I can’t believe it’s almost over. I woke up Sunday morning to see the group already up and ready to leave for the airport. Munching on their breakfast of tuna sandwich and a cup of coffee in hand, I also noticed their baggage clumped together at the reception area. I greeted them good morning. Everyone’s already prepared. I brought down the Selphy Printer for a last minute request to print. And as soon as we heard the Seair plane started to land, we hopped in our jeep and sped to the airport only a few minutes away.
The name City of Dreams seems like a fantastic surreal place. But as we drove nearer coming from Macau Science Center we saw three buildings rising high along the reclaimed Cotai Strip area. The three buildings are the Crown Tower, Hard Rock Hotel and the Grand Hyatt. Our first stop of course was the Horizons Restaurant at Crown tower where we were a luxurious lunch of Smoked Slamon, Kabucha, Prime Tenderloin and Cream Brulee.
If Pablo Picasso were to design a living space, I would imagine the rooms to be divided in cubes with walls and furnishings playing on the palettes from his art during the heydays of Cubism. But even past his years, a new Boutique Serviced Residences, the first in the country, paid homage to the art and lifestyle of the famous painter naming the establishment, Picasso. Found at the heart of Makati Central Business district, I get to experience a night of luxury at one of its cube.
5:00am I came down at White Rock’s lobby and joined a table that turned into some sort of internet café. I think I only had at two and a half hours of sleep and opening my laptop seems like a heavy task. Its day 6 of Lakbay Norte tour and I still wish I could have tried those other rides at Treetop yesterday. But I already got used to having only portions and a taste here and there. Besides this is a familiarization tour. The point is to get “familiar”.
I felt the driver crank up the speed as he leaned forward the tricycle looking at him from the back seat. It’s not that the three of us were heavy along with our baggage coming from Lio Airport, it’s just that the road going to El Nido town slopes prominently high. Once past that it was a breezy 10-15minutes ride into town. The group was split into half, Melo and I would be staying in Hadefe Cottages in Caalan Beach.
With more time to roam around Basco Batanes, I was able to see what has changed since last time I was there. Nothing much really aside from some re-construction of some buildings. What I noticed though are some changes and additions on accommodations in Basco. With the rise of tourist in Batanes, it’s a good thing there’s a growing number of places to stay in Basco. Here’s a nifty guide on where to stay in Basco with personal comments and impressions on each of them.
Tourism is not really the main draw in Bongao, Tawi-tawi so there aren’t that many accommodations to choose from. There are however three notable hotels there which caters to businessmen, visitors and the occasional travelers in Tawi-Tawi. We were able to stay at some of them and we can say that don’t expect any 3-5 star types here. Most of the rooms are basic and spartan. (Updated December 2014) Almost 5 years since my first visit, there are already additional options for stay in Bongao. Some though have remained the same.