Bauan, Batangas

When everything is moving and shifting, the only way to counteract chaos is stillness. When things feel extraordinary, strive for ordinary. When the surface is wavy, dive deeper for quieter waters.”

Bauan is one of the municipalities in the province of Batangas. Most of its barangays are situated near the coastal area. There are a lot of wonderful beaches in the municipality but most are not composed with fine sands and wide shores. The place is also known for dive sites which have ridiculously abundant in marine life. 


How to get to Brgy. Sampaguita, Bauan, Batangas

From Batangas Grand Terminal, you will need to rider a jeep via Bauan –Mabini Coastal Road. You will need to go to Brgy. Sta. Maria but before reaching Sta. Maria Elementary School right after a small bridge, you need to turn right going to Anilao- Orense Road. There also tricycle available for php 150 good for 3 pax and an additional of php 50 for the next person. This is only for a single trip.

The road going the Brgy. Sampaguita is still under construction. Don’t expect that it is going to be an easy ride. Just make sure to prepare yourself when it comes to the dilapidated road and there is no other way going to the site.

You can choose between the cheapest accommodation to the most expensive. Below are the resorts located at Brgy. Sampaguita, Bauan, Batangas. These beach resorts are situated along the coastline.

See links below for their website and facebook webpages.

There are nipa huts with tables along the coast line from php300 to php500 or you can also set up your own tent near the resort.

I arrived at the location around 12:30pm and only planned for a day tour.  The water was very clear and suprisingly cold. I did not expect that after the challenging road going to the resort was a worth it beach experience.

Travel Expenses:

  • Parking Fee – php50
  • Shower Fee – php20
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Murcia, Negros Occidental

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.”

After my island hopping experience at Nueva Valencia, I decided to immediately go to Bacolod City because I was interested to visit Lakawon Island to try the floating bar, beaches is Sipalay, Campueastohan in Silay and Mambukal in Murcia. However, I did not realize that those destinations are from each other and I also have one day. Good thing, I have a friend from Bacolod City and gave me an overview of the destinations. So, I decided to go to Mambukal due to lack of time.

Mambukal Resort has been existing in Murcia, Negros Occidental for many years. This is one of the main tourist destinations in the province. I was also interested what the place can offer for travelers.

How to get to Murcia, Negros Occidental

Murcia is one of the first class municipalities under the 3rd district of Negros Occidental. Mambukal Resort is the most popular tourist destination of the municipality. Going to Murcia is not difficult and the travel time will only take about 1 – 1.5 hours depending how early you depart from your hotel. From Bacolod City proper, you will need to ride a jeep with Shopping- Libertad route because the terminal is located at Libertad Market. The minimum fare is php7 and the travel time is about 10 minutes but then again it will still depend since Bacolod is already a city and expect traffic. I suggest that you leave early because the first bus going to Murcia is at 4am. However, Shopping-Libertad jeeps starts at 5am, so I was able to take the second trip. Do not expect that the type of buses going to the place is the same buses we have in Manila. It is a rural place, so expect the old school type of bus with a combination of metal rust and wood but it is safe.

Mambukal Resort

Mambukal is a township resort located at Brgy. Minoyan,Murcia, Negros Occidental. The resort is directly governed by the provincial government which was established in 1923 which was to serve as a weekend getaway for the government officials and their guest.

There are 7 waterfalls in Mambukal Resort. You will need to trek with a local tour guide and prepare yourself physically for the uphill and downhill route. However, falls number 4 and 5 are temporarily closed due to big rocks may fall because of the rain.

You also get to experience their hot spring pools with temperatures from 38 – 42 degrees with an entrance fee of php50. I suggest to go there early because the pool area gets crowded by 10am onward.

There are a lot of activities you can do in the resort. Start of with trekking the 7 waterfalls, you can go swimming in their cold spring pools, slide for life (zipline), boating in the lake area, wall climbing, canopy walk, enjoy their butterfly sanctuary and camping. You can visit their official website to get more information. Mambukal Resort

You get to experience different type of butterfly species in their Butterfly Garden for php 30 entrance fee. I departed from the resort by 1am but it took me almost to 2 hours of going back to the hotel because of traffic and the bus stopped many times to get passengers. I also have php150 to the tour guide because they are in shifting schedule. They are only allowed one tour per guide in day.

Travel Expenses:

  • Jeep Fare (City Proper) – php 7
  • Bacolod to Murcia – php 35 (one way)
  • Mambukal Entrance Fee – php 50 per head
  • Hot Spring Pool Fee- php 50 per head
  • Butterfly Garden Fee – php 30 per head
  • Tour Guide Tip- php 150

Nueva Valencia, Guimaras

“If you feel anxiety or depression, you are not in the present. You are either anxiously projecting the future or depressed and stuck in the past. The only thing you have any control over is the present moment; simple breathing exercises can make us calm and present instantly.”

After Garin Farms, I took a bus going to Ortiz Wharf located in the city proper to catch the boat ride to going to Guimaras Island because according to some articles I read, the last boat ride is about 6:30 pm. I also asked some friends from Iloilo City to at least provide me the correct information and according to them they normally extend depending on how many passengers. My plan was to go to Nueva Valencia to have an overnight stay Raymen Beach Resort then island hopping the following day.

How to get to Nueva Valencia, Guimaras

Nueva Valencia is one of the coastal municipalities of Guimaras Island. It lies along the southwestern part of the island. There are boat rides from Ortiz Wharf in Iloilo City going to Jordan Port in Guimaras from 5am-6:30 pm daily. The travel time is only for 15 minutes with fare of php14. From Ortiz Wharf, you can already view the island.

Once you reach Jordan Port in Guimaras, you can either take a jeep via Sibunag. However, it may take you longer to reach your destination because the jeep stops over every municipality. You have an option to take a tricycle and will only take you 45 minutes to an hour going to Brgy. Alubijod, Nueva Valencia with a fare of php250. Since I arrived at Jordan Port around 5:30 pm coming from San Juaquin, Iloilo, I opted to take the tricycle so I can arrive at the location early.

Raymen Beach Resort

I arrived at Raymen Beach Resort around 7pm and asked the receptionist if there is still an available room. Good thing, it was a Friday so there were less guests in the resort. So, I had a bamboo room with fan for php 700 with a double deck bed good for 2. I did not mind that it was just a fan room because other resorts are more expensive and I did not have any advance booking. I slept around 8:30pm and did not take dinner anymore because I already ate mango pizza before going to the resort. The mango pizza from the Pit Stop is a must try food when you in Guimaras.

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Island hopping is one of the major activities when you are in the island. The resort offers a cheap island hopping price for travelers.

  • 1 boat (good for 16-20 pax) – php1000 for the 1st hour then php 300 succeeding hour.
  • 1 boat (good for 11-15 pax) – php 700 for the 1st hour then php 200 succeeding hour.
  •  1 boat (good for 1-10 pax) – php 500 for the 1st hour then php 150 succeeding hour.

Island Hopping Itinerary and Entrance Fees

  • Baras Cave – No Entrance
  • Ave Maria Island- No Entrance
  • Natago Beach Resort – php 50 per head
  • Fairy Castle – Sight Seeing Only
  • Solly Luna- Sight Seeing Only
  • Lamurawan Beach Resort – Donation
  • Isla Naburot – Sight Seeing Only
  • SEAFDEC- 30 head

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I started the island tour at the SEAFDEC (Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center) Aquaculture Department or Aging Marine Station. It is an independent intergovernmental to promote fisheries development in Southeast Asia.

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It develops the fishery potentials in the region through training and to improve the food supply by rational utilization and development of the fisheries resources. Its services cover the broad areas of fishing gear technology, marine engineering, fishing ground surveys and stock assessment, post-harvest technology as well as development and improvement of aquaculture techniques.

With an entrance fee of php30, you will enjoy in fish feeding and a tour guide will be providing a short over-view on how they do the process of aquaculture. It normally takes an hour to finish all the fish cages with different types of fishes such as grouper fish (sigapo), milk fish (bangus), sea turtles and more.

The Ave Maria Island was my next destination. I was really amazed of the live corals and healthy marine life of the island. It also has a small sand bar where you can take great photos, have your moments and snorkeling since there are a lot of fishes.

I personally enjoyed my free dive at the Ave Maria Island because the corals are not destroyed,  there are a lot of fishes under water  and surprisingly the water was cold. One of the islands that I will visit again.

The Baras Cave is few meters away from Ave Maria Island. The boat will dock near the cave then the boatman will assist you in getting inside the cave. There are bats inside and be careful because the rocks are slippery.

The Nagtago Beach Resort is also one of must visit islands in Nueva Valencia. They call it Natago from the word Tago meaning hidden because the beach is surrounded with small islands.

My island hopping experience in Nueva Valencia was one of the memorable activities I did because I got to visit wonderful small islands and  fed large fishes at a very low price. When you are in Guimaras Island, do not forget to go to Nueva Valencia.

Travel Expenses:

  • Boat Fee (Iloilo- Jordan Port)- php14 (one way)
  • Jordan Port to Nueva Valencia – php250 (tricycle) php500 round trip
  • Raymen Beach Resort – php700/night good for 2 pax (bamboo and fan room)
  • Island Hopping- php750 ( 3 1/2 hours)

San Juaquin, Iloilo

“There are things God allows to happen because he knows the outcome is going to be greater than anything we could ever do on our own.”

San Joaquin is located in the southern tip of Iloilo Province. It is bordered by mountains in the north and Sibalom, Antique. West of it is the towns of Hamtic and Tobias Fornier in Antique and east of it the town of Miag-ao, Iloilo.

How to get to San Juaquin, Iloilo

There are daily flights from Manila to Iloilo City. If you plan to visit Garin Farms as your initial itinerary, from the airport you need to ride a van to SM City Iloilo for php70. Then take a jeep ride going to UP Visayas. The locals call it stop light then another jeep ride to Molo Terminal. The fare within the city proper is only php7.

There are many ways on how to go to the Garin Farms. When you are in Molo Terminal, Iloilo City. You can either take the van (php80), jeep (65) or bus (58) via Culasi, Antique. The travel time may take more than 2 hours since they are still getting passengers along the way and will stop by the terminals.
Garin Farms is located at San Juaquin, Iloilo Province which is the last municipality before Antique Province.

There are road signs 2.5 kilometers away before you reach Garin Farms. The bus will drop you the national highway and you will need to take another tricycle ride going to the farm for php10 per person. The farm is about 3-4 kilometers away from the national highway. You won’t need to worry much because the establishment has been existing in the municipality for years.

The Garin Farms has been existing in San Juaquin, Iloilo for years. The farm supplies agricultural, dairy and livestock products to the different provinces of Western Visayas. It is 15 hectare privately owned farm resort in Purok 2, Poblacion which showcases agriculture, leisure and pilgrimage theme.

The resort leisure amenities include a swimming pool, a 5,000 sq.m man-made lagoon located on a hilltop, with fishes and lilies which offers fishing, boating and kayaking, and a 300 meters zip- line which goes over the lagoon and through the trees.

On the top of the hill sits the 101 Feet Divine Mercy Cross, which can be accessed by a 456 step stairway. For those who are not comfortable with the stairways, the resort offers cart services for php 50 one way. However, I suggest to try  taking the stairs for experience but make sure you take one step at a time while enjoying the view.

Along the stairway are life-size and lifelike statues depicting the Creation, Noah’s Ark, Ten Commandments, and the 9 Major Events of the Life of Jesus Christ.

Once you reach the top of hill, you will need to enter a cave towards a magnificent creation that makes you feel in heaven. It is best to go the farm around 8am- 3pm so you can have more time in relaxation and photo ops as well.

I stayed in the farm for 3 hours. They also have a restaurant where you can take your lunch, have a coffee or snack while enjoying the view.

Travel Expenses:

  • Iloilo Airport to SM Iloilo- php 70
  • Jeep fare (SM Iloilo to UP Visayas) – php 7
  • Jeep fare (UP Visayas to Molo) – php 7
  • Molo Terminal to San Juaquin – php 80 (van)
  • San Juaquin to Garin Farms Tricycle Fee – php 20
  • San Juaquin to Molo – php58 (regular bus)
  • Garin Farms Entrance Fee -php150