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Malaysia, Truly Asia

Early this year, I went to Malaysia alone – not that I wanted to be alone, but my friend who was supposed to be on the trip with me had to cancel because of unforeseen circumstances. I didn’t want to waste the opportunity so I still pushed through with the trip. Anyway, a former officemate who worked in Kuala Lumpur offered to be my tour guide during my stay there. (Thank you, Ochie, for being such a great host!)

Here are some photos from my trip:

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I loved the food and architecture in Malaysia! I didn’t have enough time to visit all the famous tourist spots but someday I will go back and explore the countryside, the islands and the beautiful beaches.

Kota Kinabalu, I will see you in May. 🙂

Love,

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Exploring Pangasinan!

I’ve always wanted to go to the famous Hundred Islands of Pangasinan. Last year, my officemates and I visited not only Hundred Islands, but Bolinao as well. I was super excited for this trip, not just because it was my first time to go to these two destinations, but also because they are part of my travel bucket list here in the Philippines. Much thanks to Ate Che for organizing the trip and for being the best itinerary planner ever!

Saturday 12mn – travel to Alaminos, Pangasinan (jump-off point to the Hundred Islands)

Total travel time: 5-6 hours via Victory Liner

We took the midnight trip to Alaminos so we won’t need to check-in to a hotel. We arrived in Alaminos around 5am. It was still dark so we looked around for someplace to stay while waiting for the sun to rise. However, all the fast food stores were still closed so we ended up eating lugaw and drinking 3-in-1 coffee in a store by the roadside. At twilight, we decided to look around.

By 6am, we decided to head to the Lucap Wharf. It took us about 15 minutes to get there via tricycle. When we got there, we registered at the Hundred Islands National Park Center and arranged for a boat for our day tour. Our boatman was so kind to help us buy fish at the market and have rice cooked for our lunch.

After a couple of minutes, everything was ready. Swimming gears – check! Food – check! Cameras – check! We eagerly stepped inside the boat, excited to see what the islands had to offer.

Trivia: Did you know that the Hundred Islands National Park is composed of 123 islands and islets?

Here are some of my shots:

What we did in Hundred Islands:

1. Snorkeling

Although we did not find a lot of corals and fish in the area where we snorkled, the giant clams were really amazing! If you have the guts to dive and touch them, you’ll get to see them snap shut. Just make sure your hand won’t get caught. You may want to bring your own snorkling gear and life jacket (if you’re not a good swimmer) since the ones that are rented out are already worn out.

2. Spelunking

The boatman took us to a small island with a cave. He told us that we’ll exit at the other side of the island. I was so excited to see the inside of the cave so I took on the challenge. Two of our companions didn’t come with us. The inside of the cave was so beautiful with the light coming through a small opening at the top of the cave. It was so surreal that I forgot I have a fear of closed spaces. After a few minutes, the boatman told us it was time to go. When I saw that the exit was a small opening at the other end of the cave and that we had to go through a 10-meter passage, I got really scared. But I couldn’t go back anymore so I told myself that I could do it. The boatman patiently instructed us on what to do. Eventually, we all got out alive! Thank God!

Billie coming out of the hole

3. Cliff diving

I also have a fear of heights and cliff diving at Marcos Island proved to be another challenge which I intended to overcome. It was pretty low but it still took me a few minutes to convince myself to jump. I’m glad I did! It was so much fun!

That’s me, getting ready to jump!

While we enjoyed swimming and snorkeling, our boatman and his assistant prepared our lunch! They docked our boat in one of the islands and we feasted in the delicious grilled fish. After lunch, we visited other islands and swam some more until we got tired. Finally, at around mid-afternoon, we bid goodbye to Hundred Islands to go to our next destination – Bolinao.

Overall, I enjoyed Hundred Islands! I’d definitely go there again. I want to try staying overnight in one of the islands.

Catch Part 2 of Exploring Pangasinan! soon to find out about my trip to Bolinao, Pangasinan.

For more information about the Hundred Islands National Park, check out:

 http://hundredislands.ph/

http://www.alaminoscity.gov.ph/index.aspx

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