Ubud

We spent the the first three days of our trip to Bali in the cultural town of Ubud. It is a one stop hub of an amazing mix of old and new with a growing range of activities in whatever pace you choose. 3 days of eat pray love in Ubud is simply not enough  .  Warning pictures overload ahead 😉 . 

 

 

Day 1 – It was lunchtime when we arrived in Ubud. After dropping our bags at our guest house, we hunt down for some local food and end up at this warung.

Nasi Campur (champur) – rice with a little bit of everything – pork, veggies, chicken, shrimp and egg.
Nasi Goreng – mixed fried rice

 

Pura Taman Saraswati (Lotus Palace) – Pic by R. Allan Geraldez

 

Pura Taman Saraswati Temple

 

 

From Ubud Center, we walked all the way to Sacred Monkey Forest which is like 3 kms away. Entrance 50k IDR.

 

We didn’t spend much time here because most of us are literally afraid of the monkeys. My friend got nipped in the legs coz the monkey is trying to get inside her pants.  They are too sociable for our liking. Afraid!

 

Ubud Market

That evening we watched a traditional Kecak (Kechak) dance at the temple beside our guest house. It cost 75k IDR per person.

 

Day 2

This is our 2 storey 4 rooms accomodation in Ubud. (booked via Booking.com)Breakfast can be served in the veranda or the garden. Limited choices but all comes with fruits, coffee or tea. I highly recommend this place. We had a very pleasant stay. With Wifi, good breakfast and centrally located in Ubud.  Nyoman and his wife speaks english, they also have a taxi and tour services. We booked our Mt. Batur hike with them.

After breakfast we had a full day tour of the following: Tegenungan Waterfall, Kanto Lampo Waterfall, Gunung Kawi Sebatu, Bali Pulina Coffee Plantation and Tegalalang Rice Terraces. For tours around Bali I recommend Kadek. He drove us for 2 days around Bali. He speaks english, his rates are reasonable and he can be your photographer or videographer. You want drone shots? He got you covered.

 

Tegenungan Waterfall. 165 stair steps going down (and up).

 

Kanto Lampo Waterfall. Entrance fee 20k IDR.

 

Lunch was at I Made Joni restaurant in Ubud which we were told to order their Crispy duck. YUM!!!

Gunung kawi Sebatu. Entrance 30K IDR.

Bali Pulina Coffee Plantation. Where you can try their Luwak Coffee for 50K IDR.
The civet cat (Luwak) feed on coffee cherries (seasonally that’s why this coffee is expensive) then undergoes fermentation in its digestive tract and the beans gets secreted as part of its poo. I Know, ewww! Then they separate it and clean it, sun dried, roasted and grind it.
Free taste for all the other coffee and tea except for the Kopi Luwak which is 50K IDR for a cup.

 

Tegalalang Rice Terraces.

 

Day 3 – 4 of us hiked Mt. Batur at 3am. The rest catch up on beauty sleep and after breakfast we grab a taxi and went to Bali Swing. Entrance fee 25k IDR. Swing all you can and refreshments 375K IDR per person. The experience was exhilarating. They have 5 swings you can try. The highest one you need to put a body harness which doesn’t look good in pictures imo.  I’m scared of heights so I did the one not facing the ravine with a rope attached to the waist (4 swings have this).

Mt. Batur

 

Tip. Wear a flowing maxi dress. Red, Fuschia, Yellow colors.

 

We are actually holding on for dear life here 🙂 . All for the ‘gram 😉

 

After this we went back to check out, then lunch at Ibu Oka to try the famous Babi Guling (I like our Lechon better btw), went to Ubud Market for last minute shopping. Around 2pm then we were picked up by our ride to transfer to our second accommodation located in Seminyak. More on that on my next post.

You can watch our Bali travel video here and if you wanna see more pictures you can find me here ;).

 

 

xoxo,

 

Mitzi

 

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Ngiting Ngiti sa Masungi

 

Visited Jan 21, 2017 Saturday. Appointment time 730AM. Time of actual hike 830am to 1230pm.

 

 

 

I’m one of those people who was fairly intimidated by all the pictures of this place posted by bloggers online. Isn’t it scary to cross some steel wire ropes with God knows how high above with nothing to hold on to? Or that you have to ascend and descend a number of rope nets without a harness…but all that with a helmet so that at least was comforting.  But everything looks fun and finally reservation was made and paid for like since April 2016. I’m not kidding it’s hard to get a slot on a weekend!

 

 

I’m not going to spoil the place for you. We all need that element of surprise anyway. I’ve come up wth a list of tips and some tricks to prepare you on your visit.

 

 

  1. Reserve as early as possible. They accept groups minimum of 7 to maximum of 14 person. Stop asking kung pwede ang 6! haha! Well pwede but you have to pay for the minimum number which is 7pax. Hindi pwede ang 15!!! I think that 10 is a good number. Kasyang kasya kayo sa Sapot for group picture without being too crowded. Rates: 1800 for weekend and 1500 for weekdays.
  2. Masungi Georeserve is located in Km 47, Marcos Highway Marikina-Infanta Road, Baras, Rizal. Just put that address in waze and you won’t get lost. Cellphone signal is scarce to almost none in the area so better load it up before you go.
  3. Their visit schedule  starts as early as 530am with a 30 minutes interval per group. Last visit is at 130pm. 3-4 hours per group to complete the whole area, picture taking and rest stops included.
  4. Wear your most comfiest sporty attire. Dri fit shirt, leggings or shorts and closed hiking or rubber shoes.
  5. Bring sunblock, shades, cap, trail food and camera.  They will provide you with a drawstring backpack to put your necessities plus 2 500 ml bottled water. You can bring your own bag if you prefer not to use theirs. Any other things you brought like change of clothes you can leave in the briefing area.
  6. There is a 7-10 minute walk from the parking area to the briefing area (Silungan). Consider that as your warm up.
  7. Their restrooms are clean and nice with almost complete amenities (there’s sunblock and insect repellant BUT walang mirror!). Be mindful that they can only be found at the start and end of your visit.
  8. The time of our visit was perfect. January weather is really the best. Sunny but breezy. Sadly hindi kinaya ng drone.
  9. Make sure all your gadgets even your shades have a strap attached. Because when it slips down, it may be gone forever.
  10. Sandwiches, banana and calamansi juice will be waiting for you at the end of your visit. After eating you may still hang out and rest at the hammock place beside it. You need to regain your strength going up the stairs back to Silungan or the briefing area where you will return the helmets and bags. They wash the helmets after every use.
  11. I handed my pocket camera to our park ranger Carlitos. 90% of my pictures were by him. Thank you Carlitos! A pocket camera is all you really need. Mine’s a Canon S90. If you have a Go Pro, That’s perfect for those wide angle shots.
  12. The park rangers were constantly updating their positions by radio. The 15 minute per group per site were mostly followed. You will feel that you’re the only people inside the park. For the above price per head, I’d say take all the pictures that you want. Yun lang if you take too long, the next group won’t have a choice but to close in on you. Photobombers alert haha!

 

 

So GO.FOR.IT.

 

 

YOU.CAN.DO.THIS.

 

 

I think that even the unfit or a 13 year old can do it (that’s their minimum age to join btw). The hike is actually fairly easy. The trail even the stairs are all cemented and well maintained. What slowed us down was of course the picture taking, as expected.  No harness going down? Kapit na lang. Hands and feet nakakapit sa rope haha.

 

 

 

 

xoxo,

Mitzi

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The Budget Traveler’s Guide: Osaka, Kyoto and Nara (Japan)

Japan is considered to be a splurge trip to many. I’ve been dying to go for years but being the frugal traveler I am, I keep on putting it off. I love Japanese food pa naman. That alone makes me really want go. So I challenged myself to come up with an itinerary that is affordable to me and my friends. And surprisingly, we did managed to spend less than Php34k per person on this trip. Google is really the bestest. Now let me break it down for you.

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HOW TO GET THERE

Cebu Pacific Air, Philippine Airlines, and Jetstar all flies to many regions in Japan. These airlines offers seatsale many times in a year. Your best best is grabbing their piso fares. Another option is by going to travel expos. I got our tickets last February’s Travel Tour Expo 2016 at SMX. Jetstar is reintroducing flights to Japan so it was on sale. Roundtrip Manila-Osaka-Manila inclusive of 15kg baggage costs Php5300 per pax. I told the sales assistant to look for the cheapest fare on the dates after cherry blossom season 😉 .

Tip: Be a flexible traveler. Choose dates that are off peak if possible. Take note that cherry blossom season is the most expensive time to travel in Japan.

VISA
Japanese visa is free. But you cannot go directly to the Japan Embassy to get one. It is coursed thru travel agencies only. Their processing fees vary from Php800 – Php1200 per pax. I went to Travel Pros at SM The Block for ours. They are not the cheapest at php1000 but they are the ones near me. It is very easy to transact with them. Our group of 6 all got multiple entry visas after 5 working days.

ACCOMODATION
Another thing that can give a major dent in your budget is the accomodation. This is also another one of those things that I don’t like splurging on. I think it’s a waste of money to get an expensive place to stay when most of the time we are out exploring anyway. Hotel, hostels, capsule hotels and airbnb’s are the choices here. We are 6 on the group and we all agreed that we want to be together in one place that is clean and hopefully near everything specifically a train station. No hotels for us. When choosing your accomodation, I highly recommend Namba area because that’s where all the action is. We chose an airbnb that is actually good for 10 pax and located right above Kuromon Market. I posted a review of the place a few days back. It is 3 minutes walk to Nippombashi Station and 5 minutes to Dotonburi and Shinsaibashi. Score!

GETTING AROUND KANSAI REGION

If you don’t want to get lost in Japan, a pocket wifi is going to be your best friend. That and Google maps. I rented one from Pupuru and it was love at first connection haha. Only 88 pesos per day per pax for our group of 6.

I read a lot on what kind of train pass we would get or if it’s even worth to get one. Good thing they released a new pass last April. The new Kansai One Pass is all you need if your going to tour Kansai region. It is accepted on almost all train lines, buses, even convenience stores and offers discounts on some tourist sites. I think it will run for a limited time only though.

FOOD

Osaka is said to be the ‘kitchen’ of Japan. You will never go hungry here unless you’re very picky. There’s a lot to Japanese cuisine than sushi. So if you don’t eat raw food don’t worry. Or there’s always Mcdonalds haha. In Osaka, don’t leave without trying their famous takoyaki and okonomiyaki. There’s a lot food stalls around Dotonburi that offers them.

In Kyoto, anything matcha is a must!

PLACES TO SEE

I used Japan Guide to narrow down our itinerary to max of 2-3 tourist spots a day especially in Kyoto. We only have 4 full days to explore Kansai. It’s so bitin! Kyoto is so beautiful that 2 days is definitely not enough.

Osaka – Kyoto – Nara Itinerary
May 15-19, 2016

Day 1 – Arrival 12pm. Rinku Premium Outlet. Dotonburi. Shinsaibashi.

Day 2 – Kurumon Market. Kyoto – Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Kinkakuji Temple. Dotonburi.

Day 3 – Kyoto – Fushimi Inari. Kiyomizudera Temple. Higashiyama District. Gion.

Day 4 – AM Osaka Castle. PM Nara Park.

Day 5 – Last minute shopping at Shinsaibashi. Departure to Manila in the evening.

It looks simple enough but all the walking was so exhausting. On our second night and every night there after, as we’re walking home, my legs started to feel like they don’t belong to me anymore. Like it wants to tore itself from my body, promise! You can map out the sites by interest and location. In my opinion you don’t have to see all the temples. Frankly they all look the same to me. I’m much more  interested in food haha 🙂 .

Here’s the budget breakdown in Pesos for Sorianos (2pax):

Airfare – 10600

Visa – 2000

Travel tax – 1824

Airbnb – 11424

Transpo in Japan – 7475.55

Pocket wifi, entrance fee to  2 tourist spots and locker – 2915

Food – 10390.95

Grab taxi from airport to QC – 500

TOTAL – Php47129.50 for 2 pax at JPY conversion of .43 

Above total does not include shopping, pasalubong and pabili from friends. In my previous post,  I discussed our day to day in detail and it includes a pdf file of ALL our expenses. As in everything it’s there na. We managed to spend less than Php34k per person all in!

So there you go! I hoped you enjoyed watching our Japan ravel video above. You can watch more of our travel videos here – Travel Adventure Ideas (Soriano Films).

You can also read more of our Japan trip here:

Osaka-Kyoto-Nara Itinerary and Expenses

Osaka Travelogue Day 1

Where to stay in Osaka

Arashiyama and Kinkakuji Photodiary

Southern Kyoto: Fushimi Inari

Eastern Kyoto: Kiyomizudera, Higashiyama distriact and geisha hunting in Gion

Thanks for dropping by 🙂 .

xoxo,

M

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