Sunday, April 29, 2012

Tanza's Oasis

Tanza's Oasis is becoming a popular choice for vacation goers who are opting for convenience and comfort not far from the Metro. I've actually been there twice - the first time was on our Black Saturday family outing last year. The second time was just last March during our company's summer team building. 

The Beach

The resort's beachfront is quaint and clean. There are a lot of cottages available. You can bring your own food and cook it there. Grilling stations are provided as well. Not much to expect from the beach though, just gray sand and brown waters. Jet skis and kayak equipment can also be rented for a reasonable price.

The Pool

The safari-themed pool is well-designed for both adults and children. There is an adult pool with 3 slides, a kiddie pool with a mini slide and a couple of Jacuzzi's. The place is very safe and well-maintained. A lifeguard is stationed at the pool and on the beach. Like any other resorts, proper swimming attire is required.

Kiddie pool

The Hotel

The hotel interior is modern looking with a touch of class. The rooms are very elegant and comfortable. In my case, we stayed on the deluxe room which is good for 4 persons. It has 2 double beds and a window which overlooks the view of the beach and swimming pool. The room is equipped with a cable television, mini refrigerator, safety deposit box, built-in cabinet, a bath tub with a hot and cold shower and a hair blower. There are also  complimentary coffee, toiletries and slippers.
Very savvvvyyyy! I instantly fell in love with our room. ♥ 

Tanza's Oasis Hotel

Deluxe room - double beds

Other Things to do


Quite an experience. Kudos Oasis! 

For updated rates and news, you may visit their website at :)

Camara, Capones and Anawangin

Sometime in May of last year, my former boyfriend and I decided to have our summer vacation in Zambales. People have been talking about the place so we took the plunge right before summer ends.

Camara Island: Rock and Raw

White sands, lavish beach and grand rock formations never fail to mesmerize. That's what this island has to offer. This one is my favorite because it's the most accessible from the shores of Pundaquit and I enjoyed the serene ambiance. It's a not-so-nice swimming spot though because of the rocky waters and early high tides.

A whale-like rock formation on the middle of the island
Capones Island: Nature and History

The island also boasts of white sands and clear blue waters. It highlights the Capones Lighthouse which was built during the 1890's. After doing a quick research, I learned that the lighthouse served as a guide to ships entering and leaving Manila and Subic Bay.

To get to the lighthouse, one has to hike up a moderate trail. Prepare to bring a face towel and a bottle of water or two; the hike is a little tiresome. Once there, the first thing to see is the big vintage gate. People are cramped inside; busy taking pictures and some - like me, just can't help to stare in awe with the beauty of the place.

The lighthouse gate
the ruins
Capones - view from the back

Anawangin Cove: A Tranquil Haven

I learned that Anawangin is a crescent shaped cove covered with Agoho forest trees - not Pine trees as majority of the people say. The sand is said to be Mt. Pinatubo lahar. According to the locals, the beach was created after the Mt. Pinatubo eruption.

Agoho trees - Oftenly mistaken to as Pine trees
There is an entrance of P50 each for a day tour. A couple of free beach huts can be used on a first-come-first-serve basis. There is not much resources available. No cellphone signal. No toilets - only changing rooms. There are posos that provide clean water. There are no restaurants or carinderia of any kind- Only a small store which offers limited goods like bottled water, soft drinks and light snacks. But hey, people come here to have fun and enjoy nature's simple treasures. 
For those who want to camp the night out, it is best to bring your own food and water. Grilling stations are also available.

The beach with the picturesque view of the mountains
Enjoying every bit of my time!
How to get there

Take the Victory Liner bus from the Sampaloc or Caloocan terminals going to Iba or Sta. Cruz. I can't recall the exact amount of the fare but it was less than P400 at that time. The trip usually takes about 4 1/2 hours. Just tell the driver to drop you off in San Antonio, right about the town plaza then ride a tricycle going to Pundaquit. Trikes charge P60 per person.

Where to stay

Most of the people camp for the night in Anawangin. Tents are available for P400 a piece. If you're looking for a more comfortable accommodation, there are also nearby resorts to choose from. 
(Punta de Uian, Nora's Beach Resort, Wild Rose Beach Inn).

Friday, April 6, 2012

When in Boracay

October 13th 2011. Thursday noon. Me and my family were on our way to Boracay Island. The country's famed prized possession because of it's white sands and pristine waters. Let me share with you my fantastic experience in one of the world's best beach haven. 

The Ride

We took a plane via Air Phil express. We were lucky to get a seat sale sometime last April. It was a 45-minute flight from Manila to Kalibo. Getting there all the way from the Kalibo airport was a bit tiring though because we still have to ride a van for 2 hours and then take the Caticlan jettyport ferry boat afterwards. The boat ride took 20 minutes. For those who want to cut the hassle, I recommend that you take a flight straight to Caticlan.

We finally arrived in Boracay. There are lots of multi-cab cars and tricycles that can take you straight to your hotels. The fare for the multi-cab is P250 while tricycles charge P200. We opted to ride the multi-cab because there were 7 of us and we had lots of bags at hand. The multi-cab ride took 10 minutes.

The Hotel

We stayed at A-Rock Boracay located in Station 3. It's a non-beachfront resort but it's just one street corner away from the White Beach.

We took the air-conditioned family room with 2 queen-sized beds and one spare mattress. The room is pleasant enough with a clean bathroom, cabinets, a simple couch, mini-veranda and a cable television. There is also a mini restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

Helmet Diving

We spent our second day to try the Helmet Diving. We were charged P350 each. the package includes a 20-minute helmet dive with free pictures and video. We rode a tricycle which took us to the other side of the island then boarded a motorboat which took us in the middle of the sea. There is another boat stationed there. We then hopped into the other boat. The person in-charge gave us a brief orientation about helmet diving and what to do when you're down there.

The helmet weighs 25 kg but it feels nothing at all when you are underwater. It is the best and worse first time experience for me. Worse because I cannot stand the pressure on my ears down there. At some point I had difficulty breathing but when I got the technique of exhaling properly all was okay. And best because I got to walk underwater. It was a dream come true! I took a moment to see the corals and starfishes. I also enjoyed my friendly encounter with fishes I've never seen before. and we got to feed them too!

Island Hopping

We were able to rent a boat for only P1,500. Thanks to my mom's good bargaining skills, the manong bangkero agreed to take us. 

First stop, Crocodile Island. The island's formation really looks like a body of a crocodile. It's a good spot for snorkeling and diving. 

Then we went to a snorkeling site not far away from the island. It was really fun! snorkeling in Boracay is truly one of a kind. And we got to feed the fishes again! We also had a peek at Crystal Cove Island and ended our adventure on a relaxing swim in Puka Beach. 

Boracay beach front. heavenly!

Other things to do in Boracay

Water Sport activities: banana boat ride and fly fish - We tried the classic banana boat ride (P250/pax for 15 mins) while our friends tried the fly fish  (400/pax for 15 mins).

Henna Tattoo and braids- Take a leisurely walk on the island's 3-km stretch. There are lots of tattoo and braid stands to choose from. The price usually ranges from P100-P150 depending on the design.


Of course, your stay will not be complete without this. Boracay has a wide array of goods to choose from and every station has it's own shopping spots. It's best to buy in bulk to get a good discount. Shirts, hats and sarongs usually range from P170-P300.
Bracelets, earrings, keychains and other accessories range from P10-P60. It definitely fits all kinds of budgets.

It was a well-deserved vacation indeed! I'm happy that we were able to maximize the whole island experience. I'm planning to go back but I want to explore the rest of what our country has to offer. So much for our Boracay adventure, We definitely got more than what we payed for!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Love: A state of mind

You can't forget the pain, you just have to make a room for it.
- The Walking Dead

April 27th, 2011. Wednesday morning. In the middle of our fight, my boyfriend of 4 1/2 years texted to say that he's breaking up with me. Irreconcilable differences and mixed up priorities: that's what hit us. At that time, it was no big deal because we used to have break up bluffs before but we were able to fix our issues and manage to be together again. I just let that day pass because I'm sure it was just one of those days when mood swings are everywhere and he just wants to get a breather.

Thursday morning. We talked about what happened. I'm surprised to hear that he's not going to change his mind, he's really serious about breaking up! I froze. I didn't know what to do. I was caught off-guard. All that just happened in a breeze. How can someone throw all the years away in just one day without even trying to put up the broken pieces together again? That's impossible. "what's the matter? where did that came from? where did I go wrong?" Those questions kept shooting at the back of my head.

During that time, all I knew was cry and pray. I was hoping that my tears will clear all the negative things that I was feeling. I always tell the Lord to give me strength so that I can go on with my life without looking back.

The first 6 months after the break up was really a struggle. You still love each other but you can't be together anymore. I tried all means possible to move on but it turned out that I was not actually facing my fear, I was just trying to get away from it all like a coward. Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.

Those were the days

Our love was really something. We started out as classmates in college and eventually became lovers. He's not just my boyfriend; he is also my best friend. One thing that really kept us together is food. What I like he also likes. I'm an amateur foodie and so is he. We like to explore different cuisines that delight our taste buds. Japanese goods are our favorite. I was actually the one who introduced it to him. We were inseparable. We look like twins; literally and figuratively. We look alike. We were faced with many hardships and trials but we were able to make it. Well, for 4 years at least.

Reality Bites

So much for that. Back to reality. He is gone. I failed to win him back despite my efforts to keep us together. At present, we are still friends. Both of us doesn't have any romantic commitments yet. We still text and see each other at times. I am still his "biik" and so is he to me but now, we just regard each other as best friends only. 

Moving Forward

I'm still bitter about what happened but I always believe that when one door closes another one opens. I guess the best way to move forward is to accept the reality that things are over and it's all for the best. even if you still see each other sometimes, don't put any extra meaning into it. Moving on is a gradual process. You cannot erase in one day something that you had for years. We are still open with the possibility of being back together someday but right now we are contented in focusing on our individual dreams and priorities. 

Things to ponder

We should learn to love ourselves first so that others can see the good in us and love us back in return.