Red Butterfly Travel Series: Patar, Bolinao


The first time my friends and I went to Bolinao, it took us more than 12 hours to get there. It’s actually not that far and usually only takes around 6 hours or less (depending on traffic and how fast you drive). The reason it took that long is because we did the Visita Iglesia along the way. We went to 14 churches; from Antipolo to Marikina to Quezon City, all the way to Bolinao, Pangasinan.

Tired and hungry, we arrived around 9:30pm at Bing’s Beach Resort. Tempers flared when we found out that they already gave our room to someone else. Since we didn’t have the energy to look for another place to stay, we decided to just terrorize the receptionists and demand that they give us a room. We ended up spending the night at the reception hall/conference room (we didn’t have a choice). They gave us two rooms the next day. Continue reading


Red Butterfly Travel Series: Boracay


The first time my friends and I went to Boracay, we were greeted by large clumps of floating algae on the beach. Then when we got off the boat, I learned about the 3 stations:

  • Station 1 – for snob, rich or “feeling rich” people (socialites and foreigners included)
  • Station 2 – for people who are neither rich nor poor
  • Station 3 – for locals or really, really cheap people

I know. It sounds really harsh but that’s how it was explained to me. This really made me question people’s fascination with the place. But then I reminded myself that I was on vacation and that I didn’t go there to be bothered by such things. I went there with my friends to relax, enjoy and have fun.

It’s really hard not to like Boracay, what with its white sand (even though I like Bohol’s better), calm waters, its slew of beautiful half-naked people and gorgeous sunsets. I’m a sucker for sunsets. I guess that’s one of the reasons why I eventually fell in love with the place. Continue reading

Red Butterfly Travel Series: Mt. Pinatubo


I was in grade school when Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991. I remember asking my granny why it’s raining sand while I watched our roof slowly get covered in a thick layer of volcanic ash. The eruption was so destructive it killed a lot of people, destroyed a lot of properties and infrastructure, and even caused the earth’s temperature to drop (the volcanic ash reached as far as Russia and some parts of North America).

(photo from USGS)

After so many years of (thankfully) not exploding, this is what the crater looks like now.

When I saw this, it got me thinking; how could something so breathtakingly beautiful be so destructive? I wanted to cry. Seriously. But maybe that’s because I was also thinking: “What the fuck?! More than 3 hours of walking under the sun with blistered and bloody feet?! FINALLY! No more walking please or I will die!” Yes. I was really thinking that. Continue reading

Red Butterfly Travel Series: Potipot


Potipot is an island surrounded by white sand and calm, clear waters. It’s a perfect place to relax and escape the craziness of the city… for a few hours or so. Unless of course you bring your own tent, food and water, and you’re cool with cleaning yourself up with salt water.

When my friends and I went there a couple of years ago, there weren’t any establishments on the island yet. There was no electricity and no fresh water. I’m not sure though if things have already changed. Continue reading

Red Butterfly Travel Series: Ilocos


It was my first time to travel way up north with my friends. When we got to Ilocos Norte, we tried the radio and were so surprised that we couldn’t tune in to any local stations. The radio was only able to pick up Taiwanese/Chinese stations which I find really crazy!

Another travel agency (Lakbay Turista Travel & Tours) arranged this trip for us. East Avian also has tours going to Ilocos but my friends and I decided to try another travel agency for comparison. The 3 days/2 nights package includes:

  • Roundtrip Van transfers (Manila-Ilocos-Manila)
  • Overnight accommodation at Java Hotel and Polaris Beach Resort (Polaris was fully booked so we stayed somewhere else)
  • Day Tours in Laoag, Pagudpud and Vigan
  • Land transportation
  • Entrance fees
  • Room with A/C and cable TV

All of these for only 3,800 pesos (81 USD) per person. The package doesn’t include meals so you have to have a budget for food and “pasalubong”. Continue reading

Red Butterfly Travel Series: Palawan – Puerto Princesa


The last time my friends and I went to Puerto Princesa, people can still go to most of the islands there. That was around 2002 or 2003… I think. I’m not sure. When we went back this year, you can now only go to 2 islands – Pandan and Snake. All the other islands are now privately owned and if you want to go to any of them, you have to pay a certain amount according to the locals.

It was our first time to book a domestic trip through a travel agency (East Avian Travel and Tours). Normally, we do everything ourselves. But since we’re all busy. We decided to let other people handle the stress (LOL). We spent 5,000 pesos (106 USD, airfare not included) each for a 4days/3nights package tour. Not a bad deal considering it includes: Continue reading

Red Butterfly Travel Series: Anawangin Cove and Capones Island


One lazy afternoon, one of my friends texted and asked if I wanted to join him and a few others to go on a road trip to Anawangin. Since I had nothing better to do, I said sure, why not? I haven’t been there anyway and I’ve heard great things about that place.

Since it was a spur-of-the-moment kind of trip, we didn’t have any reservations anywhere. Fortunately, there were still 2 available rooms left at Nora’s Beach Resort when we got there around 9 or 10pm. The place was ok. They have budget friendly room rates. An overnight stay at an AC room good for 4 people costs P2,000 (43 USD). That’s only 500 pesos (11 USD) per night per person.

Nora’s Beach Resort
Brgy. Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales

Continue reading