2019 Trip to Hong Kong: Enjoying Disneyland Part 1

“Open different doors, you may find a you there that you never knew was yours. Anything can happen.“ -Mary Poppins

IMG_0331It’s so fun to be a kid again sometimes. I was so excited for my second time at Disneyland. I had my camera ready and my I even got a massive power bank (30,000 mah) just to be sure my cellphone will not die on me. Sucks when your phone is almost on battery life support.

Anyway, we were finally at Disneyland!

Mouse Ears

img_0351 I used to judge my sister in the past for buying headbands with mouse ears. I felt it was an unnecessary expense for just one day to the theme part. Those headbands were quite expensive, to be honest.

I also found it ironic that she would wear something “silly” when she used to berate me for wearing headbands with large bows when we were still in school. You know, those headbands like what Blair Waldorf wore in Gossip Girl. She would say I looked childish or that it was just too much. I figured then that decorative headbands were not her thing.

However, she told me to get mouse ears headband for myself this year. So, as soon as we alighted the train, we just took a few pictures then went to the first store we could find.

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I didn’t notice I had mine backward. Hahahaha…

The purple ones were the first to catch my attention because I love everything purple or violet. Blame it on my birthstone, amethyst. Unfortunately, it would clash with my outfit. Therefore, I opted to buy the sparkly one in the nude shade. Jana eventually settled with a cap version of the mouse ears. I did not let go of my sparkly headband anymore. I paid HKD 158 for mine and requested that my card is charged in Philippine Peso instead. The ladies at the counter were so nice and pleasant!

I sent a photo of me wearing my new headband to my sister. She was glad that I found one that matched the jacket she gave me the day before. Yup, that jacket is a hand-me-down from her, but I feel like it was meant to be mine all along. I love it so much!

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I loved the weather that day. It wasn’t too cold that we were going to be freezing, but the breeze was cool enough to wear a jacket. Despite getting there by noontime, it was a little cloudy so we were not soaked in the sun to fry.

The cutest thing about Hong Kong Disneyland is that it feels like going into a village of magic and wonder! Seriously! They have a city hall, a fire department, shops, and parks. It truly feels like you are in a magical kingdom! They also have the most adorable displays featuring Disney characters beloved by everyone. The first among those that we saw were these characters from Winnie the Pooh’s story and Moana.

Jana looked so cute in her outfit and cap is as adorable as her!

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Jungle River Cruise

The first section we went to was Adventureland; the section where you can visit Tarzan’s tree house and where the Moana show is performed.

New attraction. A Moana production is performed here.

I first wanted to see Moana’s show because my sister told me it was a new show at Disneyland. It was still going to take more than half an hour for it to start so we decided to go on the Jungle River Cruise first.

The queue for English-speaking visitors was not that long. Still, we realized that they ensure each queue takes a turn to have the guests ride the boat for the cruise. It only took us ten minutes of waiting before we got to ride.

It didn’t matter that ninety percent of the passengers were adults. We were made to wave goodbye at those still lining up to have their turn and to those who were lining up for the raft ride to Tarzan’s Tree House. The tour guide then told us that the reason she made us do that was because we will never see them again. Hahaha!!!

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Tarzan’s Tree House

Whoever made the tree house, you are amazing!!! It’s even beyond what I could have imagined it to be based only on my memories of seeing it in the 2D film. I just hope there are no tigers inside.

Also, I cannot believe how realistic these props are! Most of them even move!

Now, this is my favorite part! Fire despite the presence of water. Amazing!!!

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Moana Show

After the cruise, we were just a few minutes away from seeing the Moana: A Homecoming Celebration show. I had high expectations for this show because I loved the movie and the songs from it. I was also looking forward to seeing kakamora characters and Maui.

The stage was beautiful and colorful. I did feel it was a tad bit small, so I was wondering how they will pull off the production.

Despite how great the actress who played Moana was, I was tremendously disappointed by the show. Not only did they not sing the more iconic songs like How Far I’ll Go and You’re Welcome, I also did not see the characters I was looking forward to seeing. I guess the show was really meant for kids. Still, after having seen the Festival of the Lion King last 2017, I was hoping for a presentation from the Moana team that was as superb.

Oh well, at least the actress was great and was so nice! We tried to ask to have a photo taken with her, but she was in such a hurry at that time. She just waved hello and goodbye to us, apologizing for her haste to leave.

Festival of The Lion King

After Moana, we happened to see that the Festival of the Lion King show was to start soon. We waited a few minutes outside the venue and noticed that there were a lot of people waiting to get in as well.

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Making funny faces with Jana while waiting for the Festival of the Lion King

It took a while to fill the venue, exceeding about five to ten minutes from the expected start of the show. I guess, there really were a lot of people who wanted to watch that time.

The first thing I noticed was that the cast was the exact same group of actors from when I watched it the first time. I knew right then and there that it was going to be an epic performance! Their voices were powerful and their energies were high! The Moana show paled greatly compared to the magnificence of this production!

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The best part for me will always be this elegant exhibition. This was what I was actually watching the show for. In 2017, they strapped the lady to the harness on-stage. This time, they made it even better by having the lady fly high from where you did not expect. Please watch this clip I posted in my blog’s IG page.

The show also featured real fire!

I am ending this post here because I don’t want it to be too lengthy. That Lion King production was truly breathtaking! Stay tuned for more posts on my Disneyland adventure and the rest of my Hong Kong trip this year.

You may also want to read more about my previous Hong Kong experiences. Just click here.

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Hong Kong – September 2018 (Part 2 | Food)

“Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.”  ― Mark Twain

Hong Kong is not cheap. I can eat three meals in the Philippines for every meal in Hong Kong. Despite that, I cannot deny that Hong Kong has so many restaurants that serve really delicious food.

When I was there, Trixie made use of food delivery services so we did not have to go out to eat. FoodPanda was familiar because we also had it in the Philippines. The other delivery service I learned about was Deliveroo.

One morning, Trixie wanted to eat some Korean food. I am not sure which food delivery service she picked, but for our food, we opted to buy the chicken bento and cheesy fries from Seoul Bros.

I loved the fries! Cheese and potato make me happy so when you put them together, I am filled with glee. The fries were not soggy when our order arrived even if there was quite a lot of cheese. It was great because as much as I love fries, I hate it when they’re soggy.

The bento, however, was another thing. I did not touch the kimchi because I do not eat that stuff. The corn salad stressed me out because I could taste the red onions (which I hate). The rice was a must. For an Asian like me, rice is life! The chicken had this sticky glaze that I could not figure out what it was all about. The bento costs HKD 78, I think.

OMG, the chicken. The chicken! It was spicy in a good way. Being someone who is very sensitive to spicy food, I actually liked the chicken a lot. My nose was starting to get runny already from all the spices but I managed to finish it all. Damn, my tummy felt like it was going to pop!

One day, we wanted to eat pizza. I personally like thin crust better because the thick ones make me full right away. Despite that, I was never really a pizza person.

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We only had a small table so I could not get a proper shot without having to remove everything else on it. 😀

Paisano’s Pizzeria is a restaurant I often heard from Trixie during our FaceTime calls. She figured that I should get to try it while I was there. I was not prepared for how big a slice was. It was so big that a paper plate could not handle it at all! It was almost as long as my hand and forearm!

I really loved this bacon cheeseburger pizza slice. The dough was not too thick and was not very chewy. It was actually soft and easy to eat! For HKD 45, I found it worth the money but I just wish they will do a better job at packing their food for takeout/delivery.

One of the things Trixie and I do not have in common is her courage to eat street foods. Back in our childhood home in the Philippines, there was this house that sold street food from fish balls to grilled chicken blood (we call it betamax). Trixie would drag me there to have her isaw (barbecued pig or chicken intestines) fix. It would take lots of convincing before I would even accept defeat and eat a grilled hotdog from the same store.

That is why it is no wonder that my sister knew a place that sold delicious street food. She bought a small bowl of fish balls for HKD 15. I ate too because I did not want to be brat that time. Surprisingly though, I liked them a lot. The sauce was not spicy either and that made me enjoy the meal more.

What I did enjoy better, however, was my Taiwanese milk tea from the Sharetea stall beside the street food stall. Despite not asking for any adjustments to the sweetness level, they pretty much nailed how I like my milk tea.

The street food and milk tea shop are located in O’brien Road, Wan Chai.

From time to time, we would just order food from McDonald’s. Sadly, they do not have rice meals there. I liked their burgers though.

At the airport, on the day of my flight back to the Philippines, Trixie and I had one last meal together. Being the emotional person that I am, I took every chance to have more time with her before going home.

We settled for Tsui Wah and ordered a beef curry meal, a pork chop curry meal, some spicy shrimp dumplings and lemon iced tea. We may have underestimated their serving size because…

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…look at the size of that pork chop! It’s as big as my face! It’s even bigger in real life than in the picture!

Both the beef and the pork were Malaysian types of curry and you simply must try them! Curry? The pork chop was crispy, but the beef was like melt-in-your-mouth tender. But, aren’t they spicy? Oh yes! But, they were the comfortable type of spicy for me because I enjoyed pouring the curry sauce over my rice. Granted that I had to frequently reach out for my iced tea, I was not turned off by the heat in my mouth and on my lips while we devoured our food.

The best part of the meal? More conversations with Trixie!

Aside from the shops near the boarding gates, the airport also had vending machines where you can buy using your Octopus card. Having felt thirsty after a couple of hours waiting (the downside of arriving at the airport too early), I opted to get myself a drink.

img_9116I noticed a bottle of sparkling water that was just around HKD 17. I thought to myself, why not give this a try and see why such was even made.

Sadly, I only drank around 25 ml of the stuff and never touched it again. It wasn’t because it tasted awful. It had no taste at all, actually. Or, maybe it did taste like normal mineral water. What I could not get was the feel of the water in my mouth. It’s like I am expecting to drink Sprite or 7-Up but wasn’t getting the taste. My senses were confused. I could not understand the hype at all.

Despite our lack of adventures during this trip to HK, I really enjoyed meals with Trixie. We miss her at home so much. Hope to be back again soon!

Missing Hong Kong

My sister is home!!!

I picked up my sister at the airport and I arrived just in time when the plane she was in landed. Talk about timing!

Anyway, while I was waiting for her, I started walking around. Then, I noticed this:

Tsim Sha Tsui. It’s got the same name as the Kowloon’s shopping and nightlife district. I started wishing I was in the airport to go to Hong Kong instead.

I miss traveling. That’s the thing I miss about my previous job as an internal bank auditor. I got to travel to so many places that I did not have to spend a single centavo for.

I shall make it a point to travel this year whether locally or internationally. So, I must save up!

Jacuzzis and Discoveries

The earth laughs in flowers. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

A recent trip to Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino had me dipping alternately between hot and cold water. I went with my former colleagues who happen to have become my really good friends.

I am not sure about the temperatures stated because the jacuzzi was not as warm but the cold water pool was as cold as the winter in Hong Kong.

We had fun teasing some of our friends into diving into the cold water without warning them how cold it was.

The jacuzzi was relaxing although I would have liked it just a tad bit hotter.

Because we swam towards the time for the sunset, we did not have to worry about too much sun exposure or the weather being too hot for comfort. Although, I admit wishing we started a little bit earlier, like an hour earlier.

While the others were still in the pools, I wandered a little bit because I saw this flowering plant with buds of flowers bursting with bright pink, yellow and white colors. They looked so cute I had to snap a photo! But since it was a little bit windy, I could not get the flower to stay in the center.

Just when I thought the flowers were the most exciting part of this plant, I was surprised by something else.

It has fruits! Or, at least I think they are fruits.

I tried researching what these flowers and fruits are but I guess I am not using the correct keywords because I was not getting what I wanted.

That’s me, sometimes. I zone out and withdraw from the group to recharge. Along the way, I discover little wonders that I probably would not have seen. If I stayed in the pool, I would not have see these cute little wonders of nature.

The nice things about the friends I have made in my former work colleagues is that we all have our quirks and unique qualities but they are accepted as part of who we are. We do not bother about “fitting in” so much because there was no need to in a group so welcoming to the idea that we are all different.

They called me when it was time to go to a different pool so I bade the plant goodbye. I do not know why it was alone (I did not see more of the same plant around) but I wish I got to let it know that it was so beautiful.

Remembering Boracay

It was in August 2017 when I got to go to Kalibo, Aklan. Naturally, Boracay was in the list of places to go given that it was already very near Kalibo. It was my first time in Boracay and I had high hopes to enjoy this very beautiful and very famous island. Thinking it was just a beach resort destination, I was surprised at how big it was and how many businesses and residential areas were there. It’s my fault for not researching beforehand.

The water and the sand were truly lovely! I enjoyed the walk along the beach and the fire dance performances at night (it’s what excited me the most about going). There were lots of activities to choose from so one will not run out of things to do.

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The water was so blue and the white sand was so fine! It was then that I saw what was making Boracay famous to tourists from all over the world. Indeed, there were lots of foreigners around at that time, although I don’t think the resort ever runs out of visitors unless there’s a typhoon. Unfortunately, it meant the beach being very crowded too.

IMG_0060We went for an island-hopping tour which was lovely until I got tempted into joining the snorkeling activity. Unfortunately, my life vest was not working with me with so I had a hard time maneuvering in the water. To top that, despite screaming for assistance, our guide was just watching and laughing at me even if I was truly having difficulty getting back on the boat. Still, I enjoyed the rest of the boat trip, the last stop being the island with a very feisty monkey.

The island was once home to several monkeys. According to the guide, though, there was a typhoon that killed the monkeys, leaving only one. It had quite a temper and was very protective of the island, scaring anyone who dared go near. I wish the local government would do something about this though. I imagine it’s so lonely for the monkey to live by himself in the island.

Despite how beautiful the island was, I cannot help but feel that it was becoming too crowded for comfort by business establishments and by tourists already. That’s why I am glad that the government took steps in trying to improve the place, going after business establishments that are not complying with regulations.

What I am unsure of is if six months closure is just right or is too much, considering a lot of people will be negatively affected like those who rely solely on tourism to be able to food on their table. I hope the government works on the rehabilitation as quickly as possible without sacrificing the quality of output so that. I also hope everyone involved will cooperate to get things done right away in the right way.

I also hope that they can do something about the unregulated providers of activities because the pricing of activities in Boracay are so crazy. Some overcharge while some charge very cheaply with the risk of not being provided with sufficient safety gears and equipment. I would love for Boracay to be a place where tourists will not feel ripped off.

Overall, my experience in Boracay was pretty okay. There were other similar places where I had more fun though. Despite that, I am eager to see what the government will do to transform Boracay to an even better and more beautiful tourist destination. That being said though, a casino is not one of the improvements I have in mind.

Travel Tips: Things to Bring on a Day Trip

I am not a light packer. Whenever I went for out-of-town work, my suitcase was always full of stuff that I made sure I had on hand just in case. I can attribute it to my being a worrier or maybe I just adored Mary Poppins too much (her bag is basically bottomless, right?).

There was even a time when I brought a mini electric kettle with me! To my defense, we were able to use the kettle throughout our assignment because the hotel we stayed in did not provide that in the rooms. Those were the times we were living on coffee and cup noodles because we were saving for activities to do over the weekends.

While it was good that I was prepared almost always for unexpected events—and we had lots of them during our travels—it still feels nice to pack light from time to time, especially for day trips. Unless you know how to use an undetectable extension charm like what Hermione used on her small, beaded handbag she used while she, Harry and Ron were hunting for Voldemort’s Horcruxes, you may want to know what essential stuff to bring with you to make your day trips carefree other than your cellphone and wallet.

Here are my top 7 things to get when you’re touring a place and you want to be ready for anything but still travel light:

  1. A spacious bag
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I have a thing for large tote bags. My selfie stick could not fit anywhere else but this bag!

You’d want to invest in a good quality bag that can carry a lot of stuff (I am talking about the pasalubongs and souvenirs you’ll buy during your trip) but not get destroyed like getting the straps yanked/ripped off. The more compartments, the better so that you will not have difficulty looking for stuff inside. Also, make sure it’s sturdy but not heavy. There are a lot of bags that are already heavy on their own because of their material.

You would also like to consider the weather and the place you’re going to. If it’s unpredictable and it rains from time to time, go for one that repels water. If you’re going to the beach, go for a dry bag. If you’re going to be hiking, go for a backpack. Find a bag that suits your activity but also expresses your personality. After all, your bag is a part of your OOTD. Make sure it isn’t boring!

Also, you may want to just bring an eco-bag or reusable shopping bag with you when you’re planning to buy a lot of stuff during the trip.

Recommendation:

Dry bag: Sandbar Adventures

  1. Sunscreen

Whether you’re going to the beach or riding an ATV, you must never forget to protect your skin from the sun. And no, don’t start with me about vitamin D! Find a sunscreen for your body and another for your face. Yup! Different parts, different needs. Unless, of course, the product mentions being suitable for both the face and the body.

Find one with sufficient SPF for you and comes in a handy bottle or tube. Sampler sizes are great for this! But, if you’re going with friends and you’re all okay with using the same product, you may want to buy the ones in sachets and all of you can use an entire sachet up so you would not have to put it back in your bag. That will only spell disaster.

The best for me is still the sunscreen in spray bottles. Not the mist kind. The ones that come in canisters, like the ones used for deo and body sprays.

Recommendations:

Belo SunExpert Tinted Sunscreen (for the face)

Dermplus Moisturizing Sunscreen (has a sachet version and is safe for both face and body)

Bioré UV Perfect Spray (My absolute favorite when I don’t want to feel sticky with sunscreen)

  1. Alcohol

I personally prefer alcohol over gel hand sanitizer because it’s not as sticky eventually and is more versatile. Also, I prefer ethyl over isopropyl. Go whatever works for you! Lastly, I prefer the regular bottles over those with the spray tops. Sometimes those sprayers won’t function properly when I need them too because they can get stuck.

For the size of the bottle to carry, it depends on the kind of activity you are going to. If it involves getting yourself dirty, bring some more. If you will just go sightseeing, a 50ml bottle should do the trick.

Recommendation:

Cleene Ethyl Alcohol (I love the smell!)

  1. Wet wipes

You never know when you’ll need to wipe your hands, your face, your legs or your butt (you know, emergency bathroom situations when there is no bidet so you can wash).

I personally spray alcohol on the wipes and clean my hands before eating. I admit, I think I am bordering germophobic already. But, it is always safe to have clean hands before you eat so you won’t get sick!

Recommendation:

Watsons wet wipes

I’d go for a 20-sheet pack but Watsons has mini packs too that can fit your pocket! They also have 10-sheet packs.

  1. First-aid kit

Nope, not that one that’s as big as the one in your office’s emergency supplies cabinet.

These are the items that I make sure are in my first-aid kit:

a. Asthma metered-dose inhaler / other asthma medicine

This is for asthmatics like me. Asthma is no laughing matter so make sure you have your inhaler/medications with you. If it’s in a table/pill form, bring at least two with you.

b. Anti-histamines

I am allergic to seafoods (I just turn red) so when I want to eat shrimps, crabs and clams when we go to places where seafood is very, very delicious, I take anti-histamine beforehand. Also, it’s nice to have anti-histamine in your bag in case you get an allergic reaction to something you were not aware you are allergic too. Two to three tabs should be enough for one very long day.

c. Pain reliever

If you’re someone who gets headaches or migraines, always have your pain reliever with you so you can stop the pain before it gets worse. After all, you would not want a headache to get in the way of your enjoying your trip, right? Just a couple of tablets should work fine. You don’t need to bring a pack of ten with you.

d. Anti-diarrhea tablets

When we travel, we love eating out! But sometimes, our stomachs do not agree with everything we eat.

In case of trouble brewing in your stomach that would cause frequent bathroom trips (I hope you have your wipes with you!), an anti-diarrhea medicine can save your day from completely going down the drain (or the toilet in this case).

f. Adhesive bandage

This is for the clumsy like me but it’s useful to have a couple of bandages on hand. Three to five pieces should do the trick.

g. Water

You should keep yourself hydrated especially when it’s very hot. Also, it is good to have something ready to help you drink your meds when needed.

  1. Umbrella

Before you go on your trip, try to research for weather forecast and the place’s general climate. You have to be prepared for the kind you might encounter because you would never want to be underdressed or overdressed.

Some people are unable to take the heat of the sun without an umbrella or their noses bleed (my aunt is like this). Some are not so sensitive with the heat.

I personally do not like using umbrellas when it is sunny since I try to stay out of the sun most of the time anyway but when it rains, I have to have one with me.

Find one that’s small and light for a sunny day and a more dome-shaped one for when it’s rainy. It does not have to be automatic because those can be heavy.

Recommendation:

For sunny weather, Fibrella F270 (I had one but am not sure if this is still available. You may look for something similar)

  1. Powerbank and charging cord

Back in the days when Nokia dominated the mobile phone industry, it was easy to buy an extra batter and charge it so you have back up. These days, we rely on powerbanks.

Find a powerbank that’s lightweight but can store enough power to charge your phone multiple times, especially when you’re using it to take pictures and videos. You do not have to go for the ones with 20,000mah because they can be quite heavy. That is, unless your cellphone battery drains really quickly and is almost on life support.

Otherwise, you may go for powerbanks that’s just at 10,000mah or even 8,000mah especially when you’re not going to be out the ENTIRE day.

Don’t forget your power cable/charging cord because without it, your powerbank is useless

Recommendation:

Asus Zenpower Duo 10,050mah

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Being prepared does not mean having to carry rocks with you. I have always carried all these stuff I mentioned when I went on trips. They were not heavy to bring at all. My bag only starts to get heavy after shopping (impulsive buyer here, sorry).

Of course, you may have to bring more stuff with you depending on where you’re going. For example, you’ll need to bring extra clothes and towel when going to the beach. Make sure to have large resealable plastic bags with you to keep your wet clothes in so they don’t mess the rest of your stuff. Don’t forget a waterproof case for your phone too! If going on a hike, you’d want to take a water bottle and a face towel with you. And if you’re going shopping, a large, foldable eco-bag will be helpful when buying a lot of stuff.

Invest in travel-sized bottles that you can fill with your favorite products so you only need to bring the quantity you need. Beabi is a good place to buy these stuff from. The Landmark is also a great place to buy travel essentials at very affordable prices.

If your travel is overseas, you may want to ensure your passport and other relevant travel documents are with you. What I do with mine is to keep them in an organizer that I keep in zip lock bag so they will be safe from accidentally getting wet or ruined. I do the same thing for my wallet especially when going on a sudden trip to the beach and I do not have a dry bag with me. I cannot afford to ruin my cards or else, I’ll be broke for the entire duration of the trip/travel.

The most important thing to carry with you though is a sense of adventure. Don’t just take pictures. Be in the moment! Enjoy the sun, the breeze, and the activities! Pictures may last a lifetime but you would not want your memories of your travel just all about taking pictures, right?

***Disclaimer: The recommendations mentioned here are just based on personal preference. They are not necessarily the best in the market.

Lakawon, Cadiz, Negros Occidental

Lakawon is an island off the coast of Cadiz, Negros Occidental.

Its shape is like a banana, giving you a long shore to walk by to enjoy your choice of the sunrise or the sunset (or both!). It has beautiful white sand that can compete with that of Boracay despite being on the coarser side. The water is so clear and refreshing to the eyes! Look at all that blue!

There is a resort on the island but there are not much recreational facilities yet. As such, it may not be as exciting as Boracay or Puerto Galera. Rather, it’s more suited to being a place to unwind, relax and appreciate nature’s charms.

You may ride the Ceres bus from its terminal in Bacolod. It will take you to Cadiz where you can ride a tricycle to get to the boat terminal where you can ride to Lakawon.

Read the rest of my adventures in Negros Occidental! Click on the link to see where else you might want to visit and be Occidental-y in awe!

Britania Group of Islands, Surigao del Sur

In the municipality of San Agustin, Surigao del Sur is a group of untouched islands known as the Britania Group of Islands.

It’s so beautiful that it will like you’re in a paradise of your own!

Read about our Britania experience and other treasures of Surigao del Sur that we have visited here.