Monday, August 25, 2014

Balanan Falls - Dumaguete City

Balanan Falls
Last June of 2014, me and my wife (along with our sisters and brothers) went to Dumaguete to visit some places that some of my friends who are from Dumaguete mentioned, worth to visit. Indeed it was a great place for the entire family to travel.

NOTE: Sorry for the photos' quality, I used my iPhone inclosed in a waterproof pouch to safeguard my DSLR that I left in our room.

Balanan Lake
Some of the places in Dumaguete we visited can be found here.

Part of our itinerary was really to visit Lake Balanan, and to date, it was the best lake that I've visited. I've already visited a man-made lake in Toledo City Philippines called the Malubog Lake/Dam on our mini Amazing Race Challenge, I've also seen the magnificent Taal Lake in Batangas and the Lake Danao in Camotes Island Cebu (I think those mentioned needs a separate entry, maybe soon). Well, I think the reason why I enjoyed our visit in Lake Balanan was because of our kayaking experience and it was also probably because of the perfect weather that sided us during that trip.
Lake Balanan boat port
We did not expect that there was a waterfalls in the premise of Lake Balanan and I think it was a steal since our main agenda was just to visit the lake. It was a nice surprise for everyone I guess.

View of the lake Balanan while kayaking
It was on our 2nd day when we decided to personally see the Balanan Waterfalls. We've decided to paddle our way going to the place though you can also walk on a paved path going to the waterfalls. We were charged 200 pesos (per hour) for each kayak we rented including the life vest (yep! Better safe than sorry).

Kayaking in Lake Balanan
When we arrived on one of the camping sites on the Northwest part of the lake. We anchored the kayaks and began walking to the waterfalls, and no, it was not a tiring trek that requires a lot of muscles, though we decided to spice it up and walk, not on the pathway but on the stream itself. Well, we didn't actually know there was a concrete pathway on the side of the stream at first (lol!).

North west part of lake Balanan

On our way to Balanan Falls
Rocks in Balanan falls
Mimi, Ai2x and Ivane in Balanan Falls
Me, on my terminator pose hahaha

Ivane Gesite
Though the Balanan waterfalls isn't the grandest amongst all the waterfalls in Dumaguete, it confined on its own way a simple yet relaxing view that bears a mystery to be unraveled.
Nico wandering in the 2nd drop in Balanan Falls
After taking some pictures and enjoyed a quick dip to the shallow streams near the waterfalls (yes, it's safe to swim) we headed back to the resort and shared a good conversation.

Me, Ivane, Mimi, Nico, Earl and Ai2x group selfie in Balanan Falls



Monday, June 30, 2014

Cebu is now ready for OLX’s Yesss, Yaman! Campaign!

After the rebranding that took place recently, OLX (formerly sulit.com.ph) remains the leading online selling platform in our country today! The Yesss, Yaman! campaign will sure do a lot of favor for Cebuanos, not just in clearing clutters of unused items in our homes but also to unlock our hidden entrepreneurial skills.



OLX will open physical offices outside Metro Manila starting with Cebu this year. In line with that expansion, The Yesss, Yaman! Campaign should help a lot of individuals to sell pre-loved items not just in Cebu but the entire country.

Sulit.com.ph helped me once when my dad asked me to find a buyer for his trusty car. My dad was looking for an effective way to sell his Mitsubishi Lancer GLI before and I introduced him to OLX.ph (sulit.com.ph). With his less knowledge with the World Wide Web I volunteered to help my dad to post it online, well, OLX helped us post it online with an EASY sign-up process, and FAST transaction. I placed his contact number in OLX.ph and he was overwhelmed with the number of interested parties trying to ask further information from him, he was amazed by such technology that he wasn’t aware ever existed.

My dad's used Mitsubishi in OLX.ph/sulit.com.ph. I used my cellphone camera for it
“OLX.ph encourages Cebuanos to take a second look inside their homes. Their potential wealth might be taking the form of unused handbags, clothes, books, speakers, and appliances all hiding in plain sight.”  – As per the press release. This is entirely true since traditionally, us Filipinos love to collect stuff even items that may be left unused in our household, when sold to the rightful owners who actually needs the items, we are not just doing ourselves a favor to have extra storage spaces at home but we are also helping interested buyers to find a cheaper deal for these items and at the same time us getting extra income to maybe buy newer stuff.

The Yesss, Yaman! Campaign is one great means of helping a lot of Filipinos to jump start a business in an easy way. Use any camera you have, take a photo of the items you'd like to sell through OLX.ph, add in some details, post your contact information and that’s it! You'll be an instant entrepreneur in no time!

Here are potential items you may want to turn into instant cash:

used bags that are cluttering your top drawers

used clothings that won't fit in the cabinets anymore

used shoes

My wife once told me that she’s been having problems storing all the unused clothes, bags and shoes she once loved. I thought this will be a great solution not just for her, but also for all other Filipinos who are in the same dilemma.
What are you waiting for? Start hunting for potential items that will turn into instant cash right in the comfort of your own home!

To know more about the campaign and to start selling stuff, visit the following links:

Website: www.olx.ph/yesyaman

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Casaroro Falls - Valencia, Dumaguete City

Our Dumaguete tour was mostly a Plan B itinerary. We never planned to go to the famous Casaroro Falls in Valencia because based on my prior research it was a tough trail going to the main gush and i thought my sickly sister and my wife might not endure the long walk especially the trail includes clambering up to boulders that requires endurance. Due to unfavorable circumstance, our supposed-to-be destination (Forest Camp) was unavailable for visitors because a company rented the entire place for an exclusive party. I know, it was sad, you can't imagine my companion's faces clouded up with the situation. 


Casaroro Falls in Valencia, Dumaguete City


For all of that, the Casaroro Adventure after we visited Kookoo's Nest, though spontaneous, turned out to be one of the best experiences I had so far. Putting aside the dilemma my sister and the other girls with us went through, everybody enjoyed the trek and the breathtaking view of the Casaroro Falls itself was stunning. With a height of more than 100 feet, Valencia's Casaroro Falls is the tallest in the Visayas region. Located in the town of Valencia, Negros Oriental it is easy to find the Casaroro Falls because it is one of the famous destinations Dumaguete or Negros Oriental boasts. As the province’s most photographed body of water (as per wikipedia) and with its lush, green, breathtaking terrain no doubt our circumstance brought us their.


Me and my wife with in Casaroro Falls

One of the many natural pools safe for swimming

Wrecked cemented trail

There were a lot of natural pools upon heading the main falls that hikers can enjoy a quick dip, since it is not allowed to swim behind the main plunging cascade due to previous drownings.




me and my sister Mimi in one of the mini drops.

The entire group doing a selfie

From the long walk to the climbing up and crawling down on huge rocks it was afterall a great adventure for us. With all the amazing sights, vegetation, creatures nearby and the grandeur of the Casaroro Falls it was one great trip to end our summer!



wacky pose with the Casaroro Falls as our background

My wife Ivane, and my two sisters Lory and Mimi

My two cents:


HOW TO GET THERE?

  • Nothing beats the comfort of renting your own vehicle may it be a van or a regular FB type multicab or even a jeepney, you will end up not just renting the vehicle itself but you already have yourself an instant tour guide. You can contact Richard for a superb VAN service around Dumaguete and yes, he is very friendly: Smart 09088916413 or Globe 09273512006
  • From Dumaguete City, you can ride a jeepney or tricycle going to the town of Valencia (terminal), from there, haggle a price for motorcycle ride (habal-habal) to bring you to the entry point to Casaroro Falls, prices depends but usually around the range of 100 to 200 pesos, the rate might be different for foreigners.



EXPECT THE FOLLOWING

  • 300 plus steps stairs going down the river and that is the same stairs that will bring you back to the entry point.
  • The trail is quite difficult because of the huge boulders that you need to climb.
  • The paved walkway was ruined because of previous storms, so there are still cemented pavements in some parts of the trail. 



Ivane, Mimi, Lorie, Earl and Nico going down the 300 plus steps  stairs

Me


SUGGESTIONS

  • Limber up before the trek, this will help you condition yourself from the long walk.
  • Buy bottled water ahead, but make sure to dispose your trash properly. The bottled water they were selling from the entrance were way expensive than that from restaurants.
  • Bring a plastic bag or a ziplock for your gadgets, you can't tell if you might trip into the river.
  • Try to stop once in a while during the trek to enjoy the scenery and observe the flora and fauna, its a different kind of experience rather than rushing to just see the waterfalls.
  • Do not swim in the main waterfalls, a warning you will hear from the attendant and see from the signage near the area.


EXPENSES

  • 10 pesos for the entrance fee



Ivane, Mark, Mimi, Nico, Earl and Lorie in the entry point to Casaroro Falls


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Kookoo's Nest - Dumaguete City

We've been planning to visit Dumaguete ever since but it wasn't realized until my sister decided to really plan it out and set a date for it. It was the last stretch of summer and since we weren't able to enjoy the summer vacation that much, we decided to have a full blast Dumaguete getaway. One of the places we visited was Kookoo's Nest Resort in Antulang, Siaton, Negros Oriental.


Rock in the water in Kookoo's Nest Resort

Panorama

Right side view of the Beach in Kookoo's Nest Resort
White sand beach
The beach

Our Kookoo's Nest visit was just part of Plan B because what was outlined in our itinerary was to stay at Antulang Beach Resort for a day-tour-island-hopping-snorkeling experience. Plan A did not work because when we arrived in Antulang Beach resort, we did not see any white sand beach and because we were expecting a stretch of beach at least to enjoy some photo ops and to maybe chase around we decided to find a different place and that's when our driver suggested to go to Kookoo's Nest just a few kilometers drive from Antulang Beach Resort.
Off-road travel heading to Kookoo's Nest Resort
Kookoo's Nest signboard 
Stairs going down to Kookoo's Nest Resort

I've read about the place in different blogs and I would say it was indeed a worth to visit place. It was not as posh as other fancy resorts but it is more than enough for the entire family to enjoy the sand, the sun and the beach.



Lorie Mae Gesite, Earl Greggi Labanon, Lory Anne Gesite, Nico Matutinao and Ivane Gesite doing what we like to do in Kookoo's Nest Resort
Selfie with the entire family
Another jump shot with everyone
Got tired jumping

Owned and operated by Jamie and Nikki Ingram, the resort's advocacy is to promote local tourism in Dumaguete and as much as possible to extend employment to the locals of Antulang. I like the resort's promotion of protecting the environment by using solar and Geothermal power sources and using local wood and bamboos in most of the resort's structures.



One of the bamboo rooms they offer for rent
The bamboo restaurant

The resort offers different services like diving, island hopping, boating, kayaking, PADI courses, snorkeling, rentals of beach equipments like snorkeling set, fins and beach shoes. They also have a mini library where you can enjoy reading books while feeling the fresh beach air. They also serve generous meals from their restaurant with reasonable prices per dish.




Lunch time

Philippine Adobo
Pork chop
Rice dish
Pork barbeque 
Snorkeling time!
Kayaking with Nico and Ivane


I like the place because it has an affordable rate, the attendants were friendly and the place itself has a homey atmosphere because of the hands-on owners that are approachable.

The owner's dogs
Nikki Ingram with her dog
Ivane in the water

Ivane doing another pose
Ivane Gesite doing her moves
The ladies walking on the beach
The ladies in Kookoo's Nest
Me
Trying not to wake the dog up. lol

My two cents:


HOW TO GET THERE?

- Visit the place with a service vehicle because it's a 2-3 hours travel from Dumaguete City. We had an amazing van service with Richard as our driver and you can contact him through this number (09088916413)
- You can also contact Kookoo's Nest and they can arrange a pickup from your location going to the resort.
- Bus from Dumaguete Bus Terminal going to Siaton and tell the driver to drop you to the place leading to Antulang, you can then ride a motorcycle going to the place.

EXPECT THE FOLLOWING
- Long paved stairs that will lead you back/fort to Kookoo's Nest.
- No bringing of food from the outside is allowed.
- 3 huge Golden Retriever dogs.
- Remote off-road travel from the highway

RATE
- Entrance Fee: P200 (consumable)
- Wifi: P100
- Computer rental: P100 per hour
- Snorkeling set: P100
- Fins and booties: P100
- Kayak: P100 per hour
- Table/cottage: P150
- Rooms: from P1000 - P1500

Here's an actual photo of some of their price list: (click to enlarge)


price list for cottages
price list for services and equipments for rent
price list

HOW TO CONTACT THEM?
- Contact persons: Jamie and Nikki Ingram
- Telephone nos.: +63-919-695-8085 or +63-926-708-1188
- Email: info@kookoosnest.com.ph or kookoosnest2@yahoo.co.uk
- Address: Kookoo's Nest Resort, PO Box 106, Dumaguete City 6200 Negros Oriental, Philippines


Kookoo's nest info card