Friday, March 21, 2014

GLIMPSE | Nagkalit-kalit Falls, El Nido, Palawan

Rome and Trixie were stranded in El Nido and unfortunately, all island tours were cancelled when Tropical Storm Kajiki (Typhoon Basyang) hit the municipality. Trekking to Nagkalit-kalit Falls is one of the alternative inland tours in El Nido and this was what they do. Full post next!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

When People are the Tourist Attraction | Sungka - Philippine Mancala Game

Stranded: Rome and Trixie were stranded in El Nido on the first day of their holiday. All island tours were cancelled when Tropical Storm Kajiki (Typhoon Basyang) hit the municipality. 

They met Swizz tourist Daniel and his Filipina girlfriend Jazmine who were also trapped at Cliff Tower Apartelle. With nothing to do after breakfast, the couple started playing Sungka to throw away their boredom. 

They watched as the couple play. Sungka is a kind of Mancala Game in the Philippines played on a solid wooden block with two rows of seven circular holes and two large holes at both ends called "head". Daniel has just learned the traditional Filipino board game and they were amazed when a foreigner and a first timer to play the game won several times. Trixie tried it but was also lost. Lol!

I can't remember the last time I played this game. Like you, I shun away the classics such as Chess, Domino and Scrabble in favor of expensive computer consoles, mobile games and oh, flappy bird to keep me entertained. Sungka maybe a good old fashioned game but it improves mathematical thinking, teaches patience and observation skills. It makes the family sit around the table and spends quality time.I seriously doubt kids these days don’t know how to play Sungka anymore. Sure, there are word and number based games available in computers, apps and Facebook that provides more excitement which is why it's preferable. 

There has to be an acceptance that life is different now but game play should always be an integral part of family life. Family can still connect and play together, digitally. In fact, Sungka can be downloaded from Google Play already. 

Later on that afternoon, they decided to hike to Nagkaalit-kalit Falls and visit Las Cabanas Beach, alternative inland tours in El Nido when island hoping is prohibited. And that’s where I’m going to bring y’all on my next posts.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Travel Savings Add-Up on Holiday

Getting out enjoying the sights and sounds of new destinations is a rewarding holiday pastime for couples and families looking for a change.  Travel stimulates a wider world view, even if limited to trips close to home. What you spend on vacation depends on where you go and what kinds of activities you undertake while there, but no matter what type of getaway you are planning, there is always room for saving some money on holiday travel.

Of course, advanced planning supports the quest for budget travel, simply because you'll have more time to uncover deals, but even when holidays spring up out of nowhere, following proven money saving approaches can lead to substantial reductions in the cost of travel.

As you set to embark on leisure travel, use whatever resources you can latch on to for holiday savings.  That way, you'll be ready to plan your next outing with money saved on travel.

Travel Technology Helps Users Stay on Top of Deals

Fabulous vacation bargains are worthless to you if you don’t know about them, so staying informed is your first step toward travel savings.  Luckily, the travel planning landscaper is more consumer friendly than ever before, hosting a variety of resources for would-be travelers.

In days past, travel services provided the best access to timely information about fares and schedules, as well as inclusive vacation packages.  For a fee, professional planners did their best to book pleasing outings for travelers at all spending levels.  The other way to compare travel costs, which is certainly still an option today, was to contact carriers and hospitality providers directly, to gather quotations about the various travel options available to you.

Technology has pushed travel planning ahead exponentially, especially the Internet, which allows users to investigate travel options in a much more efficient way then was possible only a couple decades ago.  Picking the best travel arrangements, especially based on price, is enabled by multiple online travel search providers, furnishing up to date information about alternatives being offered by airlines and others serving the travel industry.

Airlines, for instance, operate in a highly competitive environment, which responds to market conditions quickly, changing fares and availability on a moment's notice.  Comparison websites harness the information in real time, creating ready references for travel shoppers.  Other changes have also occurred within the air travel industry, such as paid baggage service and other add-on costs, so it is important to be mindful of these potential expenses when comparing rates online.

Travel sites yield power in the industry, because they help influence where travelers spend money.  As a result, they have bargaining abilities leading to savings for users who book with them online.  Bundling needs like rental cars, hotel nights, and air travel, for example, leads to savings at Internet travel sites, because they have negotiated deals with providers.  Bundled services, in general, are worth looking at when planning budget travel, because all-inclusive trips often shake-out as better values than trips put together by travelers plugging in each essential holiday need individually.

Notifications Keep you Up to Date

Once you are serious about a particular destination or holiday time-slot, it is easy to stay abreast of good deals within the travel industry.  Travel services often include email notification options keeping your finger on the pulse of fare changes and other savings potential.

Even flexible search parameters can be plugged-in, furnishing updates about discount opportunities flying to neighboring airports, for example.  While rigid dates and destinations are commonplace for holiday travelers, those with a certain degree of flexibility in their travel schedules sometimes land the best savings.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Cliff Tower | Long Staying Apartelle in El Nido, Palawan

Are you planning on staying longer than the usual three days/ two nights in El Nido, Palawan? Then consider staying at Cliff Tower Apartelle located in the quiet area of the town few steps away from the crowded El Nido shoreline. Owned and manage by his cousin, Cliff Tower was where Rome and Trixie stayed in while on vacation in the beautiful town of El Nido last January.

Rents are sky-high in El Nido particularly during summer. Control your budget and make your money go as far as possible. The apartel is offering a month of stay for as low as Php 10,000.00 only, including taxes. The facilities at the apartel are basic. It has five rooms, each with an en suite. 2 of which are air -conditioned and the rest are fan rooms. Bring your own toiletries, if you forget, there’s a store nearby to purchase. Cable TV and Wifi access are also available at the common area.

Long-term tenants are the tower’s main clientele but they are open for daily accommodation if there’s vacant room. An Australian tenant who is residing on the second floor for two years has moved to the third floor. Rome and Trixie occupied the just vacated room. Cheap and comfy, the budget room offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and rocky cliffs through the glass windows.

The apartelle was under construction when Rome was there but his cousin and her husband were speeding up the construction of the building to be completed before summer starts. Previously, she's the Project Development Officer of the municipality and Civil Engineer by profession, Rome's cousin and her husband are proud to offer a unique experience, adding that it was never about luxury.

'Our market is more the traveler, long staying tourist and locals but we have all type of people coming here because it is so remarkable.'

Cliff Tower Apartelle is located at San Juaquin St, Buenasuerte, El Nido, Palawan. For bookings, questions and reservations, please contact Mabel Cornel at 09071419196.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Room Review | Melvo's Garden Bed & Breakfast, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

What prompts a man to go from being an aspiring Information Technology expert in the Philippine Capital, Manila, to becoming the owner and host of a garden bed and breakfast in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan? A desire to finally fulfill his true purpose? An early mid-life crisis, perhaps? Or simply acting upon those reflective conversations we have from time-to-time about moving back to the countryside and working for ourselves?

Melvo's Garden Bed and Breakfast, a 15-minute ride from the city's center has been open and is checking in friends and hotel’s spillover of guests for less than a year. What's obvious from the moment I checked in is that owners Alexandria, Mae and Jedrik (who hung up his computer job in Manila to live the B&B dream), my nieces and nephew, have the kind of hospitable enthusiasm for their new lives. Funded by their parents, Melinda and Voltaire ( Melvo ),  they bought a vacant lot and constructed this 10-room bed and breakfast in Barangay Tiniguiban. What followed next was an ongoing construction of in-house restaurant, garden landscape, and hopefully, swimming pool.

Without any experience in tourism and hotel industry - 'except staying in them' - the siblings worked on, learning as they go. Hurtling towards their first year milestone, they tell me stories about their funny and learning experiences from the guests who stayed and that it's 'been tough but worth it'.


The concept behind Melvo's Garden Bed and Breakfast is that Puerto Princesa, the Philippines’ gate to last frontier, doesn’t stop and end at the front door of this B&B. Tourists and guests are encourage to discover the city and the whole province. If you are travelling to Puerto Princesa City, either by group, family, or couple and are hunting for quiet, affordable and pleasant rooms to spend the night in, it's better be Melvo’s. 

As a true blue Palawe├▒o who worked in a hotel in the city some time ago, I have to say that unless you are paying for the five-star experience, hotels are pretty characterless over the city. You have to explore Honda Bay, Underground River, Palawan Museum, Churches, Mitra’s Ranch, Ugong Rock, Crocodile Farm, San Carlos River and many more that your three days and two nights are not enough. You just need comfortable accommodation at night to rest and sleep and then go again on the following day.

So what can visitors expect inside Melvo’s rooms? 

There were two of us, my friend Trixie travelled with me going back to my hometown. We took the air-conditioned, double bed, ensuite room equipped with cable flat screen TV hanging on the wall against the beds, electric fan for extra cooling and body-size mirror. These 10 rooms have closet and private bathroom complete with basic toiletries and can accommodate up to 4 persons for just Php1600 nett, inclusive of personalize breakfast. The B&B maybe a bit hard to find but is 5 minutes away from Robinsons mall.

In spite of their relative inexperience, it seems that my nieces know enough to not scrimp on the essentials. The beds, though a little bit hard, are comfortable and have clean sheets. Plus, fluffy towels and a lovely hot and cold shower! And they have strong wifi connection! This is far removed from your average B&B.

The great breakfast will be featured tomorrow on my food website: The Cuisineuer. For room rates and other questions, please contact Jedrik Juani's Facebook account.