Carles in Northern Iloilo is steadily getting a good stream of tourist nowadays. The municipality, once ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan is now a popular jump-off point for Isla de Gigantes island hopping exploration. If not staying on the islands, Carles is the best area to stay. Coming from the earliest flight from Manila to Iloilo and a 3-4 hours road travel to Carles, I finally made it to my home base for two nights, The New Beach Head Resort. It’s easy to downplay the resort for having only a 1-star rating in booking sites. It is also considered as the “2nd best resort” in the Carles. But it honestly didn’t feel 1-star at all! It felt more than 3-star in terms of comfort and neatness. Not to mention, a beach area where beautiful sunsets abound.
It was more than 13 years ago when I first set foot in Aurora. It was an exciting road trip with friends. From Manila, we drove through the Sierra Madre mountains down to Baler. Though I am fully aware of the surfing scene boom and the growing development of the province, I only got the chance to go back this early September when I chanced upon a good getaway deal at Deal Grocer for a three days and two nights stay at L’Sirene Boutique Resort in Baler. The resort looked hip and stylish, and the remote location made it even more appealing to me. It would make an ideal base for exploration and relaxation.
A one hour ferry ride from Dapa, Siargao to Socorro Port in a jam-packed boat. A half-hour tricycle ride cutting through the bucolic landscape of Bucas Grande. Then a thrilling half hour boat ride from Barangay Sta Cruz on a small boat to Sohoton Bay. A transit that slowly swelled my excitement for visiting this emerging gem of a destination in Surigao del Norte. And my abode is at Sohoton Bay Resort. A lovely quiet cove just a stone’s throw away to the wonders of Sohoton Cove.
I have no problems planning on independent trips. But when it comes to family travel, I’m so poor in planning those kind of logistics. I had to get a little help from friends in the travel industry. My requirement was it should be near Manila, have good accessibility for seniors, convenient and relaxing. Friends from Explore8 gave me options (other resorts Batangas, Cavite, Tagaytay, Vigan) but somehow my siblings and I were leaning into Stilts Calatagan in Batangas. Their cottages looks attractive and they have in-resort transport for our senior relatives. Much more, the beach in this part of Batangas looks gorgeous.
I think there was a time in Philippine tourism when we had a “Zipline Craze”. After a few successful ziplines in Davao, Bukidnon and my favorite, Lake Sebu, suddenly, a lot of province I had visited to wants to add a zipline as their attraction. In my head I was screaming “Not another zipline!” as a tourism officer enthusiastically shares their plan on site. In Pangasinan, there’s Balungao Hilltop Adventure view that claims to have the longest zipline in the country at 1.4km long. Honestly, it’s the first time I’ve heard of the municipality of Balungao. If not for Lakbay Norte 5, this would remain out of my radar. And guess what? We get to try their zipline and more.
It was a calm morning. Subtle purple hues dominated the sky. I made my way to the segmented stairs leading to the topmost viewing deck atop the rock where this private resort was named from, La Roca Villa. It was only in this morning light when I can truly appreciate the place. From this higher vantage point, I could see the Greek-inspired structures of the resort. White washed walls, blue domes, a pool and the low-tide shores filled my view. Immediately, Santorini came into mind.
There is so much action happening at San Juan Beach, La Union. The surfing, the chill night life and interesting eats in the area. Right smack at the center of it all is our lodging, Kahuna Beach Resort and Spa. A luxury Filipino-Balinese inspired resort facing the famed shores of San Juan Beach. This was our home for a night during our Lakbay Norte leg in La Union.