A-MAZE-ZING Sunflower🌻🌻🌻 the First Ever Sunflower Maze in the Philippines

A-MAZE-ZING sunflower

Are you planning to go to the A-MAZE-ZING Sunflower in Tayug, Pangasinan? You probably need to know this information and tips.

Announcement:
For the information of everybody, Allied Botanical Corporation announced that starting March 1, the sunflower bloom will begin to wither and fall. However, the maze, the edible and flower garden herb patch and vegetable showcase will remain open. 2nd set of bloom to open by 3rd week of March. Though the maze will still be open, you cannot witness the sunflowers in full bloom. It will be advisable to visit on the 3rd week of March since as of today, as I write this, the sunflowers are starting to wither.

ABC sunflower announcement

From ABC’s Facebook Page

 

How to Go There: Ride a bus from Cubao to Tayug, drop by Sta. Maria and take a tricycle to Allied Botanical Corporation at Brgy. C. Lichauco.

Travel Time: 3-4 hours

Budget: Approximately P1100 ( Bus 350×2 way fare, Tricycle 50×2 way fare, 100 Entrance Fee, 200 Food)

Best Time to Visit: Weekday or early morning on the weekend. People started to get thick at 9 am during weekends. Better to come early to enjoy the view and have a chance to do your OOTD pictorial with fewer people around.

Recommended Outfit: Warm cotton and comfortable clothes because the heat of the sun is scorching hot this summer season. Preferably shorts and tees ( something that will dry up easily when you sweat). Don’t forget to bring umbrella or cap.

Availability of Food Within the Area: You do not need to worry for there are enough food stalls standing along side of the farm where visitors could have snacks and lunch. Prices of food vary but still affordable.

 

Amazing Sunflower

So do you think you are ready? Prepare your OOTD for the 2nd set of bloom to open by 3rd week of March. Enjoy the A-MAZE-ZING Sunflower, the first ever sunflower maze in the country!

 

— And —

If ever you want a side trip, visit Our Lady of Manaoag Church.

Manaoag ChurchOur Lady of Manaoag Church

 

How to Go There from ABC: Ride a tricycle to Sta. Maria, take a jeepney and drop to Carmen where buses to Manaog are stationed.

Fare: P50 tricycle, P30 jeepney, P45 bus

Travel Time: 1-1.5 hrs

What to Do: Reflect and pray, light candles for your departed loved ones, make 3 wishes and come back when any of them came true (according to devotees).

Manaoag

 

 

There you go, A-MAZE-ZING Sunflower and Manaoag Church in just one day for an almost Php1300 budget. Amazing indeed! 🙂

life is beautiful, sunflower

21st Philippine Hot Air Balloon Festival

21st Philippine Hot Air Balloon Festival

 

I was so eager to attend the fiesta when I learned that this year will be the last year.  The 21st Philippine Hot Air Balloon Festival is a 4-day event of hot air balloon presentations, aerobatic exhibitions, formation flying to radio-controlled aircraft, paragliding, skydiving, and dozens of on-ground activities. A total hot air balloon fiesta as described and marketed. So, together with my friends, a brother, and a cousin, we went to witness the so-called “A Weekend of Everything that Flies”.

From Cubao, Quezon City, we ride a Five Star bus to Dau, Pampanga, paid a tricycle ride worth Php100 per person to arrive at the main gate of Clark, walked approximately 500 meters towards the entrance of the ground, fell in line for 30 minutes, waited for 1 hour and witnessed a 45-minute depressing show. Out of 20+ balloons, only 7 or 8 flew as far as I could remember. The rest were just decorations on the ground. I was expecting that all of the balloons will fly simultaneously but it did not happen due to the weather condition as they announced.  It was sad that I expected a lot from the event and I believe I was not the only one who felt the same. Anyway, I did good shots of the balloons and the sunrise in Pampanga was astonishing so it lessened my displeasure.

Hot Air Balloon in ClarkSunrise at Clark, Pampanga.

 

Philippine Hot Air BalloonOur very own Philippine Hot Air Balloon.

 

Hot Air Balloon Festival 2017

 

Hot Air Balloon Festival 2017Balloon Pinching.

 

Hot Air Balloon in Clark, Pampanga

Hot Air Balloon Festival 2017Hot Air Balloons getting prepared for flying.

 

So far, this is one of the most crowded events I have attended and I was not really disappointed, I mean totally, I was just saddened of the poor organization of the event. From the event logistics and the event turn-out.  A lot of people were also dismayed by it. I think the organizers can improve the next year’s balloon fiesta if there is any.  I still want to attend the next year, though.

Hot Air Balloon Pampanga crowdAverage of 20,000 people joined the crowd daily.

 

How much damage did it cost?

Event Ticket – Php 370 (Php350 + Php20 Admin fee for Ticketnet)

Five Star Bus to Marquee Mall – Php 129

Tricycle to Clark Main Gate – Php 100

Jeepney from Clark Main Gate to SM Clark – Php 8

Lunch – Php 145

Jeepney to Dau Bus Terminal – Php 8

Victory Liner Bus to Cubao Terminal – Php 139

Total: Php 899 (Not that bad)

 

 

See you next year! 🙂

Travel Trouble Confession: How I Forgot to Get My Passport Stamped Upon Arrival at Poipet Border

I am writing this to share the most unintelligible move and the most stupid thing I did in my latest travel to Cambodia from Thailand. How I forgot to get my passport stamped upon arrival. It was funny and stupid but it made me a better traveler now. I hope this will not happen to anyone.

Aranyaprathet Poipet borderAranyaprathet and Poipet land border stamps.

 

What Had Happened?

Upon my exit to Thailand at Aranphrayet border, I passed the Cambodian Immigration in Poipet and walked straight to Siem Reap without my passport stamped upon arrival. This happens when you are not in your proper self and I hated it. This is the most stupid thing I did in my whole life yet. I did not realize it because I was busy checking on my ride to Siem Reap at 8:00 in the evening. I saw the Arrival Hall but I disregarded the line and continue walking outside until I was haggled by drivers and barkers at Poipet border and voila, I lost my senses.

After spending 30 minutes of looking for Mekong Express van which I reserved prior to my arrival, I get into the van and felt assured that I could finally go to Angkor Wat the following day. But I did not realize it until I felt something was wrong in the middle of my journey to Siem Reap. I sensed that something is missing. I thought what the heck, I do not have my arrival card with me? I started to feel hot flushes when I check my passport and found out that it was not stamped. I wanted to go back but I didn’t. What is the matter with me?

 

What Happened After?

I was a little cool but more bothered then that I am traveling to Cambodia as an illegal alien though I had still managed to go to a small tour of Angkor Wat in the morning of the following day. In the afternoon, right after lunch, I went back to Poipet border to get my passport stamped. Another problem arose, there are no buses traveling to Poipet that afternoon. Another option is to ride a taxi but I need to pay 30USD. I said no and looked for another option. I transferred to another booking station and found a 10USD shared taxi.

I arrived at the border past 3:00 pm, bone-tired and nervous that I have to endure the most embarrassing moment in my entire life. I went straight to the Arrival Hall, got an arrival card, filled it up and fell in line for stamping. When it was my turn, I was asked by the Immigration Officer when did I arrive and I said: “I arrived yesterday”. He handed back to me my passport and arrival card and pointed me to the police. I was more nervous when the police said: “Oh, overstaying”. He then passed me to another police, probably his superior. The senior police checked my passport, and said, “you overstayed” and he asked, where are you going? Are you going to Thailand? I explained that I came from Thailand yesterday and forgot to have my passport stamped. I honestly told him that I went to Siem Reap already and came back to have my passport stamped. He smiled a little, maybe amused by my situation and said: “So you came from Siem Reap already?” I said yes with no reservation. He told me to pay 200 Baht, but since I do not have Baht currencies, I paid 10USD with no question. He got my passport and told me to wait. I was finally relieved when he came back after 5 minutes and have my passport stamped, attached is the arrival card. I think he stapled the arrival card to make sure that I will not lose it and be in trouble again. He handed me my passport and I felt like flying in the air, finally ending my struggle. I thanked him so much and he said I should not forget it the next time I travel. He was nice and thoughtful, though I do not know if collecting money from me without a receipt is illegal or not and what fine did I pay for. I did not understand and I did not care actually. What important to me that time is to have my passport stamped so I can continue my journey to Vietnam.

 

Lessons from Aranyaprathet/Poipet land border crossing:

1. Travel in the morning. Sometimes the line in the immigration gets busy and very long, the early you start, the better. The border crossing at night time is also unsafe. I will not recommend it to newbie travelers.
2. Do not leave the immigration without checking your passport. Remember you will have two (2) stamps at the border. One Departure and another one for the Arrival.
3. Relax. Border crossing could be overwhelming sometimes, so you need to budget enough time and do not rush (they said but I did not listen).
4. Be mindful at all times.

 

Still, good luck crossing Aranyaprathet and Poipet borders 🙂

6 Top Reasons Why I love Traveling to Bangkok, Thailand

BTS Skytrain1. BTS Skytrain – This is the most convenient mode of transportation in Bangkok. Interchanging trains is easy and hassle-free except during rush hours between 7 am to 9 am and 5 pm to 7 pm. You can avail the BTS Skytrain One-day Pass for only 140 Baht valid for unlimited rides on the date of issue or registration. The One-day Pass is ideal for travelers. Single Journey Ticket is also available valid for a single journey, with fare according to chosen destination. (starting at 15 baht, up to 50 Baht per journey) BTS Skytrain service runs between 06:30 and midnight. BTS Skytrain is a great way of exploring the city.

 

Thailand sky2. Climate – Thailand is a tropical country so expect a warm welcoming sun throughout the day during summer. You can wear soft and warm comfortable clothes, except of course for visiting temples in which conservative clothing is required. Walking shorts and soft tees, and flip flops or flats are recommended. Just a feel-good and simple outfit may do in Bangkok.

 

Bangkok Nightlife3. Nightlife – The city of Silom is alive at night. Ladyboys and Dream boys as what they call them are flooding the streets and alleys of Silom offering services. Bars and restaurants are most visited by tourists and travelers to unwind and to feel the vibes of Bangkok nightlife. Spa and massage are the popular forms of relaxation before ending a frantic day.

 

shopping4. Shopping – Night markets are awesome places to bargain local products for souvenirs. You can haggle prices and sellers will actually tell you to do it. Patpong is one of the famous and populous night markets in Bangkok just across the Silom Complex. Chatuchak night market is also an option.

 

5. Temples & Monuments – Thailand is home to amazing historical temples and monuments. Aside from Wat Pho, Wat Arun and the Grand Palace, the old city of Ayutthaya is remarkable and a must-see site. This is a UNESCO heritage site so don’t skip it. Also, don’t forget to hire a Tuktuk in Ayutthaya. You can’t walk from one temple to another because of far distance.

 

6. Thai Food – There are varieties of food ranging from cheap to expensive but I like cheap and delicious Thai street food being served hot.  You can buy a stick of steamed dumplings or tempura for 10 baht. They are clean and fresh even if they are sold along the streets.

 

Happy traveling to Bangkok, Thailand!

Mt. Ulap Traverse Dayhike

 

Mt Ulap

MT. ULAP TRAVERSE DAYHIKE

What could be a better recess from work and study than hiking?

I have once read this phrase, “In the mountains, there’s no fear. No fear of the past. No fear of the future”. Whoever wrote this line is brilliant. This is true because the mountains can make you feel how small you and your worries are. In the mountains, you feel alive and co-existent with nature.

I decided to join a solo hiking trip last week and found many amazing stories. Different stories from people and nature. A muscle scorching experience turned into something different kind of adventure.

As a solo joiner, I appreciated every moment not having to talk to anyone else and not having anyone telling me what to do. In short, I am free as a dove in a white-blue sky.

As much as I love unplanned trips, I managed to be prepared for this one, somehow. I make sure to bring necessary things like slippers and extra clothes. I settled to join Adventure Passport since I decided quite late. I am thankful to Hannah who accommodated me. At once, I thought that this hike will be a difficult hike without friends to talk to or to take a picture with, but I was wrong. This is so far the most spontaneous, free-spirited version of myself in a trip.

I made this blog to share with you what you need to know before hiking Mt. Ulap. Wherever you are, I want you to know that Mt. Ulap is one of the most hiking-friendly mountains I have hiked. Not to mention the popular Gungal rock formation which is amazingly crafted by nature, Mt. Ulap is definitely been on top of the mind in particular.

Short preview:  Mt. Ulap is composed of 3 peaks: Ambanaw Paway, Gungal, and the summit Mt. Ulap.

 

MT. ULAP Traverse Dayhike

Entry point: Brgy. Ampucao, Itogon
Exit point: Brgy. Sta. Fe, Itogon
LLA: 16.2904 N, 120.6312 E, 1846 MASL (Mt. Ulap)
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 2-3 hours
Specs: Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 1-3,
Features: Grassland and pine ridges, scenic views of the Cordilleras, burial caves
Article from Pinoy Mountaineer

Follow the Official FB Page of the Mt. Ulap Eco-Trail, Ampucao, Itogon, Benguet https://www.facebook.com/pg/mtUlap/
Email: ampucaolgu@yahoo.com
You may call Text numbers 09284831133/09461159154/09463404561

 

Arrived at Itogon for registration at 3:30 am.

Mt Ulap Eco Trail

 

Mt Ulap Eco Trail

 

We started the trek at 4 am from Ampucao.

 

Reached the 1st peak, Ambanaw Paway at 6 am.

Ambanaw Peak

 

 

The scenes on the way to the 2nd peak.

Mt. Ulap sunrise, Itogon

 

Ambanaw Pawy

 

Mt. Ulap

 

Mt. Ulap

 

Mt. Ulap

 

Mt. Ulap

 

At Gungal, the 2nd peak.

Gungal

Gungal

 

The Gungal Rock formation is the highlight of the hike.

Gungal

Gungal

 

 

Finally reached the summit at 10:00 am. Happy and proud to have survived Mt. Ulap!

Mt. Ulap

 

Mt. Ulap

 

 

Mt. Ulap

Mt. Ulap

 

Mt. Ulap

 

Trekking down to Sta. Fe.

Mt. Ulap

Mt. Ulap

 

Pine trees lining downhill is a beautiful picture but be careful with the steep course trail.

Mt. Ulap

Mt. Ulap

 

There are few Sari-sari stores along the way where you can have your snacks.

Mt. Ulap

Mt. Ulap

 

At Sta. Fe exit point.

Sta. Fe

Sta. Fe

End of hike 🙂

 

Side Trips:

Lion’s Head at Kennon Road

 

Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls

 

 

Updated Fees:

Mt. Ulap Eco-Trail Fees Latest update!
As of Jan. 21, 2017
A. Registration Fee/ Tourism Ecological Fee (Day Hike/ Camping)
Local/ Foreign/ Excursionist
XXX
XXX
Students (Above 18yrs old) Php50.00
B. Camping Fee
Group of ten (10) people and below Php800.00
C. Guide Fee
Day Hike Php600.00
Camping Php800.00
Note: One (1) local guide only for a  minimum of group of seven (7) individuals
D. Porter Fee
Day Hike Php500.00
Camping Php800.00
(Maximum load is 20kg per porter)

 

 

Itinerary:
DAY 0 (Saturday)
10:30 PM – ETD Cubao
Day 1 (Sunday)
3:00 AM – ETA Itogon, Benguet: Register and secure local guides.
3:45 AM – Orientation
4:00 AM – Start Trek
6:00 AM – 1st Peak – Sunrise before or at Ambucao Paoay Peak
8:00 AM – 2nd Peak – Gungal Rock formation
9:00 AM – Resume trek to summit
10:00 AM – Summit – Mt. Ulap
10:30 AM – Start trek down
12:30 NN – Sta. Fe exit point
2:00 PM – Ride van to Baguio city
3:00 PM – ETA Mines View, etc
4:00 PM – Ride down to Kennon Road to Bridal Veil Falls
5:00 PM – Bridal Veil Falls
5:15 PM – Back to Manila
9:00 PM – ETA Cubao

 

Things to bring:
1. Jacket
2. 1-2 liters water (depends on how much you consume)
3. Trail food
4. Flashlight/ headlamp (trek starts at 4am)
5. Packed Lunch (you can buy this at the jump off area or bring your own food pack)
6. Trekking pole (only if you are used to it)
7. Extra clothes & slippers

 

Mt. Ulap Traverse Dayhike + Baguio side trip
Event fee: PHP1300 or around USD26
Inclusions:
– Roundtrip Van Cubao-Benguet-Cubao (driver, toll fees etc)
– Itogon Registration fees
– Hired guide fees
– Tour Coordinator fees
– Bagtag
Exclusions:
– Food (you may pre-order hot breakfast meals at Php 80) or you can buy at the jump off food stalls
– Restroom/shower fees

You may send a message to Adventure Passport’s FB page or contact Hannah (Contact Number: 09472204002)