Friday, April 11, 2008

Sun, sand and everything in between

Summer has always been my favorite time of the year. Primarily because it's hot and I can take the heat. Hahaha. No, I mean, I can really (really) take the heat. I have very low tolerance for cold, much less, for getting wet. I bring jacket/cardigans/coats anywhere, especially at nighttime, because it gets too cold for me. But I have very, very high tolerance for heat. So in summer, I don't have to worry about getting too cold while watching a movie or being rained down when I get out of the house without an umbrella.

Summer also gives us the license to wear anything casual, light, and just bask in the sun, doing nothing, in your 2-piece (1-piece bathing suit + towel = 2-piece). :) There is just something about the sun, THEN water, touching my body that gives me a rush.

In connection, I would like to summarize my top 3, no, 4, or maybe 5... OK, OK, TOP 3 favorite places I have visited during summertime. Note that most of these have bodies of water in them. I absolutely, positively, like water.

1. Boracay. Everyone who has been to Boracay would know what I mean when I say, nothing can beat this one. Oh well, OK, there are other beaches like Cabugao Beach Resort (which they say is the Boracay of the North... well), or that sand bar in Camiguin, or Laiya Beach in San Juan, Batangas (which I have yet to see). But Boracay is still Boracay. With it's laid back aura, great night life, and that powder-y sand, one cannot ask for more.

The best part about this vacation was I did it right after med school, before internship, with my GFs in the best accommodation -- Hey Jude!. And oh boy, I was so glad I did because internship in Jose Reyes MMC was a killer. And my first rotation? OB wards. Argh!

I remember that I came in late for our rotation in OB, positively glowing like a litson. My co-intern, whom I met the first time that day, suddenly asked me, "Are you from the States or something."

"Or something." It must be the tan.

2. Sagada, Banawe, Battad

I've seen this place while I was already a DTTB. Since I have batch mates in the program who are assigned in Banawe and Ifugao, they keep on telling me that I must see, at least once, the Rice Terraces, before I die. Of course, I wouldn't want to wait that long. So together with my friends J and A and A's mom, we did a tour of Sagada-Banawe-Battad. This was right after the Julia Campbell story so we were sort of curious to see Battad.

The caves in Sagada were amazing, hanging coffins were pretty extraordinary and the food (and of course, yoghurt) in Yoghurt House was superb.

Banawe, on the other hand, was too commercialized for my taste but we had to see the famous Banawe Rice Terraces, had great dining in Banaue Hotel and there were a lot of museums here.

But my favorite experience here was when we met one elderly Ifugao couple who lives behind the Banawe Hotel and they lent us their costumes for picture taking! They even showed us how they weaved the merchandise which they sell - from bags to blouses to bedsheets. Now, THIS is one of the reasons why I love traveling, when you meet people like Manang Anna and Mang Juan.

Battad, I must say, have the BEST rice terraces, once can see in a lifetime, with Tappiyah Fall as the icing on the cake. The only downside is, you have to work hard, err, walk long and hike a lot, before you will be able to appreciate the beauty of Battad.

But if you only have to see only ONE of these 3 places, I recommend Sagada, especially if you like nature/outdoor.

3. Samal Island

It was right after college graduation when our friend C invited us to her hometown, Davao City, for 2 weeks. We visited the usual tourist spots like the Crocodile farm, Malagos Garden, Eden Garden, Jack's Ridge and ate at Colasa's. But my favorite of all is the Samal Island. Again, because of the beach. What I liked most about this place is that it is quite deserted. In fact, there were only 3 groups of people, including ours, when we went there. And the water is clear. We even went snorkeling with new friends we met there.

I haven't been back to this island but my friend said that it is still the same island that I remember -- isolated. So perfect for a getaway.

These are only my TOP 3 favorite places that I have been to during summer. But I have been to comparable beaches in Subic, Olongapo, Lemery and Mabini, Batangas if you are looking for a beach near Manila. If you feel like going out of town or doing a long drive, there's Puerto Gallera's white beach, or beaches in San Juan and Bauang, La Union or Pangasinan's Bonuan and Hundred Islands.

After writing this, I just feel like I need to go to the beach tomorrow, bask in the sun and just forget that I have to be back in the barrio by Monday! Hahaha.

By the way, if you need any travel tips on any of these places, don't hesitate to contact me. No, I am not a tour guide nor do I own a traveling agency. I would just like to believe that I am a great travel advisor, but only on those places I have been to.

See you at the beach!

On a makabayan note, I have always believed that we Filipinos must know our own country first before knowing others. So in as much as I wanted to put vacation sites I have been to outside the country, I decided to promote the best ones here, first.


Anonymous said...

Hurray for Philippine beaches!

See you there!

Ness said...

thank you merry cherry!!