Tuesday, October 30, 2012


I know I neglected this blog for a couple of months already so it's time to revive the the chronicles of a backpacker.

This time, it will be on a one notch higher, backpacking from the dynamic cities of Europe and to unique and lively South East Asia.

Published with Blogger-droid v2.0.9

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Where the Hell is Matt?

I first saw Matt's video in 2008 and since then, I followed his escapades. Lately, I checked on his latest video where he danced with some of our Pinoy folks in Quezon City.

I'm dreaming to make my own video like this soon. :-)

Funny bloopers too.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


When my phone got snatched 3 weeks ago, I had so much frustrations which made me decide to buy a Kindle. It doesn't hurt much on the pocket and bookworms will surely love it. Hindi rin siya mainit sa mata.

True enough, I fell in love with my new baby. It doesn't have the frills of the iPad or the chic features of the Galaxy Tab but having this is really worth it.

With its e-ink features, it won't stress your eyes reading for a long period unlike the famous tablets in the market. This has also an anti-glare feature which lets you read clearly even under the sun. Weighing only 8.5 ounce, you won't get numb or ngalay while reading.

Kindle Touch is thin and small, it's the size of a ballpoint pen which can also fit directly in your pocket. I must say that this device is good for travelers because its battery can last for 2 months (my first charging lasted for 3 weeks though). One thing that I love here is the drag and drop feature, you don't have to open any applications to synchronize those books in your computer.

Well, it doesn't have games or applications but who cares when you really love reading, right? This has been my companion while riding MRTs and it's funny how fellow commuters would glance and take a read Murakami in my Kindle.

I bought my Kindle via sulit.com for only Php 5790 and it comes with thousands of ebooks that can be downloaded from a dropbox account. Sulit, right?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


It took a year to plan this trip. If it’s not because of weather, our individual schedules don’t permit.

Last April 2012, my family hit the road from Baguio City to Batad in Banaue. It’s a very cold morning and as we ascended in the province’s high roads, sea of clouds appeared before us while the sun’s rays are prying in the horizon. It’s a blue moon experience to witness as such.

With the help of the GPS, we got lost a few times but it was fun. There’s even a shortcut that led us a kilometers of dirt road which pretty much you can already write your name in your car windows legibly. Though we got lost, we still managed to find our way out to the highway.

From Baguio, we navigated through the Ambuklao Road which en routed us to Nueva Vizcaya before we reached the province of Ifugao around 1 in the afternoon.

Our main itinerary is to stay in Batad where the rice terraces have a better view compare to the one in Banaue town. Since I already contacted a tour guide before our trip, she met us at the town center to buy stuff (don’t forget to buy Gatorade or any energy drink to keep you hydrated during the hiking).

From the town center, we took of our excess baggage and left it in our car. Our tour guide always reminded us to pack light considering the 3-hour trek we need to endure. Jeepneys are for hire to the saddle point where you will start hiking down slope until you reach the community in Batad.

The trek was tiring if you’re not used to long walks but for sure you will forget the pain and blisters in your feet once you see the view.

“WOW!” That’s what we all exclaimed when we reached the community overlooking the view of the Batad Rice Terraces. Of course we took the opportunity to get some pictures just before dusk.

After resting for a few minutes, we walked through the narrow stones to go to one of the baluys where we spent the night. It’s a good experience to stay in these comfy houses. We are five in the group and stayed inside one of the baluys yet it's still spacious.

One of my experiences here is to have a taste their native rice wine – tapuy. It’s a sweet concoction that I almost drank a medium-sized bottle if I didn’t share it with a new found friend from Finland who happens to visit the place for the 3rd time. It's also a nice sleep enhancer. :)

We have to wake up early the next morning to witness the majestic rice terraces before sunrise. It’s where you can view at its fullest.

Early after lunch, we need to head back to Banaue and endure the painful trek up to the mountain and reach the saddle point. Fortunately, they approved my request to stay for a while alone in the town center to wait for my night trip bus ride to Manila as they head to Ilocos.

If not during market days, Banaue is a sleepy town but there are stores where you can buy souvenirs and banaue cookies (good native cookies). When I got tired taking pictures and buying some stuff, I went to a coffee shop where I sipping their native coffee with the view of the Banaue Rice terraces. I also met some travelers from Arizona who are doing volunteer works in Thailand before I hopped in to the bus.

Going to Batad is a nice experience and I recommend you to see it before it deteriorates although the government is helping to restore this UNESCO World Heritage. I spent only a fraction of my budget since everything in Banaue is affordable including the accommodation. For the jeepney ride, better if you can share it with a group so you can divide the P4000 charge. Buses plying to Banaue costs around P550 and their terminal are located in Lacson, Manila. Bring jacket too because the aircon bus is too cold!

For the baluy accomodation, contact Kadangyan Lodges at (63) 9175010134. For tour guide, contact Irene Binalet at (63) 9169848380.

Friday, June 8, 2012


Mom's asking me when I plan to go out of town so she can hop in. I guess, she succumbed to the call of the travel bug. Well, if she decides to come with me, I have to tame down on some adventures so she can catch up but thinking of it, this would be a good idea to travel and enjoy the world with the greatest person in your life.

I'm excited!

 The Temper Trap - Down River .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Friday, May 4, 2012

Backpacking Guide: 4D3N Bicol Region Trip

I know, this is already an overdue post since February. I never got the chance to write about this trip after the Mis/Adventures.
Since our original itinerary to land first in Legazpi was scrapped, we had to re-plan everything. Fortunately, anything can be done randomly because we had no reservations on hotels and everything.

Landing in Naga was a bit rough; it's been raining all day in the city before we arrived. As we were on a budget trip with our backpacks, we rode a bicycle to the highway where we have to wait for a bus taking us to Naga. It's a short walk though but we were dead tired from the previous day.
Buses to Naga comes from the distant towns of Camarines Norte and don't expect to have it air conditioned. Naga airport is a 30 minutes ride to the city.
As soon as we hopped off from the bus, we decided to go to SM Naga and ask some locals where we could find their best-served dishes in the metro. As recommended by the people, we ate at Bob Marlyn's Restaurant. They offer good food here, we ordered a boodle fight meal which includes pork, shrimps and other seafood!
There's nothing to do more in Naga so we decided to experience wakeboarding in CamSur Watersports Complex (CWC). We took the tricycle and told the driver to take us to the Central Terminal and ride a bus.
There are buses bound to Pili, just tell the "konduktor" to drop you off at the entrance of CWC. Fare is minimal; I think we just paid Php 15.00 to take us there.
From the national highway, there are single motorcycles that can take you to the main complex for P20. In our case, we just took one motorcycle since we can fit there together with the driver.
CWC offers affordable thrills. An hour of wakeboarding including the helmet and wakeboard rentals would cost you P125. It doesn't hurt your pocket to pump up your adrenaline.
After a few hours of spending ourselves getting pulled by cables on the waters, we went back to Naga City to grab a quick dinner before heading to Legazpi City.The last Naga-Legazpi bus leaves at 8PM so better be early at the terminal. The bus is old and already cranky but it's fun to ride these guys at the country side.
The weather worsened on our way to the southern city. We reached Legazpi before 11PM and heavy rain was pouring. It must be the cyclone forming on that month. Tricycles were still available that night so we asked one of the drivers to drive us to Legazpi Tourist Inn.
Legazpi Tourist Inn offers a decent room for an overnight. It's one of the old hotels I think. Don't expect luxury though so it's nice for backpackers like me. Although there was no aircon on the room we took, the hotel offers a free wifi at their lobby. Apparently, their comfort room's clean.
We woke up early with a scattered rain showers, left the hotel around 7 and had breakfast at the nearest Jollibee. We asked some of the locals on how to get to Donsol, Sorsogon. We're glad that Bicolanos are very accommodating and hospitable. They helped us with the directions and what vans should we take.
From the town center, we rode a tricycle that took us to the central terminal. It's the same terminal where we arrived the previous night except that there's a section for vans going to nearby towns and Sorsogon.
At this time, I must say that you have to buy some nibbles to eat for the 2 hours travel. Van fare costs around P120-P140/person. The van was packed with locals and foreign tourists. This is the best part of traveling; you have to meet a lot of people and gain new friends. That's where we met Huang, the guy from Taiwan, Bruno from France and to guys from China which I wasn't able to get their names.
We told the van driver to drop us off at the Santiago Lodging House and so he did.
Santiago Lodging is already an established homestay for tourists visiting Donsol. The place is squeaky clean despite it's an old house. The room we took was big for 2 people and it costs Php 400 only. It is also located at the heart of the town so it's very accessible.
When we were already settled, we went to the tourist center to register for the whale shark or more popularly called "Butanding" encounter.
Since we are already a group of 6, we divided the boat rental. We paid Php 600 plus and entrance fee of Php 100 each. The boat ride is approximately 3 hours and it's enough to do the whale shark encounter. If you can bring your own goggles, I advise you to do so because I rented mine and got lost in the middle of the ocean, so that's additional dent on my budget.
The encounter was so cool and I must say, the Butanding we saw was so big and SCARY! It's a must though, you just have to swim fast and chase them.
The swim with them was tiring so head immediately to the town proper for lunch and take a rest until late afternoon.
If you are looking for a sumptuous dinner, go to Baracuda restaurant. Although it's a bit pricey, you can have here the freshest seafood dishes in town. Rey and her sister manage the restaurant themselves, they are the one who serves your food and hop to guests' tables to check if the food is great or even offer you a rhum shot. I must say that this place is very nice, cozy with the view of the ocean and Bob Marley singing in the background.
It's time to head back to Legazpi and see the view of the Mayon Volcano. Too bad the weather didn't permit us to see the view. Although it wasn't raining anymore, it was so humid and cloudy. But still were clinging to our hopes, we hopped off from the van in a barrio in Legazpi where we can take the jeepney to the Cagsawa Ruins, just tell the driver.
After we had a quick stint at the Cagsawa, we headed back to Legazpi and checked-in at the Sampaguita Inn. They accommodation is cheap at P400/room but it was horrible. The place is dirty and dark, I suggest you to go back to Legazpi Tourist Inn. But we were so exhausted to complain, we just slept through it.
I guess there's so much to say and nothing to do in Legazpi, we should have just stayed in Donsol for another night. But if ever you are already stuck in the city, you can go to Cie's Pastry Café and indulge in their creamy cakes.
Nothing to do, we just stayed indoor after having breakfast at Bigg's Diner because it rained all day. We just literally waited for our flight back to Manila.
Legazpi Tourist Inn: Php 800/room – non-AC but clean and free wifi, recommended for backpackers and on budget trip.
Santiago Lodging House (Donsol): Php 400/room non-AC, clean and communal toilet, nice to stay in Donsol for backpackers.
Sampaguita Inn (Legazpi): P400/room Aircon, not-recommended. Look for other hotels or stay again in Legazpi Tourist Inn.
Bob Marlin Restaurant (Naga) - ~Php 200/pax.
Bigg's Dinner (Legazpi) - ~Php 150/pax.
Baracuda Restaurant (Donsol) - ~Php 300/pax
Cie's Pastry Café (Legazpi) - ~P200/pax
Naga – Legazpi - ~Php 90
Legazpi – Donsol and v.v. - ~P120

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Ilocos Sand Boarding

On April 6, I was finally able to experience the 4x4 sand dunes ride and do the sand boarding at Paoay, Ilocos Norte.

When I first heard of this, this bored me as I thought that I will just ride the big jeep in a very hot desert. Together with my friends from Manila, we just planned to take pictures of the sand dunes after our visit to Paoay Church and Currimao Coral Formation.

When we were there, you can see real wasteland- a vast ocean of sand and the south china sea in the west. On one of the sides, you can see a number of people queuing for the sand boarding.

aboard the 4x4 all terrain vehicle

We took pictures at the truck to feed our adventure hungriness but we were more enthralled with other guests screaming who rode on one of the jeeps coming down from a mountain of sand. That's when we decided to give it a try.

middle of the paoay sand dunes

With a P2500 fee for an hour of sand dunes tour and sand boarding, it’s a bit pricey. However, this is already good for 4 persons so that makes 750/head. After the transaction, we took the one of the vehicles and went on to an awesome experience. It was unexpected, the adventure is worth it!

my first awesome experience of sand boarding

mish on the sand board

Paoay Sand Dunes 4x4 Experience is located about a half-kilometer past of Malacanang of the North in Paoay, Ilocos Norte.

If you plan to visit Ilocos Norte, we are now offering Bed and Breakfast in the comfort of home for only Php500/head. That’s inclusive of an air conditioned room (well, that’s our rooms but it’s not being used because my brother and I are now based in Manila), airport/bus transfers, and a hearty and genuine Ilocano breakfast! Mom cooks so it will really delight your appetite. Ask my friends for testimonials.

We also arrange van tour in the province at half the price of prevailing rental rates.

If you may ask why we are putting this up, we love traveling and it’s already our passion. So we thought of giving something for travelers who want to see the beauty of Ilocos Norte without spending much.

For now, we initially offer this to a maximum of 6 persons because we don’t want our home to be crowded and for you to be relaxed. There’s even a hammock in the garden that you can use for stargazing during the night.

Send me an email at andydugay@gmail.com or tweet me @andydugay if interested. Guys, you can share this info to your friends since this is already a very good deal. J

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


This is your life. Do what you love and do it often.
If you don’t like something, change it

A lot of us are complaining too much because we don’t have this and that, we don’t have to do the things we wanted to, or we just complain as simple as that.

I like the message on the video that if you don’t like something, change it. Be the catalyst and who knows, everything will follow through into their proper places.

You complain of being overworked? Quit. Find what suits you. Or maybe, try to love your job.

I love this manifesto and I want to share it with you. Travel, explore, smile, give your love, open your mind, seize the opportunities, dream big.

Monday, March 26, 2012


It’s almost a decade when I left the province and ventured my future in Manila.

But from time to time, I visit Ilocos to take a break from the busy life of the city. Maybe a couple of weeks would do to check out what’s the latest buzz on the family including the all our relatives.

Actually, I am already spending my second week of my month-long vacation. This vacation in my hometown would rather be the laid back one after a spin-off in Coron and a planned trip to the mountain regions of the north in the next few weeks.

Nevertheless, I am enjoying the slow-pace of life here. If it would be possible not to time-track everything I am doing, it would be great. I wanted to imitate Nate’s adventure in Pantanal on Grisham’s The Testament where he didn’t need a clock to keep on-track of the time.

Like a new adventure, I took my old bike from the garage and visited the places I’ve never been for the past years. The road was still familiar but the surrounding’s already new. New houses were built and unfamiliar faces welcomed me.

On my joyride, I was able to see my kindergarten school. It’s quite funny to remember how we squeezed in 20 children in an old wooden room. The school is now well maintained and cemented, a bigger room perhaps for the children.

Well, I think I am going to do this more often. Every time I’ll be visiting my province, I would make time to get my bike of the garage and go to the places waiting for my return.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Scuba Diving in Coron, Philippines

On March 10, I brought my mom to Coron to take a break from our daily routines at work. When she saw my pictures a couple of years ago, she started bugging me to bring her there. Fortunately, I found a good deal for plane fares and hotel accommodation.

I can say that our trip was priceless. I can see in my Mom’s eyes how awed she was on the islands of Coron. She even dipped into the waters to try snorkeling and amazed with the underwater creatures.

mom posing underwater

But the highlight of this trip was my scuba dive. On March 15, I was able to cross out one more item on my bucket list before I reach the age of 30. First, I need to persuade Mom to let me dive into the open sea. Maybe, it took more than an hour of negotiation before she said it’s my choice. LOL!

Around 6 in the morning when I started packing my bag with food stuff and walked into the nearby dive shop. There were already a couple of people there preparing for the scuba diving. I also realized that I’m the only Pinoy going to dive that day. All of them were mostly from Europe, Oz and America. I just can picture myself standing there dwarfed with those foreigners.

Anyway, after a two hours boat ride, we were able to reach the East Tangat Gunboat. We had orientation first and then did the shallow diving (along the island’s shore with reef). When everyone felt comfortable with our oxygen, we did the reef diving and reached the shipwreck around 10 meters below.

My first dive was awesome. It was surreal to see underwater creatures dwelling at one of the war ships during the World War II.

lion fish

Next dive was at the Olympia Maru. It has to be done in the open sea and do the back dive. You need to have a good fighting spirit, I must say, because waves are big and you have to fight the strong current. I had more than 5 cuts and scratches here because we need to hold the rope that clings to the buoy.

We need to swim 18 meters down to see the shipwreck. Video below:

I am already hooked with this new adventure. I got my first certificate – Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) though, but surely I’m going back to Coron to take the Open Water Course and have myself licensed as a scuba diver.

To finally cap off the day, we enjoyed an ice-cold beers, fresh catch seafoods and lots of travel stories with my new buddies.

Accommodation: Ralph's Pension House = Php 1200/room good for 2. (Tel: 63915 443 2193)

Tour Package for Day 1 - Php 850/each with lunch. (can be arranged with the staff of Ralph's Pension)

Scuba package by Coron Divers - P3800 for DSD and 1 open water dive. Certificate is optional. (Tel. 63918 6539854/63916 3275757, look for Mr. Arni Pabelonio).

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mis/adventures I

BEING THE SPONTANEOUS type of person, I enjoy trips that aren’t planned- I mean no itineraries, no hotel reservations, just good pair of walking shorts and shoes, plaid shirt and a backpack filled with light clothes, I am ok. I already did this once at the Cubao terminal station and played "eenie-minnie-moe" on which bus to take me somewhere far.

This time, I'm taking it to another level. It will be more adventurous and fun. Well, I am less afraid of something happening to me rather than nothing at all that’s why I do this kind of stuff.

Last February 12, I woke up very early in the morning to meet ahmer at the airport and catch our 6AM flight. We decided to go to Legazpi City without any plans at all. With a few bucks from his and my savings, we braved of going there and let the province surprise us. It was a gloomy morning but no chance of heavy downpour. Once we got ourselves at the airport, we checked-in and waited at the boarding gate. 

After an hour of sitting and observing fellow passengers at departure area, the attendants finally announced the boarding. We lined up on the bridge, searched for our assigned seats and buckled-up our seatbelts. We’re ready to fly but anxious of what’s in store for us upon arrival.

The plane already ramped into the runway and waiting for clearance. We can already hear the engines roar but wondering why it’s taking too long to blast to its full speed.

Then the engine died. 

In a brief moment, the captain spoke  telling everybody that flight is cancelled due to bad weather at the destination. His voice was a bit disappointed and sympathetic to the passengers who need to go home.

We were instructed that we need to get back to the terminal and have our tickets rebooked. We retrieved our backpacks, walked back to the terminal building and queued up again to wait for the next available flight and for this time, Naga City.

We kept ourselves cool, we just thought of departing that afternoon once the weather progresses.

What we don’t know, a new misadventure awaits.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Thinking of Job Hopping? Think Again

"Employers want to see your progression at a company, whether it's up or across an organization."
Dan Schawbel 
Read this:  

    How job hopping can hurt your career