Mount Isarog

It is not Mayon Volcano that is in the province of Camarines Sur, it is actually Mount Isarog.

Only a few people outside the province know the mountain, the highlight always goes to the perfect coned shape volcano in the opposite side of the region. The very reason why Isarog is a very well preserved natural habitat, nobody gives the mountain that much of attention. Hikers perhaps are magnetized by the giant, more than 2,000m above sea level, it is the highest peak in the whole Bicol Region. It is so vast that it stretches from Naga City to the town of Goa, Camarines Sur which is more than 20km away from the capital city.

The mountain has a wide opening crater but its last eruption was dated back in 1915-1916. It is called Vulcan de Agua by locals. Some stories say it is because it is not molten rock which is inside the mountain but water, a lot feared the story that once the mountain decides to wake up from its slumber and explodes that whole lot of Camarines Sur will be wiped out from the map. However, science likes to debate as always, claiming that it is rather impossible for one landform to contain water from within and cleared the myth behind the ‘Water Volcano’. Isarog is dubbed as Vulcan de Agua because of its lush rainforest and countless waterfalls of which only three are known: Malabsay & Nabuntalan falls, in Naga and Consocep falls in the town of Tigaon.

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Isarog also harbors a myriad of species in its forests: the Isarog Shrew Mouse, the Isarpg Stripes Shrew Mouse, Isarog Shrew Rat, and Isolated Forest Frog. There are also 143 species of birds. While the mammals inhabiting the forest among many are the Philippine deer, monkeys, bats, wildcats, and wild pigs. The best treat of nature is the giant Rafflesia can also be found in Isarog.

Let us talk about views. People climb for the breathtaking views. Being the grandfather of all mountains in the region, stand atop the Isarog and you will get the perfect sight of the valley. Yes, this part of Bicol is a valley, mountains face across far from each other and the plain in the middle became the center of civilization. Mayon volcano can be seen from Camarines Sur to Albay, also Mount Iriga as well. From Naga city, the mountain stand in the east, it casts a dark but alluring shadow to the city that gets the touch of the sun a little too late in the morning. From the other side of the province however, say in the town of Tigaon and Goa, Camarines Sur, the mountain shines like a marble. The sunrays illuminate the rocks, the forest and even the Consocep falls (whose waters are dauntingly cold, you can stock up beers and sodas on its waters) is visible as a streak of white down the mountain because of the sun. Isarog wake up like a princess with the sun but when it rains it can sometimes hide in the rain fog.

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Isarog Sky Garden

The easiest trail to conquer the sleeping giant is located at Naga City, it can take from 8 hours to 14 hours on a good day. There is also a trail in Goa, Camarines Sur that leads directly to the open mouth of Isarog. Trekkers take this long trail that can last up to four days because they get to hike on the very rim of the crater to the top. A few unknown trails can lead to the peak as well, adventurous local youngsters climb the mountain on their own desired path, making their own trail however for safety purposes only climb with the mountain guides appointed by the local government unit themselves. Camping in the forest can quite be dangerous only those who have the enough survival skills and kit are allowed to spend the night.

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Consocep Falls

Tourists always think of island hopping immediately after the mention of Camarines Sur and they are referring to the Caramoan group of Islands which has been the site of several season of the reality competitive show Survivor. Camarines Sur is more than just Caramoan and the Camarines Sur Water Complex (CWC), a manmade surfing turf and sport water activities. Mount Isarog is one mountain filled with multiple adventure activities; hiking, camping, and swimming combined. All of which are hard to come by nowadays.

Zambales: Through High and Low

Looking for an adventure within reach? Zambales might just be the place for you, the province has numbers of beaches if you are one to unwind with in the sand and under the sun. Perhaps climb a mountain? Find solace in the sea of clouds when you stand on the top of the world or maybe just Zambales. This place has ridges of mountains from where you can choose the peak that allures you the most. All you got to have is of course the stamina and a few bucks.

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Photo by Shobe Binibini

You definitely can have that road trip without the traffic but with music and sceneries by your window by riding the bus from Manila to Zambales for just less than five hundred pesos, P 347.00 to be exact. You can board the Vcitory Liner bus from Caloocan, Pasay, Cubao, Earnshaw, Sampaloc, Olangapo to Zambales. 

Before anything else, you got to have a camera or a high definition image capturing phone would be okay too but when touring outside the city you really got to have something to capture the moments and memories you will have in the place. 

We have a few ideas in mind as to how you can enjoy your stay in Zambales. If you are looking for somewhere to stay we got your back here in eGetinnz, you can always look for the suitable feel good home that you want here:  

https://www.egetinnz.com/s/zambalesphilippines/ChIJEfqjPuomlDMRevfQkx9Q-6U?&guests=1 

 

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Photo by Shobe Binibini

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DAY 1: After securing your safe haven in Zambales you definitely need to unwind, you can do that just fine in Crystal Beach Resort, Purok 1-B, Brgy. La Paz, San Narciso, Zambales. Nearest landmarks would be the San Sebastian Catholic Church, and there would be a nearby tricycle terminal that would take you up there. Crystal Beach is a superb getaway for all folks of life, may you be in love and want long walks on the beach before you plan to propose or perhaps get married. Also, it is perfect for barkadas, the resort offers camping activities aside from the usual ones in the water.  Tent rentals vary from P 550.00 to P 750.00, there is even a buffet style breakfast that comes with the tent rentals and will surely satisfy all the cravings of the barkada after an exhausting but fun day of surfing the waves for P 200.00. But here is one heads up, the resort only accommodates 400 guests each day and the reason for that? The resort wants to assure that each and everyone of the guest would be served well the way they all deserve.

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DAY 2: Typically, people are fascinated by Mount Pinatubo and no one can really blame them but let us give you something different, how about Mount Tapulao? The tallest mountain in the ridges I told you about earlier, the challenge to conquer it would be hard to resist. After a chillax day at the beach and camping in the woods, it is time to stretch those sluggish bones with 2,037 meters of elevated lump of soil and rocks of Tapulao. Few people have different reasons for wanting to climb the notorious mountain, some wants to prove something for themselves, others want to think and forget, and there are those who wants to get closer with their loved ones. Whichever reason you have, Mount Tapulao brings the best in hikers, climb this mountain and you will descend as a different person.

 

DAY 3: Recharge and gorge back the energy you lost conquering Tapulao! There are countless food trip hubs around Zambales however, if your taste buds are missing western food then Sit-n-Bull Bar & Grill at 14 Del Pilar St., Barretoo, Olangapo, Zambales is appropriate for you. Prices for both American and even Mexican food are pretty reasonable with selection of food and extensive menu from bull burgers, baked spaghetti, burritos, and even Filipino dishes too. On top of that, the staff would never let you down, good customer care is assured by many tourists over time. SnBBG as a whole is hard to come by, a hidden edible gem if you might say and it is definitely a go-to when you visit Zambales.

 

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Photos by Shobe Binibini

There are a lot of other fun things to do in Zambales but here is the best package, the summary of what
the place has to offer, the perfect mix of adrenaline and epinephrine, the balance of relaxing and thrilling. What are you waiting for? Come book with us at egetinnz.com and get closer to the world today. 

 

Boracay for Vacation and Forever

A vacation package to the Philippines isn’t enough if it’s going to be a trip to Boracay. You’re going to need to go for longer durations of vacation rentals if you want the best beach party scene and, at the same time, relaxingly iconic island vibe the Philippines has to offer.

Boracay, in recent years, has garnered mixed receptions from both the local and foreign tourist. The biggest beef that it has is how commercialism has consumed what was once a virginal strip of untainted paradise. Even with the reputation, Boracay is still constantly flocked by people year in and year out which, we’ll guess, is what majorly makes up its new found appeal: it’s the island equivalent of Facebook or Twitter.

Going for Vacation

Boracay is an island just off the coast of Kalibo, within the province of Aklan. To get there, you will need to fly from Manila (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) to Kalibo airport and then take a boat ride to the island.

The Philippines is such a foreigner friendly country and a short term rental is a great option to go for when availing for accommodations in Boracay. Not only are Filipinos very friendly towards none nationals, the accommodations are budget friendly as well especially for short- and long-term transience.

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Some hotels could go for as much as 6,000 Philippines Pesos (PhP) a day but a short term rental place might only cost around 14,000PhP a month, and that’s for the nicer places nearer the shore. They go lower the further from the shore a place is.

But why go for short term rentals? Because it’s hard to completely appreciate Boracay for very short stays. A trip of 3 days and 2 nights would be enough to get your party on (because the party scene is very “lit” in Boracay, if we may say so ourselves) and do some water activities like kite surfing or island hopping but you will need more time to be able to also enjoy the local culture, most of the other islands and secret beaches, and good Filipino company.

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Going for Longer

Boracay might be a great place to retire. It isn’t jam-packed throughout the year so you still get to enjoy the laidback seaside experience that the island was once known for. Not to mention, you can choose which of its 12 beautiful beaches to crash depending on your mood. If you have a budget of less than 2,000 USD per month, you can live quite a comfortable & luxurious life in Boracay (generally, most vacation rentals in the Philippines might cost somewhere around 200 USD per month, more if closer to major cities like Manila or Cebu).

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Going Forever

If you aren’t going to the Philippines for vacation packages and are looking for something along the lines of “permanent stay”, the Philippine government offers special considerations for retirees through the Special Resident Retiree’s Visa or SRRV. You can read more about it here. They also, since 2015, have opened their government subsidized health care system to foreigners. The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) accepts and provides health care benefits to expatriates living in the Philippines for long periods or permanently—the coverage could take of as much as 80% which is especially helpful if you get hospitalized. Not to mention, the Veterans Memorial Hospital (albeit only has their main facility in Manila) also provides veterans with medical services.

Whether for vacation rentals or permanent stay in the Philippines, Boracay should be one consideration on your mind. It has familiar Western comforts but even behind the massive parties and consumerism, it also retains its friendly Filipino culture of hospitality and camaraderie.