw, and dun he didnt charge us day rate for the rental ng car instead per hour lang and he charge P1000 for himself so total namin was P2050, ahh bumalik ulit tiwala ko kasi I was ready to pay P4000 na. Madami kaming mga di napuntahan itong day na ito like the Mt Carmel Church and the Lighthouse in Basco.

Secretary Abad's Garden - pang movie!

Upon arriving sa FP we were told we are invited da by Sec Abad for New Year’s Eve daw, just go to his house (within the FP complex naman) at 10pm, have food daw.  We went naman kaso di naman mahilig makichika sila Didda & Kite, tapos Laya was sleeping na so we just dropped by I was really secretly hoping si Pnoy was there as visitor eh, nagpa picture lang ako with Sec . Abad and Patsy (yung girl sa P200 bill) then shortly after eating Didda & Kite went ahead na to the room, ako chumika pa ng konti. Sarap ng Ivatan Adobo 🙂 And super nicey ng pamilya Abad, so nice and accomodating.  Tsaka parang fellowship night siya since other hotel guest were there too. I wuld love to stay if only its not 12 midnight.

**I saw sa bill ng isang guest sa office (tambay kami sa office kasi doon ang wifi, yung 3G namin sumpungin eh minsanok minsan mahina) Coconut Crab so pwede pala umorder doon but feeling ko mahal sa sa town na lang ako kakain.

Day 3 (Jan 1)

Tour of Southern Parts. Dahil nga laging nag dri-drizzle I opted to schedule the tour agad, dapat kasi rest day then tour day after kaso naisip ko what if umulan tapos di pa kami maka tour so pina sched ko na itong tour maski alam ko baka late kami magising dahil nga new Year’s Eve the night before. We just started the tour at 11am. Ito the tour was 6hours long. We went to lots of places. Super notable are the view deck na may mahabang stairs, yung Marlboro Country, and the whole place actually. Ang sarap ng lamig. Although umaambon ambon and paminsan minsan lumalakas ang ulan, sinuwerte kami kasi everytime we reaches a place it stops raining so drizzle lang or sandali lang humihina na. Aside from di kami nakapunta dun sa lighthouse sa South part walang nasira or nagulo sa sched namin because of the rain. Yun lang I worried lang baka magkasakit si Laya. So may mga places na pinuntahan kami na di ko na si Laya pinapababa ng car.  Also the car Kuya Roger brought this day was a rickety old FX. We arrived back sa FP mga 6pm na kasi we started the tour at 11am, also we went to the places na di namin napuntahan the first day like Lighthouse & Mt Carmel kaya din siguro humaba ang tour. I asked Kuya Roger to find saan makakain ng Coconut Crab kaso wala, most places kasi were close pa tsaka hibernate time daw ng crabs.

Marlboro Country - can't get enough of it

When we reached FP nag ask ako if may Coconut Crab nyeks ubos na daw kasi reserved na, ayun maski mahal sabi ko the next day hanapan nila ako.

Day 4 (Jan 2)

We relaxed lang itong day kasi we were able to go to all places na eh. On our own lang kami so mga after lunch nag tricycle kami ni Didda to Basco and went places, we checked out the other resorts para in case the Vespa Club wants to come eh naka occular na kami ng rooms. Then we went biking around the place. Cost: tricycle fetched us from FP then we went to Pension Ivatan (may bakery kaso maguumpisa pa lang magluto ng bread), Casa Napoli (closed), then Post Office (dyan daw pinanganak si Pacita Abad) Tricycle cost was I think P160 (may computations sila for ilang stops, ilan yung distance and also ilan minutes waiting time sa stops). We then walked around merienda sa SDC Canteen then we rented bikes na P25/hour each bike. Sakit na pwet namin tsaka legs kasi may mga uphills tapos 1 hour lang pala yun.  Then while biking may naamoy kaming baked bread smell so takam na takam kami so mega bike to look for bakery kaso wala, sa SDC lang yata but the bread we ate there was not what we were looking for. Ayun we went back to Pension Ivatan kasi nga by then dapat baked na mga bread nila, ayun dun namin na realize na ang tricycle sa Batanes eh tinatawagan pala, so we called FP to ask a tricycle to pick us up. Initially kasi ang plan was tricycle bring us to town then pasundo na lang kasi sa FP pabalik, but since we wanted pa to go to Pension Ivatan’s bakery we figured tricycle muna tapos doon na kami sunduin ng FP. But after buying bread ayaw na namin maghintay so pahatid kami again sa tricycle to FP this time tricycle cost was P130. Pag dating namin sa FP tamang tama papunta na si Kite & Laya & Yaya to the office so ayun pinasakay muna si Laya sa tricyle ikot ikot.

Dinner namin was Coconut Crab. Buti na lang nagbilin ako kasi hirap din silang makahanap ng crabs but they were able to find for us.  It is yummy kasi ANG DAMI DAMING aligue nung crab, but ang luto nila was parang they steamed it lang eh. Mas yummy pa din for me ang Shanghai Crabs… drool!

Coconut Crab. If you want to eat this you gotta go there, it is not allowed to be brought out of Batanes.

Day 5 (Jan 3)

Last day na namin but wala na kaming maisip anong gagawin, Sabtang is not an option kasi di ako papayag isama sila, mag worry naman ako about the kids if iiwan namin sila ng ganyan katagal and walang 100% assurance makabalik kami kasi may chances ma strand if pangit talaga ang alon.  So wala kaming plano for the day. So we explored FP further, may access kasi ang FP na papunta sa beach nabasa ko sa blog, so ayun ang ginawa namin, josme ang haba haba so mga 3/4 or maybe halfway ayaw ko na kasi ok lang yung pababa but I can imagine if we went all the way down anong hirap yung all the way back up. It was really nice yung stairs so ok na ok na ako maski di kami bumaba sa beach.  After that may time pa so inaya ko si Kite & Didda to go to the rolling hills again since nagmamadali kami when we first went, eh ayaw nila so me, Laya & yaya na lang. Hay grabe ang ganda talaga nung place. Yun nga lang di maganda picture ko kasi si yaya nag picture :(. Tricycle lang din kami again. Round trip cost us mga P260 yata including waiting for us for mga 30 mins while we picture picture there.

Back to room, pack na ng gamit. Then relax and settle na ng bill.

Day 6 (Jan 4)

Woke up yaya had breakfast sa resort kaloka P350 yung congee na kinain niya, kami hindi na kami kumain kasi wala na yung free breakfast kasi we ate breakfast upon arrival, we went straight na to airport. Dun sa airport since tapat ng airport yung Pension Ivatan dun kami kumain, we ordered a several Ivatan dishes to try out.

Please check out pictures at

May mga captions na din mga pictures.

The end 🙂

Super duper thanks to Roslyn for answering my never ending last minute questions; to Jade for her trip with Summer and Winter ayun kaya ako biglang nag decide kaya namin; Abie for her pictures and kwento (ayy sandali di yata ako dapat mag thank you dahil sa iyo Abie shorts dala ko! hahaha joke lang) and Peachy Juban too for her files on Batanes.

Hanggang sa susunod na lakbay 🙂

Please do email if you have questions. Would love to help naman.

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