Posted in Travel

The Island Of Fire: Siquijor

I was invited by a friend to join her on there high school batch reunion to be held in Limasawa Island the following weekend. As soon as I arrived from an official business trip to Iloilo and Bacolod, I tried to plan for our trip and accommodations on Limasawa Island. In the midst of our planning and negotiation for the accommodation, we heard from the news that martial law was declared for the whole Mindanao. This was due to the war against international terrorist groups invading Marawi City, Maguindanao.

My friend’s batchmates consider to cancel the reunion because of the possible threat in Limasawa Island being one of the possible exit points of terrorist groups from Mindanao. The island was said to be strictly guarded by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Sadly, this is happening in the Philippines but is under control of the government. Blessed that the country is divided into islands, with this, the siege is contained in Mindanao only while Luzon and Visayas area continue to live a normal life.

Being in love to travel, I can’t just stay home on the day I was suppose to be somewhere. Well, the country has 7,107 islands so we can still go on nearby provinces.

We think of alternate destination that can be arranged immediately.

Since we’ve been wanting to go to this small but too beautiful and enchanted island named Siquijor but can’t find time, we agreed to go there instead. It seems that this is the perfect time and timing to be there.

The island was first sighted by the Spaniards in 1565 during Miguel López de Legazpi’s expedition. The Spaniards called the island Isla del Fuego or “Island of Fire”, because the island gave off an eerie glow, which came from the great swarms of fireflies that gathered in the numerous molave trees on the island.Wikipedia

How to reach this beautiful island?

There’s no airport in this island. This can be reached via ferry and fast craft from nearby provinces such as Cebu, Dumaguete, Bohol. You may check the ferry schedules and routes.

For us, since we are coming from Cebu, we took a bus in South Bus Terminal in Cebu City bound to Dumaguete City. Travel time is estimated to be three to four hours, but in actual we had five hours (from 7am to 12nn). The bus will ride a RORO in Liloan Port, Santander, Cebu to Sibulan Port, Dumaguete. Travel time is only 25 minutes. Upon arrival in Dumaguete City, we dropped-off in Dumaguete Port to purchase ticket for Siquijor. It’s already 3pm. Unfortunately, no more available tickets for 4pm ferry. Remaining tickets are for 6pm only. We suppose to have a day tour upon arrival in Siquijor but with the delay and estimated arrival time if we take the 6pm ferry, we can’t have the tour within this day anymore.

Think. Think. Think!

After few minutes of discussion on the options we could take, we decided to stay in Dumaguete City overnight and proceed to Siquijor early morning the following day. We just purchased the earliest trip in advance, 7:20am.

We are not familiar with the province, it’s our first time to be there. Usually, last trips on public vehicles in the secluded provinces are so early like before 8pm. We booked an overnight accommodation in a resort almost 1 hour travel from Siquijor pier, so it won’t be a safe to proceed that night. We stayed in Dumaguete City instead.

The following morning, we took the 7:20am ferry and arrived at around 8:30am in Siquijor.

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Siquijor Port
We negotiated for a motorcycle tour . There are tricycle, motorcycle, and multicab that you can choose to for your day tour around Siquijor depending on the number of person(s).

We went to Larena Public Market to buy food for lunch then proceed to visit tourist spots in the province. We negotiated with the motorcycle driver to start the tour on the farthest spot going to the nearthest (Larena-Maria-Lazi-San Juan-Siquijor Port). With this, we will be nearer on the port since we need to go back to Dumaguete via 4:40pm ferry.

Guiwanon Spring Park, Larena

Salagdoong Beach

Salagdoong Molave Man-made Forest

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San Isidro Labrador Church

Lazi Convent

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Cambugahay Falls

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Century-old Balete Tree and Fish Spa

Capilay Spring Park

St. Francis of Assisi Church & Triangular Landmark

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We had our last stop here then proceed to the port at around 4pm, just in time for the 4:40pm ferry bound to Dumaguete.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BVKRuURlMJU/

Hoping for more travels and crazy adventures! 😉

Posted in Travel

A Detour To Remember: Dumaguete

A detour of detours….
With the delays on our departure for Siquijor, we decided to stay in Dumaguete City overnight.

We searched for an affordable hostel in Dumaguete City. Luckily, we found White Knights Dumaguete at Php650 per night for a standard air-conditioned room. It’s 5-minute away from the port and accessible via tricycle at Php10 fare.

After we checked-in, we relaxed for a while then went out for a leisurely walk to visit famous destinations nearby:

Silliman University

 

Dumaguete Cathedral and Belfry Tower

 

Rizal Boulevard at Night & Try the Street Food

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Sweet Treat in Sans Rival

 

The following day, we woke-up 5am and head to the port at 6am but it’s too early that we took some pictures first of the morning view of Rizal Boulevard.

Actually, we went to the port at 7am and almost missed the ferry due to long ques in terminal fee payment and check-in counters.

Wherever our feet bring us, we find ways to have fun, create moment, and enjoy life. Love the detours!

Time to go to The Island of Fire: Siquijor!

Hoping for more travels and crazy adventures!😉

 

Posted in Travel

Misadventures On The Way To Guimaras

I was assigned for an official business trip to Ilo-ilo and Bacolod. I’ve been there the previous year so I’m thinking of having side trip on the weekend, prior to my scheduled date of work, to nearby town or province like Capiz or Antique. Going to these places requires long hours of travel and I only have 2 days and one night prior.

I looked into the map (like Dora The Explorer) and seek the help of google, travel apps, and more, until I thought of going to Guimaras. The island is just 15 minutes away from Ilo-ilo City via boat and the fare is Php14 only.

So I arranged my schedule, planning for a tour in Guimaras and stay overnight in a resort.

The day has come. I woke-up at around 3am for my 5:40am flight. I felt hyper-active even though I only had 3 hours of sleep. I imagined myself jumping off the plane in Iloilo City welcomed by the morning sun.

As I arrived into the airport around 5am, I checked-in thru the kiosk but it wasn’t successful. I went to the counter instead. But upon checking by the in-charge, there is something wrong on the booking, it was not confirmed and it is equivalent to NO TICKET!

So I went to the airline office and have them check my booking. It was settled by the airline and so I was supposedly allowed to board on the 5:40am flight but unfortunately, it’s too late. The plane is closed and preparing for take-off.

I was rebooked to next flight which is 12:50pm.

Oohh! it was heartbreaking. My 7 hours was just wasted to waiting.

Anyways, after 7 hours of waiting at last I’m boarding – feeling exhausted though.

I arrived in Iloilo City Airport at around 2pm. It was a gloomy afternoon in Iloilo.

I went to the Public Utility Vehicle Terminal and rode into a UV Express Van bound to SM Iloilo (Fare is Php50). From there, rode a jeepney going to Ortiz Wharf (Fare is Php7).

From Ortiz Wharf, purchase a ticket going to Jordan Wharf (Php14). Wrote my name on the passengers’ list then proceed to the boat’s boarding area.

On my way to the boarding area, I was like – Oh the waves! It’s splashing on the walls of the wharf. Seeing the boat, it doesn’t have Iife vests on it and I don’t know how to swim!

But fear doesn’t bother me anyway! I did go on…

After approximately 15 minutes, I set foot on this little town, Guimaras.

I went to the Tourism Office for registration, asked for some directions and guides on the tour. Since it’s around 3pm already, I can’t proceed with the standard land tour, so I went to the resort directly (pre-booked via Agoda.com).   I booked in Czech Beach Resort, in Igdarapdap, Nueva Valencia. There are available UV Express Van in Jordan Wharf that go directly to Nueava Valencia. Travel time is approximately 35 minutes. I was the last passenger so the driver and his assistant dropped me off on the resort’s gate. It’s about 2 minute walk from the hi-way. They’re very kind when they knew it was my first time to go in the resort and don’t exactly know where it is.

I was welcomed by the resorts staff and introduced me to the owner – Libor. Now, I get it why the resort’s name is Czech. The resort is owned by a couple from Czechoslovakia, they’re very kind and accommodating. They transferred me into a better room since the guests who booked the room, shorten there stay due to work-related issues. The room is wide with overlooking view.

The resort was awesome. I would probably recommend the resort. The ambiance is very relaxing, tranquil, away from the noise of the city.

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afternoon view
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morning view

My disappointment on the changed flight and arriving in the island too late just vanished. I would probably would like to come back in this place.

One of the low points on this place was having power interruptions. That night, no electricity and because of that, me and the french couple Veronica & Rocco dine together on the nipa hut cottage. We had pasta for dinner cooked by the owner, Libor. It’s an experience for me to had a fun conversation with European people. The couple is from Causica.

The following morning, a sumptuous breakfast was served, Tuna Salsa.

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During our conversation with the owner, I learned that it’s Manggahan Festival and a grand celebration will be happening on this day. He suggested that instead of going to The Pitstop Restaurant for lunch, better go to the trade fare. There you can see everything the province offers.

At around 11am, I checked-out on the resort and waited for a van on the hi-way. The van rarely comes to the place and so I waited around 30 minutes. On my way back to Jordan, I see vast mango plantations. No doubt, the province is the Mango Capital of the Philippines. Upon arrival in Jordan, unfortunately, the vehicles need to take detours as the street activity already started. So I wasn’t able to drop by on the trade fare, instead, we had a stop on the mango and delicacies’ stall along the road.

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Then we proceed to Jordan Wharf and went back to Iloilo City.

Misadventure came too early. The plan may have went wrong but it doesn’t stop me to enjoy, have fun, and learn.

See you next time Guimaras! …I’ll have the land and island hopping tour on my return!

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Hoping for more travels and crazy adventures!😉

Posted in Travel

The Breathtaking El Nido, Palawan

After 6-hour travel from Puerto Princesa, we’re here in El Nido, Palawan.

It’s somehow scary arriving in a far-away land in a very dark night and you will sight huge karst mountains upon embarking on the vehicle. It seems that Kingkong will just go out behind those mountains anytime and crush us.😱😜😵

…but early morning the following day….

….all you can see is a jaw-dropping view. 😱😍😍

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El Nido Protected Area. The largest marine sanctuary in the entire Philippines. The protected area status accords the areas of El Nido and portions of its neighboring town of Taytay a place among the eight priority sites inthe country in nees of coservation. The protected area covers a total of 9)3.21 sq.km, of which 40% are terrestial and 60% marine. Patrolling within the Protected Area especially in the marine zones is regularly conducted with the help of the World Wildlife Fund. (excerpt from Map of the Philippines published by NEXLIGHT Corp)

We stayed for two days and availed of the island hopping tours (pre-booked with the accommodation).

Standard island hopping tours offered by different travel & tours agency in El Nido are classified into Tour A, B, C, and D. Each tour is composed of five (5) islands.

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Taken from www.elnidotourism.com

– Tour A

Tour A will take you to the Secret Lagoon, a tropical jewel that will probably remind you of the movie “The Beach” with Leonardo Di Caprio. You will also discover the island of Shimizu, known for its numerous nests of Salanganes, highly prized by Asians for their medicinal properties. You will then set sail on the Big and Small Lagoon, where you will discover the very abundant sea life. The last stop will be the Seven Commandos beach, whose name comes from the seven Japanese commanders who stayed on the island after the Second World War, castaways on this splendid sandy beach.

– Tour B

Lesser known, tour B will take you to magnificent natural sites, like the islands of Pangalusian and Pinagbuyutan and their dream beaches, as well as Snake Island, whose name comes from its characteristic shape. Tour B will also take you to the Cadugnon cave, which is very interesting for history lovers because it contains remains of the Sung dynasty (960-1279 BC). The excursion will finally end on Pinasil Island and the Cathedral Cave, only illuminated by a ray of sunlight coming from top of the cave.

– Tour C

As popular as Tour A, Tour C takes you to Dilumacad Island and Helicopter Island, the latter taking its name from its shape, but also to the island of Tapiutan, particularly recommended for practicing snorkeling. The tour will then continue on the island of Matinloc, famous for its secret beach only accessible by sea, and to Kulasa Beach, where the shallow water allows you to see underwater. Still on the island of Matinloc, you will discover the beautiful Star Beach, ideal for a lunch break, as well as the temple of Matinloc, dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

– Tour D

Tour D will first take you to Ipil Beach, only accessible by boat. You will then leave for Cadlao Island, the largest of the archipelago, to discover the magnificent beach of Pasandigan and the lagoon of Cadlao. You will continue your trip to the island of Pangulasian where you will enjoy the beautiful beaches of Nat Nat and Bukal. Finally, you will end the day on Paradise Beach, located on the island of Entalula, which really is a paradisiacal place.

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For our group, we have chosen Tour A and C. A Sumptuous lunch is inclusive of the tour.

My sincere apology, I have poor memory (@mnesia girl 😅) and so I can’t exactly identify the views from each islands (which is which ??) through the pictures.

Day 1: TOUR A (7 Commando Beach, Small Lagoon, Big Lagoon, Shimizu Island, Secret Lagoon)

Day 2: TOUR C (Helicopter Island, Hidden Beach, Matinloc Island, Secret Beach, Talisay Island)

Here is our island hopping tour in random pictures….

You may check the site of El Nido Paradise for a clearer view and details of the tour.

We have conquered the waves of the West Philippine Sea, experienced the breath-taking views of the wonders of nature.

Explore life, have fun, and create moments!

Hoping for more travels and crazy adventures!😉

Posted in Travel

The City In A Forest… Puerto Princesa, Palawan

It was last quarter of 2015, from a simple chat conversation, sprouted to an impulsive decision.

I was already based in Cebu that time and we often chat with my team mate in Metro Manila office whom I also worked with on my previous employment in Caloocan. From work to personal matters, we talked about almost everything and anything everyday.

Then one moment she told me she was ask by our friends (former officemates from previous employer) to join them on a tour in El Nido, Palawan by February 2016.

My reaction was like…..

Whaaaat?!…😱

What about me?😟

They haven’t ask me…😥

Well, I’ll ask them if I could join…😁

…and I did!

I VOLUNTEERED… 😉😁😃😅

They included me on the final accommodation and tour reservations. While for the airline tickets, I arranged it for myself.

I am coming from Cebu, direct flights to Puerto Princesa, Palawan that time were extremely expensive. Specially that it’s almost summer time on February.

I received an e-mail from an airline company….

It seems that the forces of the universe is coniving to let me wander in Palawan.

Almost a year ago, I accidentally puchased a roundtrip ticket Manila-Cebu, since I’m already in Cebu, I can’t use it anymore.

The e-mail from the airline company says that due to changes in schedule, I have the option to rebook the flight or save in travel fund the equivalent amount of the purchased ticket which can be uses to book for flights within 90 days in any Philippine destination.

Whohooh!!…

Because of that, I spent only 34% of the total airfare, 64% is from travel fund.

I chose connecting flights from Cebu to Manila then to Puerto Princesa. Same with the return flights.

Problem solved!

It’s cheaper this way although it takes great effort and struggles. 😄

I took the 1am Cebu-Manila flight arriving in NAIA Terminal 3, then took a cab going NAIA Terminal 4 for my Manila -Puerto Princesa flight at 5am.

PALAWAN….here I come!👊

The group whom I will go with for the El Nido tour will arrive late in the afternoon. Rather than wasting my precious time in waiting, I should do something that will cross-out an item on my bucket list.

Something like….going to a Natural World Heritage site.

Let’s do it…

Day 1

Straight from the airport, as soon as I arrived at 7am I was picked-up by the travel and tour agents for my pre-booked tour on the famous Natural World Heritage Site, Underground River.

Thanks to Palawan Holidays Travel & Tour specially to Ms. Valerie Anne (0917819876) who make my demands possible. 😊

From Puerto Princesa center, you need to travel approximately 2 hours going to Sabang. From there, a 20 minute boat ride to reach Subterranean River National Park.

Then, a 5 minute walk on the monkey trail. At the end of the trail is the waiting area for the Underground River tour.

Subterranean River National Park. Located about 50km (30mi) north of the city center of Puerto Princesa. It has a limestome karst mountain landscape the main attraction here is St. Pauls Underground River Cave – a more than 24km long cave , which contains an 8.2km-long underground section of Cabuyagan River. On November 11, 2011, Puerto Princesa Underground River was provisionally chosen as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature. This selection was officially confirmed on January 8, 2012. (excerpt from Map of the Philippines published by NEXLIGHT Corp)

After the underground river tour, we went back to Sabang where we had our buffet lunch (inclusive on the tour).

It’s all worth-it. Experiencing one natures’ wonders is truly amazing!

Then we went back to Puerto Princesa City. I requested to be dropped-off on the airport to meet my colleagues going to El Nido.

Day 2 to Day 3

The Breath-taking El Nido, Palawan! Click to see our crazy adventures😉

Day 4

Feeling weak from the 2-day island hopping tour in El Nido and 6-hour travel going back to Puerto Princesa City but still excited to do city tour.

We hired a tricycle just outside the Hotel where we stayed. Tour price is standard at Php600.

The Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa.

Immaculate_conception_Cathedral_Parish_in_the_Apostoloc_Vicariate_of_Puerto_Princesa
image from wikipedia

The driver offered to bring us to Kuyba Almoneca instead to going to Crocodile Farm. He said we will just be scared and stressed seeing the crocodiles. 😇

Kuyba Almoneca

Rancho Mitra. Rancho Sta. Monica, popularly known as Mitra’s Ranch, used to be a private property. They’ve long been opened to the public from 6AM-6PM. It is among the must-see of PPS because this gives you an astonishing view of Puerto Princesa City There are lots of activities in the area like trampoline, horse back riding, and zip lining! (from http://tourism.puertoprincesa.ph/?q=destinations/mitra-ranch)

Baker’s Hill

Butterfly Sanctuary

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Souvenir Shops/ Pasalubong Center.
The one-stop shop for souvenirs and delicacies. You can even haggle on the prices on some stores.

 

Hoping for more travels and crazy adventures!😉

Posted in Travel

The Historic Malolos, Bulacan

It was suppose to be a quick trip to Metro Manila on a friday but I extended my stay until weekend planning for a weekend tour in Bataan with one of my best buddies and former housemate.

Since she’s residing in Malolos, Bulacan, we plan to stay in there house by friday night and will depart for Bataan on Saturday early morning.

Unfortunately, commuting to Malolos from Quezon City was a real struggle that night. We were on the transport terminal of SM North Edsa. We lined up on the UV Express bound for Malolos but after more than an hour, no more UV Express are coming (Panic mode 😱). The line was transferred to different side and sides, but still no UV Express came. We tried to take a bus but it seems that all people in Metro Manila are going with us. All bus bound for Malolos were full (overloaded actually 😁). Until at around 12mn, we just sit on the bench feeling hopeless 😰.

Few minutes after, the dispatcher calls for another line for Malolos bound UV Express. This time, it’s a success! 😃😄

After an hour, we arrived safely in Malolos Bulacan!

Saturday morning, haggard as we are….we woke up late. It seems that all our energy were diffused from last night’s commute struggle.

It’s too late so we can’t proceed on Bataan tour, but the wanderlust in me will not allow a weekend for nothing. 👣👣👣

Hello!!… We’re in Malolos, Bulacan! One of the historical place in the entire Philippines. So we can’t just stay home. 😉

That afternoon, we walk on our way to Malolos proper.

Malolos Cathedral. The Malolos Cathedral, also known as the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception (Spanish: Basilica Menor de la Nuestra Señora de la Inmaculada Concepción), is a historical church in the Philippines located in City of Malolos, the capital of the province of Bulacan. The Cathedral is also the ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of the Diocese of Malolos, a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Manila. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Kalayaan Tree. It was planted by Gen. Aguinaldo during a lull in the Malolos Convention. Aguinaldo is said to have conducted many political discussions here. Under the tree is a monument that symbolizes the meeting of Filipino revolutionaries represented by Gregorio del Pilar and Gen. Isidoro Torres; Don Pablo Tecson, an erudite legislator; Padre Mariano Sevilla, a nationalist leader of the church and Doña Basilia Tantoco, portraying a woman freedom fighter. from wikipedia

Ancestral Houses. Walk through the streets of Malolos at the back of the Cathedral and take a view of the ancestral houses with unique architechture.

Got amazed of this door! 😍

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We rode on a unique jeepney (shorter than the normal jeepney in Metro Manila) and head to the famous cafe in the town…

jeep

Pastry Chef. Eat All You Can on a sumptuous buffet of desserts.

pastry chef

Sunday morning, it’s time to go. But wait, we still have side trips on the following:

Barasoain Church. The Cradle of Democracy in the East, the site of the First Philippine Republic. The church is proverbial for its historical importance among Filipinos. The church was founded by Augustinian Missionaries in 1859. Renowned for its architectural design and internal adornments.

Bulacan Capitol.

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Hoping for more travels and crazy adventures!😉

Oopps! I almost forgot….

Special thanks to my dearest friend Tin for the free 2D2N accommodation, tours, and food trip in her hometown. #friendshipgoals 👯

Posted in Travel

I Love Cebu: Oslob

Twenty years ago, that time when I was still in my childhood days, my family and neighbors used to arrange an outing around Cebu. I can’t remember much about the happenings of those outings but I can still remember how beautiful the towns in Cebu especially the secluded towns in the northernmost and southernmost part of Cebu.

I grew up in Cebu, and growing up with the fast-paced life and with the many changes in neighborhood, we have not been going around the towns of Cebu.

After I graduated college, I worked outside Cebu and just recently back to Cebu for good.

For a long time that I was away in my hometown, I was like a stranger when I came back.

Just last year, one of my best buddies who work overseas came home for a month long vacation. We should give her a blast on her homecoming even just for a few days…

Going north or south?

CEBU has so much beautiful places to offer, it’s time to rediscover them!

We have decided to spent a tour and an overnight stay in one of the towns on south of Cebu – OSLOB!

DAY 1

Tumalog Falls

Fight gravity as you go down from the entrance to the falls.

Going up is much harder. 😄

Road Trip

From Tumalog Falls, endulge yourself on the wonderful view from the mountains of Oslob overlooking the nearby towns of Ginatilan, Malabuyoc, and Boljoon.

Enjoy the windy motorcycle ride.

a view of Sumilon Island

Beach

After a few dips into the Tumalog Falls and a joyride on the mountains, we then checked into a beachside resort near the town proper. It was prebooked online via Agoda.com

 

Luckily, it’s low tide when we arrived late in the afternoon, so the white sand of the beach is very visible. No need to go to a far island to experience white sand beach. 😉

The water is too far and too low that we can’t swim yet, so time for a stroll and picture taking on the white sand.

Fresh-air…

Peaceful environment…

Ocean breeze….

It’s just stress relieving 


After dinner, time for wonderful stories with few drinks. 😉

Feel the calmness of the night under the full moon and have a good night sleep.

DAY 2

Woke up with this beautiful beach greeting you with a very good morning.

Just right after breakfast, took a splurge on this blue water.

Heritage Tour

Before going home, took a glimpse of the historal sites at the Municipal Heritage Park.

Cuartel
Baluarte


From the Municipal Heritage Park, walk through Calle Aragones going to the hi-way for the buses bound to Cebu City.

ITINERARY & EXPENSES



Hoping for more travels and crazy adventures!😉

Special thanks to my travel buddies on this trip and my best buddies for life.😊

Let’s soar high and go farther soon!