I have no problems planning on independent trips. But when it comes to family travel, I’m so poor in planning those kind of logistics. I had to get a little help from friends in the travel industry. My requirement was it should be near Manila, have good accessibility for seniors, convenient and relaxing. Friends from Explore8 gave me options (other resorts Batangas, Cavite, Tagaytay, Vigan) but somehow my siblings and I were leaning into Stilts Calatagan in Batangas. Their cottages looks attractive and they have in-resort transport for our senior relatives. Much more, the beach in this part of Batangas looks gorgeous.
I think there was a time in Philippine tourism when we had a “Zipline Craze”. After a few successful ziplines in Davao, Bukidnon and my favorite, Lake Sebu, suddenly, a lot of province I had visited to wants to add a zipline as their attraction. In my head I was screaming “Not another zipline!” as a tourism officer enthusiastically shares their plan on site. In Pangasinan, there’s Balungao Hilltop Adventure view that claims to have the longest zipline in the country at 1.4km long. Honestly, it’s the first time I’ve heard of the municipality of Balungao. If not for Lakbay Norte 5, this would remain out of my radar. And guess what? We get to try their zipline and more.
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.
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.
I’ve always liked resorts with character. As soon as our van drove in at the Anika Island Resort in Sta Fe, Bantayan Island, Cebu, I thought those container-type accommodations look cozy. I haven’t tried staying in one so I was very curious how they manage to repurpose them as lodgings. Anika Island Resort already had a great location along a beautiful stretch of white sand beach on Bantayan Island and the added comfort of their facilities and services makes for a memorable leisure escape.
A 4–5 hours drive in a private van from Manila to western part of Lingayen, in North Pangasinan led us to El Puerto Marina Beach Resort. A resort that seemed to be at its lonesome on the western end of Lingayen Beach. Secluded and far-flung. Within its gate and fenced property is a fairly large area. There’s enough parking space for at least 5 vehicles. There’s a fishing pond, a pavilion for dining and if you look closely by the reception counter, a small pond with an arapaima.