#TripMagSoloSaMati : A less than 24 hours journey

Last weekend I went on a solo trip to one of the surfing sites in the Philippines, Mati City. It is the 5th class city and capital of the province of Davao Oriental. Famous for surfing and skim boarding but there are still a lot of things you can do there. 😊

Check out my experience over the weekend. And include this on your #travelgoals, #bucketlist and #wanderlust journey. 😀

HOW TO GET THERE From Ecoland Bus Terminal in Davao City, you can take a bus with Mati signage. There are two bus liners that ply there. You can also choose either to take the non-stop, air conditioned or non-air conditioned bus.

In my case, I was able to take the air conditioned bus because the non-stop bus follows schedule (not every hour).

The fare is Php 240 and the travel time is 5-6 hours including all the stopover both in bus stops and terminals.


I thought that I am the only passenger but people arrived a few minutes after. HAHA!

HOW TO GET AROUND The tourist destination in Mati is kinda far from each other, except the Baywalk and Clock Tower which both can be found in the city proper.

If you want to go around, you can either take a habal-habal (motorcycle), tricycle or rela. I am not sure if how much is the fare for the trike and rela since I took the habal-habal.

These habal-habal drivers will approach you once you get off at the bus terminal. The rate will differ on where you will go. Try to negotiate to lower the rate if you think it’s too much.

For me, I hired to tour me around and dropped me off at Dahican Beach. My driver, Kuya Mon 0935 4768200 gave me a rate of Php 500. The next day, he charged me Php 150 to pick up from Dahican Beach and drop off at the Bus Terminal.

SLEEPING DINOSAUR Our first stop is the Sleeping Dinosaur.

IMG_5889.JPG Supposedly, you can get off at the viewing deck before you arrive in the terminal. However, I chose not to because I was worried that I will find it hard to look for a vehicle to ride going to the terminal.

It is about 10-11 kilometers away from the terminal. Or about 15-20 minutes ride.

As the name suggest, it is a hill that formed like a sleeping dinosaur. A portion of it is surrounded with seawater. Visitors can also trek on it. It will take 30 minutes.

But for people like me who has limited time, I just took photos and appreciated it from the viewing deck. 🦖

IMG_5874IMG_5848CLOCK TOWER Before we headed to our next stop, we stopped at the city’s Clock Tower. It can be found near the City Hall. Near the clock is written the date 1903 when the place was declared as a municipality.

BAYWALK Last stop before heading to Dahican Beach is their Baywalk. It is located by the sea. It is surrounded by stalls and restaurants. Here you can find and buy the famous Empanada. Kuya Mon kept on asking me if I will buy but I didn’t since I won’t directly go home from Mati. But, when I go back, for sure I will try this.

IMG_5914.JPG Many people both locals and tourists would go here especially when the sun is about to set. Some are just relaxing and chatting while others are taking pictures, eating and even dancing. The sunset here is beautiful too.

CRZR2376.JPGDAHICAN BEACH Kuya Mon then dropped me off at Amihan sa Dahican. He has been promoting and convincing me to stay here but I already had a reservation at Dahican Surf Resort.

For those who plan to go to Mati City, you can either stay at Dahican Surf Resort or Amihan sa Dahican. Actually, they are just a few walk away from each other.

The difference might be that DSR has rooms and tents that you can choose from. Their fan room costs Php 2000 (5 pax), Php 2400 (6pax), Php 3600 (10pax), Php 4800 (12 pax) and AC room for Php 1500 (2pax) while their tent rental is Php 300-500 plus the entrance fee of Php 200 per pax. You can reach them at their Facebook page Dahican Surf Resort. They only have common comfort room and shower. They have Surf Shack Bar and Grill where you can dine and drink. They also teach surfing lessons.

On the other hand, Amihan sa Dahican only offers tent for those who want to overnight. The rate is Php 320. They have a store where guests can buy their needs. However, they don’t sell liquors/alcohol drinks and cigarettes. They don’t allow drinking within the premise since they are protecting the marine life of the turtles and the kids that they are supporting. They advise guests who want to drink to go to DSR. They also offer surfing lessons for Php 500 per hour. And they can cook for their guests at a corresponding fee. If you want to stay here, please send me a message so that I can give you the contact number of the caretakers.

Wherever you choose to stay, always keep in mind to be responsible guests. Do not throw garbage anywhere. Help the people protect their paradise.

SURFING I did not go to Mati City just to chill and eat even if I want to just sleep all day. Hahaha.

But I went there to do something for the first time and tick off it from by bucketlist. That is surfing!

I have been to Siargao but was not able to do it. And so, I will not miss this time.

I went to Amihan sa Dahican for the surfing lesson. My instructors, Kuya Winston, Qiara and Kuya Jose were so patient with me the whole time.

img_6108.jpg First thing we did since it was my first time was to do the basic. Paddle, ready and stand up.

After learning it, we went to the water and applied what they taught me. After few minutes, I was kinda frustrated thinking that 1 hour may be over yet all I did was paddle. But, I did not give up. I kept on trying and motivating myself that I can do it. Plus my instructors are encouraging me and very helpful.

Until I did once, twice, thrice and I did enjoy. It was the best experience though.

After falling for a couple of times, I did it.

I was very happy after that and felt so fulfilled. 🙂


Happy Kiddo 🙂


on id="attachment_media-149" align="aligncenter" width="506"]IMG_6027.JPGMy instructors Kuya Winston & Qiara 🙂[/caption]<br
that, I went back to DSR to change and prepare my things. Then, checked out and headed back to Amihan sa Dahican where Kuya Mon will pick me up.

Indeed, it was an experience that I will always look back and cherish. Not just because I was able to surf. But before the trip, there were people who told me that it's gonna be hard and unsafe for me to go there alone. This motivates me more to do it. Also, I was able to meet and chat with new friends (the locals). Talked about their lives and how beautiful & peaceful their place is.

Definitely, I will be back in Mati City. First for the empanada. Second for the museum (I missed to visit because I was running out of time). Third is for the turtle at Amihan sa Dahican. Fourth is for the surfing. And lastly, of course for the people and my newfound friends.



  1. Mati City is far from Davao City so it is better to depart Davao City early in the morning. Much better also if you can take the non-stop bus.
  2. When traveling to/from Mati City, you can bring your foods but there will also be stopover.
  3. It is better if you contact a habal-habal driver to pick you up and tour around the city.
  4. If you have already contacted a driver, you can ask the bus driver or conductor to drop you off at Sleeping Dinosaur so that you won’t need to go back there. It will save you time. Then inform your habal-habal driver to pick you there.
  5. Do not forget to try the famous Empanada at their Baywalk.
  6. Buy your dinner at the city before heading to Dahican Beach. Though, Dahican Surg Resort has a restaurant but the foods being served is limited.
  7. You can also buy your necessity like snacks, water, toiletries, etc. in the city. There are many convenience stores in the area. There are also banks where you can withdraw money.
  8. If you want to stay in a room, reserve a room in advance at Dahican Surf Resort. There rooms are very limited that it gets fully booked fast.
  9. If you opt to stay in a tent, there are options to choose from. You can either bring your own tent or rent their tent at Amihan sa Dahican or Dahican Surf Resort. There is also an area a few meters away from DSR where you can put up your tent.
  10. Do not leave Mati City without surfing. May it be your first time or not, or may you be a beginner or expert, you should do it. It is indeed fun! 🙂

I hope you can pay a visit at Mati City. It is kinda far but it is totally worth it. Plus the people are so accommodating and friendly. You will not just gain experience and stories to tell but you will also gain new friends. 😀


I have been to El Nido once way back 2016 (if I am not wrong). And this year, I went with my family minus my mother. For the almost 2 years difference that I visited there, one thing that I noticed is that there are more tourists now. Maybe because it is easier to go there and many have great stories and pictures that had been shared. So, yeah!

But, what can I say during my visits in El Nido?

  1. It is a long drive or trip to get there except if money is not a problem and you can just ride on an airplane directly to El Nido. But for travellers like us who are mostly on budget, we need to do it the longer yet less comfortable but still convenient way. We took 5-6 hours to reach El Nido. It was a journey seeing trees, mountains, rock formations, oceans, and a lot more.
  2. Long drive no problem. You know why? It is because it is totally worth it. What awaits you there is very beautiful.
  3. Still beautiful place for island hopping and snorkeling. The corals and fishes are very alive and numerous. They are well taken care of by the locals. The lagoons are clean and beautiful. The sea is very inviting. We did not get tired of swimming and snorkeling. Every side is picturesque. You can have tons of photos worth sharing. Mother Nature is instagrammable and jaw dropping.
  4. The people’s care and love is very present. You can really tell that the locals there are doing their best to protect the province. Maybe because it is a huge means of income but more than that it is their paradise. Indeed, it is paradise that needs to be cared and protected.
  5. There are rules that need to be followed when doing the island hopping tours. Every guests are expected to follow the rules especially not throwing of garbage on the ocean, not feeding the fishes and not stepping on the corals. In this way, we are sure that the species are not damaged and disturbed.
  6. The no plastic policy. I am not sure if this is implemented throughout the town but we were able to buy in a store and they are using paper bags instead of plastics. And they cannot even provide one because they are not allowed to.
  7. There is a wide variety of place to stay from homestay to inns to pension houses to hotels to resorts. What ever you like and whatever suits you, they have something for you. You just have to choose based on your own preference.
  8. The foods are delicious. The prices are reasonable I believe because the serving is big, the seafood is fresh and they are all yummy. Worth every penny.
  9. The amazing and friendly people. When you go to El Nido you can meet different kind of people both locals and tourists. But everyone in El Nido (the locals) are friendly. From the van driver to the tour guide to the boat captain to the crew to the tricycle driver to the restaurant staff to the vendors. They are nice and helpful.
  10. Sunset in El Nido is mesmerizing. We took one photo in a restaurant with the sunset as background. Wow! It is like a painting. Very beautiful 🙂


On the other hand, there are few things that can still be improved in El Nido.

  1. The tricycle rate is not fixed. We ride on different tricycles and the drivers gave us different rate even if our origin and destination are just the same. They should regulate this as well. Yet, surcharge fees still be applied during late night trips.
  2. The road is small for the number of vehicles going around and coming in & out. Since it is getting popular and many tourists are coming, sometimes you can feel a traffic jam. Though it is very tolerable.
  3. This is for those who cannot live without internet connection. Their internet connection in El Nido is weak. But maybe the good side with this is that you can connect to the people you are traveling with and the people around you by disconnecting yourself from the digital world. Because personal conversation is still the best communication. As they say, Disconnect to Connect.


Indeed, El Nido is a place that everyone especially island and beach lovers should visit. Thanks to the locals for taking good care of their wealth. And I hope every tourist that will go there will remember the rules and will help protect El Nido. I hope they will be mindful enough to avoid doing things that could ruin it. In this way, we can share the beauty of El Nido to the generations to come.






Hi, guys! It has been awhile since I posted in my blog. But I will try to publish our latest escapade the soonest that I can. I just hope though. HAHA!

Anyway, a few days ago , me & my family (except Mama) went on an out of town trip in Palawan.

So, why Palawan?

Palawan is always part of the dream destination of most of the people not just with Filipinos but even foreigners. But other than that, there can still be another reasons for other people why they chose to visit Palawan.

For me & my family, I guess we have more or less 3 reasons. Let us talk about that one-by-one.

  1. Palawan is a popular tourist destination.
    • Having one of the 7 Wonders in the World, Underground River,  be located in this place encouraged more people to go, visit & experience it. But aside from that, Palawan has in store a lot of wonderful things to do and see. Of course, that includes the wonderful beaches.
  2. Palawan is so beautiful to miss.
    • Palawan is more than just a city or a province or a group of islands. But Palawan is paradise. A paradise of the beautiful Mother Nature, delicious foods and friendly people. These and more really want you to come and go back.
  3. Palawan used to where my father worked when he was younger.
    • He talked about it a lot of times and over & over again. And every time that he shared his story, you can see that excitement and happiness in his eyes and voice. Actually, he was his own talkative self during the trip, talking anything to the our tour guide, boat crew and van driver.
  4. I have been here last 2016 (if I am not wrong) and I want my family especially my parents to visit it. I want them to experience what I did, to create their own memories and to tell their own story.

That is why when Cebu Pacific Air offered a seat sale promotion last August for their domestic and international flights, I then checked to possible places where we can go. Fortunately, the fare to Puerto Princesa was only around Php 1800 per person and that’s already round-trip. And so, I called my sister, mother and aunt. When they agreed, I then booked everyone. I booked 10 pax that include my parents, sister, brother, sister-in-law, aunt, uncle and 2 cousins.

Months prior to our scheduled trip, I created an itinerary then I asked tour packages in an agency. But as days went by, I decided to have it DIY (do-it-your own). That’s when I started looking for hotels to stay, van transportation to rent and tour in El Nido.

When we were like a few weeks away to our trip, my uncle became unsure if he can go because he has a training to attend, my brother sent me a chat message that he won’t let my sister-in-law go because of some personal things and my mother is hesitant to go as well because of work. Until we were able to convince my brother to go but they will just go home ahead of us and thanks God, he agreed. So, I booked his round-trip plane ticket and my sister-in-law’s return ticket. Then, my aunt also called requesting me to book for my uncle from Manila instead of Cebu.

On the contrary, my mother really was not able to go because of work. Okay! We already ranted and complained enough and everything was over so I won’t rant again here. 😀

Thus, the trip was a mixed of emotions. Happy that we can spend it with the family. Excited because it will be our first out of town trip together (aside from Negros Occidental & Cebu). Plus, it’s my cousin’s (Keishza) first plane ride and she didn’t know about this trip until we arrived in the airport. She’s 9 years old by the way. Sad & worried because Mama cannot join and she’s alone in the island.

In addition, typhoon Basyang had landfall on the week of our trip. We were worried that it might be stormy during the weekend. Thanks God and we were blessed with a fine, sunny weather.

I am gonna share our tour, experiences and tips on the following posts.


  1. If you are going to El Nido or other municipality in Palawan, you can commute a van, or rent a van or car. I am not sure if how much is the fare but for El Nido, it costs Php 600 per person per way if you will commute. But for us, we rented a van from Northern Hope Tours at Php 10,000.00 two-way.
  2. It is cheaper to rent a van for the city tour than book a tour. The van costs Php 1500 for the first 4 hours while the city tour package costs Php 600 per head. The differences are when you rent a van, it only comes with the transportation, fuel and driver. But, you have the option where to go and how long to stay. While when you avail a tour package, there is a tour guide, a transportation, fuel, entrance fees, driver and snacks. But, it is limited to what is included in the package.
  3. Puerto Princesa is a little bit traffic already. So make sure that you have enough time to travel to the airport. Enough that you won’t be left by the airplane.
  4. There are lots of places to choose where to stay in Palawan. Just make sure to book earlier because there are many tourists coming there and rooms are most likely to get sold out fast.
  5. If possible, devour yourself with seafood. The province is rich with this. You can choose from a wide variety of foods. They can cook it whatever you like.
  6. Try their Crocodile Sisig and Tamilok. These sounds weird but the first tastes like a ground pork while we haven’t tried the second. But it is best to try something new.
  7. Don’t forget to bargain when you buy pasalubong and souvenir. Use your haggling skills because in most cases, it worked for me. HAHAHA!
  8. The people in the province really gives important to Mother Earth. They really have this mission to protect and conserve it. So, always abide their rules and help them protect the nature and their pride.
  9. When you travel, aside from seeing, exploring and experiencing, also try to learn from where you go. Learn about the history, the story and even its purpose. In this way, we would understand the people in there.
  10. Remember to connect to the people (both the locals and fellow tourists) and have fun.


Day 1 – Puerto Princesa City Tour


#LaFamiliaGoesPalawan: Puerto Princesa City Tour

And the day has come… our trip to Palawan!

Early morning on the 16th day of February, 2018, we all met in Mactan Cebu International Airport. 6 of us including me, my sister, father, aunt and 2 cousins came from Cebu City; my uncle from Manila; and my brother & sister-in-law from Escalante City.


Cebu Pacific Air was on time that day. We were able to took off at around 10:40AM and landed before 12NN.



I called our van driver but he was still on his way. So, while waiting, we took a few photos in this podium placed in celebration of the Chinese New Year (which is that day and it’s a holiday).


After about 15 minutes, he arrived and told him that we will have lunch at Kalui Restaurant. My sister was able to try it there on her first trip to Palawan and she did recommend the place. When we arrived, many were waiting outside. This only proved that this place is really popular and in demand.



We did not wait that long until a table was available to accommodate all of us. After ordering and getting our tummy full, we went to their comfort room. Guess what if what did we do??? Yeah! We took photos again. We can’t help it. The place is so beautiful. Their comfort room looks like a house and there are many paintings outside.

After that, we went to our first stop of the Puerto Princesa City Tour.

Plaza Cuartel

This used to be the military base during the World War II. There is a tunnel that connects to the airport. Unfortunately, it is no longer accessible.



Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral

Next stop is the Cathedral that can be found just across Plaza Cuartel. We went inside, prayed then went out.


Then the driver asked us if where we want to go, Crocodile Farm or Butterfly Eco Garden and Tribal Village. He pointed out the differences. The first being a crocodile farm, we can find baby crocs to big crocs. While the second being a Butterfly Eco Garden and Tribal Village, we can find butterflies. Aside from that, there are also other animals that can be found including a crocodile. Then there is a tribal village where we can meet Palawan natives called Palaw’an.

Just to clarify, Palawan is a place while Palaw’an are the people living there.

Souvenir Shop

Before we headed to our next stop, we dropped by the Souvenir Shop to do some souvenir and pasalubong shopping.

Butterfly Eco Garden and Tribal Village



After paying the Php 50.00 per adult entrance fee, we were then welcomed by a tour guide. He gave us some information about Palawan including why their logo is peacock. Palawan peacock-pheasant can be found only in Palawan and is considered to be the most expensive peacock in the world. A baby peacock costs around USD2000 each. They are already endangered.



After that, we headed to meet other animals in the garden.


Then the guide told us that the Tribal Show will about to start and he handed us to the other tour guide who can speak the native language, Ibalnan.


Everyday they will do a show to visitors to introduce their creations, activities, livelihoods, talents and even how they hunt for foods. Every two weeks, the families will be exchanging who will stay in the village and others will go home in the mountain. The people in the Butterfly Eco Garden also teach the young natives their language so that they won’t forget it.

After that, the visitors can take a photo with the natives and their pet, a snake. I don’t like reptiles and snakes are really not my thing. I think I have a phobia both the animal and the human (LOL! HAHA).


Mitra’s Ranch

This is a place owned by late Senator Ramon Mitra. It is a very beautiful place with an overlooking view of Puerto Princesa City and Dos Palmas Resort. Visitors need to pay the entrance fee of Php 20.00 to be able to get inside the house and take photos. They also have a small bar where visitors can have a snacks. They have zipline and horseback riding too. But, the view is so breathtaking and more than enough to stay and chill.




Baker’s Hill

Our last stop is Baker’s Hill. We roamed around and took photos. Then decided to eat pizza before heading out. We then got back to the van and headed to El Nido.

The 5-hour journey now begins.

We departed at 5:30PM then arrived at St. John Island View Pensionne House at 10:30PM. We just had a short stopover at Halfway to have our dinner.




  1. If you are renting a van for El Nido and have enough time for a City Tour, you can do it before departing to El Nido. We rented at Northern Hope Tours.
  2. If you are traveling in a group, it is cheaper if you just rent a van than getting a tour package. Unless, you want a tour guide with you. A van rental costs Php 1500 for 4 hours while the City Tour package is Php 600 per person.
  3. When we had our City Tour, we chose the Butterfly Eco Garden and Tribal Village over the Crocodile Farm. First because there is still crocodile in the Eco Garden. Second, there is more animals that we can see in the Eco Garden. Third, the chance to meet and witness the natives.
  4. When buying souvenirs, try to haggle the price.
  5. Do not miss buying pasalubong from Bakers Hill. Their pastries and goods are delicious.
  6. You can eat and chill at Bakers Hill.
  7. You can do Zipline and horseback riding in Mitra’s Ranch.
  8. Kalaui Restaurant offers wide choices of delicious foods. Plus, the ambiance is very amazing.
  9. We chose St. John Island View Pensionne House because there were few hotels/resorts left that can cater a group of 10 pax. Also, there are good reviews in TripAdvisor. But, the resort is about 10-15 minutes tricycle ride (without traffic) to the beach.
  10. The tricycle fare in El Nido is not fixed. It will vary on the driver. Ask the hotel staff for the fare.