Thursday, April 24, 2014

GLIMPSE | Big Lagoon, El Nido, Palawan

“Memory cannot produce a picture that Imagination has not retouched; and her pictures, even the ones least touched by Imagination, are no mere photographs, but the world of an artist.” 

― Henry de Vere Stacpoole, The Blue Lagoon

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Las Cabanas Beach Resort, El Nido, Palawan

Destination: Las Cabanas Beach Resort, 
El Nido, Palawan

When in El Nido, and you are done island hoping A, B and C, Las Cabanas Beach Resort, located about 3 km south of El Nido town is a wonderful location to go to if you have some more time. Going here is one of the alternative inland tours in El Nido whenever weather and maritime services issue gale warnings. This is where Rome and his group headed after trekking to Nagkaalit-kalit Falls.

The beach resort doesn't have access directly from the main road. They were told that they need to hike for 5-10 minutes to the beach. Their group hesitated when they saw the muddy road leading to the beach but eventually decided to go through.  Magnificent silhouette of El Nido's signature limestone cliffs greeted them upon arrival. Trembling in cold, they stayed in the nearby beach bar to rest and ordered coffee. The view gave warm to Rome's heart. Las Cabanas occupy a great spot in El Nido showcasing glorious stretch of coastline and uninterrupted view of Bacuit Bay. "When not raining, this spot is the best for beach wedding", Rome thought.

Haven't tried to stay here yet but Rome's planning another trip sometime in August . This place is recommended if you are avoiding the crowds and bustle of El Nido and looking for a total relaxation, stay down town if you want to party.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How to Rent in London for Less

 Living in London can be an alluring prospect. Between the great food, the clubs, the diverse population, and great employment opportunities, London can provide a wonderful city in which to live. With all of those options, however, comes some great expenses; overall, London is one of the most expensive cities to live in throughout the entire world.

Typically, 30 – 40% of someone’s salary goes to their living expenses. Because London is much more expensive, though, some people spend around 50% of their income. The great news is, though, that living in London on a budget is possible if you are smart about your finances. Every once in a while, you may want to thin about getting payday loans online. Follow these tips below to help you live in London for less.

Keep track of Watts Used for Appliances

Domestic appliances can cost a great deal of wattage—and, therefore, money—for your flat rental. A standard dryer uses up to 4,000 watts of energy for a home and can cost you a great deal. Instead of drying your clothes in the dryer, consider using a clothes line outside or hanging wet clothing in the bathroom or other rooms to dry. Microwaves, dishwashers, and kettles are the next highest offenders for energy use and can be used less, when possible. For example, use dishwashers and dryers only when fully loaded. Instead of using your microwave oven to thaw food, try letting it sit inside or outside to thaw more naturally. If it would save money in the long run, replace your current domestic appliances for more energy efficient models.

Use Less Energy Overall

Lighting your flat or home will account for nearly 20% of your energy bill. For this reason, you should turn all lights off in rooms that you are not using at the time. Additionally, you should replace all traditional light-bulbs with energy saving bulbs that will cost less. Energy saving bulbs consume 80% less energy and can save over £60 per year. While those savings don’t seem like much money per month, every little bit of money helps save in the long run.

Televisions and computers that are left on or standby can lead to an increase in your energy bill by 10%. Even when they are off, televisions and other appliances are often still pulling power from the outlet. If you go away on holiday, unplug your television, microwave, or other similar domestic goods to save even more on your bill.

Lower your thermostat overall. A couple of degrees less can account for a lowering on your monthly bill of 10%. If a radiator in one of the rooms is rarely used, turn it off. Likewise, make sure to patch any leaks and avoid any blocks to the system.

Get a Roommate

One of the ways to best cut down on rent is to live with one or more roommates. With one roommate, the rent can automatically split in half—depending on how you split it—and more roommates also adds to the discount. Having roommates also enables you to split the cost of groceries, utilities, cable, Internet, and other house necessities. Even if the flat doesn’t have two “official” rooms, you might consider splitting a single room or creating a makeshift room from another room.

Find the Right Neighborhood

Camberwell, Elephant & Castle, Earlsfield, New Cross, and Walthamstow are just a few neighborhoods that feature more affordable rent for great areas. The nightlife, club scene, and great restaurants might be lacking in a few of these neighborhoods, but with the lower rent you pay in them, you can easily afford to jump on the Tube and travel to your entertainment. And when you do use the Tube, don’t forget your Oyster card to get the best deals on transport.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Nagkaalit-kalit Falls | Trekking Through El Nido's Lost Water World

Destination: Nagkaalit-kalit Falls
Barangay PasadeƱa, El Nido, Palawan

In a shrinking world where the beautiful Municipality of El Nido receives hundreds if not thousands of visitors a day this summer, the Nagkaalit-kalit Falls remains less-visited and a semi-secret attraction in the UNESCO's managed resource protected town filled with hidden caves, limestone cliffs, colorful coral reefs, crystal clear sand beaches, blue lagoons and incredibly friendly locals. Seeing it won't earn you a plus star of "has been" but you really can claim to be a globetrotter extraordinaire.

The last time Rome and Trixie went here, all island tours were cancelled because of Tropical Storm Kajiki (Typhoon Basyang) hitting the municipality. With nothing to do, they decided to trek to the falls. Trekking to Nagkalit-kalit Falls is one of the alternative inland tours in El Nido whenever weather and maritime services issue gale warnings. 

Swizz tourist Daniel and his Filipina girlfriend Jazmine who were also trapped at Cliff Tower Apartelle joined them in an attempt to paint the gloomy day full of colors. Rome’s cousin and owner of the apartelle , Mabel, arranged for the trip at Php 350 per pax including a visit to an inland beach.

They left the apartel after lunch, bought snacks and water from the town proper and off they went to Nagkalit-kalit Waterfalls via tricycle. It was raining non-stop on the drive from the apartel through the expanse of verdant jungle of managed resource protected area town. The road to Nagkalit-kalit Falls was bumpy and muddy 20 minutes tryke ride. One gust of wind and they were drenched in the spray. Still, it was fun accompanied by screams and laughers. Plus, they were treated to wonderful sceneries of tropical rain forest and farmlands as they passed through billowing clouds and mists almost covering the distant tropical forest. "El Nido has some jungle with untouched rainforests, vast mountain ranges and not just limestone-surrounded lagoons and long stretch of beaches", Rome said.

Warning: This little adventure is not for the faint-hearted:  the walks cover rocky and muddy (on rainy days) terrain, steep climb and crossing a total of 7 rivers and streams for thirty to forty-five minutes to reach the falls. You need to be physically and mentally prepared to climb carrying your belongings in a rucksack in trying circumstances. It can be tough, slippery and involve some scrambling, so prepare to get your hands dirty and your muscles stretched.

They pass through some rice fields, then winding jungle trails and the challenging slippery trail. At first, they hear a dull and distant rumble of Nagkalit-kalit Falls announcing itself before they see it. As they walked through the dense rain forest that surrounds and protects the falling water the rumble becomes an ever growing thunder....

More walks and there it is! A small and humble waterfalls that is about 10 meters high. Not as majestic and just a raindrop as the others he have seen. David tried to dive from a rock and swim through the cold water. They stayed for almost 30 minutes watching the cascading waters while eating their snacks and photo shooting. 

For Rome, their adventure to Nagkaalit-kalit Falls was refreshing enough but didn’t seem remarkable. The limestone-surrounded lagoons and long stretch of beach beauties in El Nido live up to their legend... and that's where I bring you on my next blog posts.

Note: The lack of rain during hot summer days and the effects of changing climate have been known to dry up the river that supplies water to the waterfall. Better check a local tour guide before signing in for a trek.