Monday, September 23, 2013


Location: Brgy. Pagsulhugon of Babatngon, Leyte, Philippines
Nearest Airport: Tacloban Airport

Blogger's Note: Google has not yet included a locator map for San Rafael Farm. Hence, this post has no Google map to show.

It’s worth to visit San Rafael Farm as you will be fascinated by its marvelously designed landscape. At one glance, one might think, it is a natural landscape but as you stroll around the place, you will discover it is purely man-made and you will admire the one who conceptualized its amazing landscaping. Located in Brgy. Pagsulhugon of Babatngon, Leyte which is 25-minute drive from downtown Tacloban, this place is perfect for meditation or even for social functions like wedding, baptism and birthday occasions.

The man-made lagoon

I came to know the place when I read the blog of Journeying James . By then, I obliged myself to include it as part of my trip itinerary when I attended the wedding of my colleague in Ormoc City. I have been to Tacloban City for a number of times since I am from the province of Samar but I have no idea that such a place like this exist. Thanks to James.

The scenery from inside the restaurant

Fortunately, a high school friend of mine resides in Tacloban City and so we planned together on how to squeeze my trip schedule so that I can include San Rafael Farm in my trip along with my Kalanggaman Island escapade.

The pavillion where the restaurant is housed

Together with another high school friend, we visited this San Rafael Farm and they treated me with a sumptuous lunch there. As far as I can recall, there is an array of choices for any refreshment or meal one may choose like the kilawing tanigue, farmer’s salad, herb-roasted chicken, string potatoes, turon (ripe banana saba), baked scallops with butter and garlic, baby- back ribs, green rice, lemon grass tea, carrots and corn side dish, buko gelatin, big servings of halo-halo, house-brewed iced tea. I tried the Kilawing Tanigue, herb-roasted chicken, green rice with carrots and corn side dish. The big serving of halo-halo was more than enough for me to seal my stomach to its maximum limit.

Trees provide shades leading to the man-made lagoon

While dining on its main building which is a restaurant, I was amazed with the interior designing made inside it where intricate pieces of antiques creates an ambiance of serenity and somewhat I was travelling in a time machine meeting up the characters in the era of Spanish colonizers of the Philippines where Ibarra could possibly been also there. Outside the restaurant is an infinity pond inhabited by a number of Japanese koi.

Garden stations and nipa huts are covered with vines

Going further outside, I enjoyed the garden stations almost covered with vines. There is a tree house which seems so magical and it was so cool enjoying the soothing cool breeze from trees around. The tree house can serve as a view deck to see in totality the man-made lagoon where a boating is available. One can do rowing moat. A moat is a deep, broad ditch, either dry or filled with water, that surrounds a castle, other building or town, historically to provide it with a preliminary line of defence during the Medieval era in Europe. In some places moats evolved into more extensive water defences, including natural or artificial lakes, dams and sluices. In later periods the moat or water defences may be largely ornamental.

Boating in the man-made lagoon

The refreshing and magical tree house

Just to give you an idea, you can have a drive of 30 minutes going to San Juanico Bridge or visit the historical Leyte Landing Park in Palo, Leyte.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Location: Palompon, Leyte, Philippines
Nearest Airport: Ormoc Airport
Next Nearest Airport: Tacloban Airport

Blogger's Note: Google has not yet included a locator map for Kalanggaman Island. Hence, this post has no Google map to show.

I visited this tourist spot when I attended a wedding in Ormoc City of my colleague in Manila though prior to that I also toured around Tacloban City as well as in San Rafael Farm in Babatngon, Leyte.

The long stretch of sandbar in one side of the island

Kalanggaman Island is a virgin island which can closely rival the fine beaches in some other parts of the country. It is considered to be a pride of the province of Leyte in the municipality of Palompon for being a photographer’s delight. Its shape with stretch of sandbars on both sides makes it unique. The good thing is, the island is not highly commercialized yet and so it is not crowded though it has already structures like huts, kiosk, grilling stations, simple volleyball court, concrete comfort and bath rooms and wooden tables and benches where guests can relax and unwind enjoying the island’s cool breeze. Before settling on the island, food marketing including the drinking water can be done in Palompon from its public market and grocery stores. This island is maintained and operated by the local government of the municipality of Palompon.

The mode of transportation to and from the island

From the port of Palompon, the island can be reached by a regular pump boat for an hour and 35 minutes by a speedboat. Boat fares and rentals are already regulated by the Palompon Municipal Eco-Tourism Council, Inc. to help the guests and visitors travel safely and no overpricing of the rates. In addition, it can be reached for approximately two hours boat ride from Malapascua of Cebu Island. However, it is advised that since the water can get rough anytime traversing from Kalanggaman to Malapascua, late afternoon is not the best time to do it. It is more safer to have it early at around 6:00 A.M. and one will even be fortunate to see dolphins swimming alongside the boat.

Guests and tourists are enticed by its clean and clear waters

Guests and visitors are all assured of no dull moments in the island as aside from a refreshing swim, they can also have snorkel, kayaking, aqua-biking, scuba diving and overnight picnic. A stroll around the island can be done for even half a day but preferably it can be done late in the afternoon during low tide. Each part of the island is a postcard perfect material.

The other side of the island during low tide

Afternoon walk is at its best during low tide as one can explore the island. The island is a home to a varied species of sea shells and is rich of vegetation endemic to the place. The topography of the island varies from powdery white sand to flat rocky formation.

The sandbar on the other side of the island during low tide

Low tides can help the guests and visitors maximize their opportunity to see the island into its minutest detail --- its dramatic massive shore bed rock, to loose rocks sprawling in decadence on its shoreline. This moment can be serene that one will like to experience as he can completely commune with nature far from surging effects of technology.

Its picturesque sandbar at low tide on a breathtaking sunset

Sunset in this part of the island can be captured at its best. It can be romantic to lovers and magnificent to photo enthusiasts. In fact, a painter can fix his canvass in this part of the island and paint the perfect sunset scenery.

That sunset!!!! only in Kalanggaman Island!

I have witnessed so many sunsets from my various travels but this one here is quite unique. Maybe because, less tourists and guests are here to rival that good experience.

As darkness slowly invades the island

Unlike other island destinations, Kalanggaman has no electricity. Thus, one may experience the night in complete darkness. With this, stars in the sky can be more visible and a shining moon can have its own glory to give its glow.

The island at a far distance

As we sail away from the island, we felt that urgency to visit it again and spend more time basking on its white powdery white sandbars. I would keep this promise to reunite again with its unparalleled beauty.

Tabuk Islet and its lighthouse

Tabuk Islet is closer to the Port of Palompon by around 3 minutes boat ride only. It is a mangrove sanctuary and one can enjoy bird watching on it. It has bamboo boardwalk where visitors can use for strolling around the islet.

Our lady host and the newly wed couple along the bamboo boardwalk in Tabuk Islet

I boarded a PAL flight going back to Manila through Tacloban Airport which was also my entry point since I stayed overnight in Tacloban with a former high school classmate before I pushed to Ormoc City for the wedding and finally went to Kalanggaman.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Location: Luzon Island, Philippines
Coordinates: 14031’N 120046’E
Area: 1,994 square kilometers (769.9 square miles)
Coastline: 190 kilometers (118.1 miles)
Maximum Length: 19 kilometers (12 miles)
Maximum Width: 48 kilometers (30 miles)
Surface Area: 2,000 square kilometers (770 square miles)

Manila Bay is a natural harbour which serves the Port of Manila, in the Philippines. The bay is considered to be one of the best natural harbours in Southeast Asia and one of the finest in the world.

Luneta Park is the best part of Manila Bay where its magnificent sunset can be enjoyed.

View Manila Bay in a larger map

Manila Bay Skylinescape

Manila Bay never fails to give one of the best sunsets in the world. Any person will undoubtedly be mesmerized by the beauty of its sunset. Lovers would love to exchange their vows at the Manila Bay while the sun dramatically sets to its rest. Families and groups of friends just love to spend an afternoon to witness the magnificent sunset of the bay. More importantly, Manila Bay as per record, is known to be one of the best natural harbors in Southeast Asia and one the finest in the world. It is a natural harbour which serves the Port of Manila (see the images of North Harbor and South Harbor) in Luzon of the Philippines where its coastline surrounds the western shores of Metropolitan Manila, - the country’s capital city. It has a historical significance dating back the pre-Spanish occupation.

Specifically, it is situated in the western part of Luzon and is bounded by Cavite and Metro Manila on the east, Bulacan and Pampanga on the north, and Bataan on the west and northwest. Entrance to the bay is 19 km (11.8 mi) wide and expands to a width of 48 km (29.8 mi). However, the width of the bay varies from 22 km (13.7 mi) as its mouth and expanding to 60 km (37.3 mi) at its widest point. Manila Bay also hosts four islands on it, namely: Corregidor Island, Caballo , El Fraile and Carabao Island of Cavite or Fort Frank.

The majestic Manila Bay sunset

The presence of a number of skyscrapers along Manila Bay adds up sophistication and majestic scenery where its showcase how Manila thrives into a metropolitan city with very impressive economic growth. Manila Hotel and Sofitel Hotel Manila are two of the closest with proximity to Manila coastline where the breathtaking sunset scenery can be captured.

The North and South Harbours both facilitate maritime activities in the bay where North Harbor is used for the inter-island shipping while the South Harbor is used for large ocean-going vessels.

Roxas Boulevard is almost a frontliner next to Manila Bay. Part of this is the CCP Park Complex where a lot of important cultural facilities were erected like the Cultural Center of the Philippines or known as Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. This is a reclaimed area which was developed into full scale and now a very important alternative for families to spend bonding activities during afternoon walking and jogging as well as during weekends.

The stretch of Roxas Boulevard along Manila Bay as copied from Wikipedia

The seawall fronting part of the Manila Bay which starts from the edge of the CCP Complex and beyond the Philippine Navy Headquarters can serve as a flat form for fishing enthusiasts. They may not have a good catch but it satisfy them as part of their hobby. The seawall primarily serves as an obstacle structure to stop ships and small boats to be drained to Roxas Boulevard due to destructive typhoons which carries strong and giant waves.

The imposing seawall fronting Manila Bay

The Grand Boulevard Hotel along Roxas Boulevard

The inner part of Roxas Boulevard is dotted by a number of hotels and one of them is the Grand Boulevard Hotel which has its accessibility to bay walk where afternoon and morning walk and jogging can be done.

Manila Bay skyline as viewed from SM Mall of Asia

Going mid south of the bay is the booming Mall of Asia which directly captures an imposing bayscape of Manila coastline.

NOTE: Most of the information contained in this post was taken from the Wikipedia – The Online Dictionary.