In a span of a decade, I can say I am seeing how Batanes transform. Recently, accommodations are on the rise to cater to the increasing number of tourist in the country’s smallest province up north. While new ones are being built or old homes converted into homestay, a long-time establishment asserts its place in Basco. Pension Ivatan, a small hometel with a restaurant known to serve Ivatan cuisines is already considered an institution. I have seen the trend of dining options come and go in Batanes but this is one of those that has stayed ever since I remember.
Our second day in Nueva Ecija began in Cabanatuan City, with a filling buffet breakfast courtesy of Harvest Hotel. One by one, we lined up for eggs, daing na bangus, batutay, and other breakfast staples. The taho station also got us excited.
The two variants of batutay they served – garlic, and sweet – were just too good to pass up on. And as it were, I had way too many, which was just as well since our schedule that day was jam-packed.
I think the world already knows what happened to Tacloban, Leyte more than three years ago (November 2013). Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) devastated Tacloban and the surrounding areas putting the region on a global spotlight. Pre-Haiyan, one of the fanciest seaside resorts stood in Palo, The Oriental Leyte. It received the brunt of devastation being located by the beach. But three years would be more than enough to pick up the pieces. Along with the province and the city getting back at their feet, the Oriental Leyte was rebuilt. Last November 2016, the hotel opened its doors again, softly to the public.
It was a calm morning. Subtle purple hues dominated the sky. I made my way to the segmented stairs leading to the topmost viewing deck atop the rock where this private resort was named from, La Roca Villa. It was only in this morning light when I can truly appreciate the place. From this higher vantage point, I could see the Greek-inspired structures of the resort. White washed walls, blue domes, a pool and the low-tide shores filled my view. Immediately, Santorini came into mind.
There is so much action happening at San Juan Beach, La Union. The surfing, the chill night life and interesting eats in the area. Right smack at the center of it all is our lodging, Kahuna Beach Resort and Spa. A luxury Filipino-Balinese inspired resort facing the famed shores of San Juan Beach. This was our home for a night during our Lakbay Norte leg in La Union.
Makati is a prime location in Metro Manila. If you’re travelling and looking for a place to stay within this city, initial impression would be that it would be expensive. A bed alone at one of the hostels can cost Php 500–700 alone. But if you have a little more budget and yearning for more space than the four corners of a bed, it is worth checking out Jupiter Suites in Bel-air Makati. More than a decade of experience is its charm and ridiculously huge rooms as one of its key appeal.
My motorbike ride roared through the narrow ascending road hugging the side of the hills. It’s always exciting to step on a new island. In this case, my feet, finally grounded on Tablas Island, the largest of the three mjor islands in Romblon province. I flew into the island via PAL and landed in Tugdon airport. My motorbike is taking me to Aglicay Beach Resort in the neighboring town of Alcantara. My eyes were constantly peeled as I absorb the idyllic landscape of this island countryside. We got off the main road and saw a sign “4km to Aglicay Resort”. I’m glad where I’m staying is only less than half an hour from the airport. As the motorbike took its twist and turns entering the distant baranggay of Comod-on, my senses were captivated by the road side view. The ocean vista opening up its glorious view and the cove just ahead. Stunning white sand beach before us hugged by verdant hills. This is going to be an exciting escape, I thought. Aglicay Beach Resort, my home for a couple of nights in Tablas, Romblon.