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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Road trip to the North

It was the Independence Day weekend when we decided to head up north and plan the road trip with my two friends. The target was to drive by midnight and have stop overs along the way if required. But the final destination would be Pagudpud since both of my friends haven't been there.

This is not the first time I'm travelling to the North. Given that, I know how long the drive would be!

Paoay Church
Anyway, we went ahead and all excited to get on to the road for this perfect weekend road trip.

We went on a quick stop in San Simon to have dinner at my friend's place and then on went for the long drive.

Driving at night could be a bit boring though as there's nothing to see but the pitch black surroundings. We sufficed ourselves with listening to music and chatting about whatever comes to mind.

Welcome to Ilocos Sur
In the morning, we reached La Union and feeling a bit hungry we decided to make a stop over in one of the resorts and grabbed our own packed food - hotdog, ham and white bread! We were tempted to book in the resort unfortunately they were all fully booked as it was a long weekend...fine.

We continued to Ilocos Sur and passed by the welcome arc. We were feeling tired and sleepy having been awake for more than 10 hours on the road. We tried to find a place to make a quick stop and spend a few hours to sleep. We found one at along the road and spent 3 hours to rest.

After recharging we are back again on the road and excited for our next stop. We should be in Ilocos Norte in less than 3 hours.

Our first destination in the North is the Kapurpurawan Rock formation. Going there we had a glimpse of the windmills which got us more excited.

So white! Kapurpurawan Rock Formation
There were a lot of travelers during that day. We had to walk a few minutes going to the rock formation. And after a few photo ops, went to our next destination which is the Bangui Windmills.

Bangui Widnmills
The windmills are sooo big! We didn't imagine they were that humongous...haha. We settled near one windmill with it's shade and had our picnic blanket to sit on and have our very late lunch. It was a good lunch as we were tired and hungry at the same time. The sea breeze was very nice and added enjoyment while we were eating.

We were tired then so we decided to head to Pagudpud to finally check it and rest. We didn't do much that night and we just went to sleep so we will be ready for the next day's trip.

We woke up feeling refreshed and hungry. We had our breakfast at Saud Beach Resort. The beach looks inviting but we didn't have enough time and it was too hot still.

Saud Beach
After breakfast and have freshened up, we went back on the road to stop by Paoay Church.

The church is very beautiful. My second time there actually.

After that, we went back on the road to Vigan. A quick stop at Calle Crisologo for photo op, buying souvenirs and of course, Vigan longganisa. I have to admit the Vigan longganisa wasn't the one we were used to as it was frozen. We usually have our Vigan longganisa freshly made every time my relatives bring them home!

Calle Crisologo in Vigan

Morning dip at the Pool!
After Vigan, we then had a quick stop over at Chowking in Candon before heading to La Union, where we spent the night.

The next morning we had a quick dip after breakfast in the pool. Fit to end our road trip.

By lunch time, we went on the road again to travel back to Manila and hopefully avoid the heavy traffic.

It was a fun and tiring weekend. But mostly an enjoyable experience to have with my two friends. We learned that next time we'll have the road trip down south and should only be less than 4 hours drive! Haha

Can't wait for our next road trip!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Last Minute Summer Getaway @ Aquaria, Calatagan, Batangas

It was an early morning travel for our yearly company outing. Heading to Aquaria, Calatagan, Batangas, is a 3.5 hours land travel in our comfy bus. We left around 6.30 am and arrived before 10am just in time to get ourselves prepped for a whole day of rest and relaxation.

Summer day is not yet over!

Playa Calatagan Entrance. We're finally here!
The travel was smooth, though you might require one toilet stop. haha!

It was just a day tour and since I didn't fancy going tanned again, I just settled myself relaxing by the beach and enjoying the breeze and food (of course!). It would have been nice though if I brought something to read as it was a nice day to just sit around and rest.

Beach front lined with trees
Aquaria is fairly new by the looks of it. Our group was settled at the far end of the beach. Although the beach looks nice, there were some water lilies or plants, I'm not sure, along the side of the beach which could look unpleasant, at least for me.

All smiles while enjoying the nice summer breeze

Anyway, just thought I'd share for now what I think of the place.

The pools and slides look nice but there are so many people there as well. It could be too crowded too as there are other companies having their outing that day.

There's only a few shower room and toilets along the beach that is accessible to us. So I'm glad I didn't have to swim as it could be very inconvenient when changing up and getting shower as you need to line up. The shower rooms are too warm, and yes because it's summer and too crowded, it is hotter than expected.

Some of the cabanas along the beach are not available for us to use, only for the members. That's fine, but I hope there were other cabanas available for guests too or picnic tables. I'm glad we still got one picnic table available to be used, but I would assume that was for members use only.

On the good side, I enjoyed the lunch served - rice (of course!), beef caldereta, chicken fingers, steamed shrimps, sauteed baquio beans with bits of ham and fried tilapia. I was full and wish I could have more shrimps to eat haha!

But merienda wasn't that good. The pansit palabok tastes bland so I didn't finish it. I also had a ham sandwich.

Overall, I would have enjoyed it more if it wasn't too hot that day and we are settled in a nice cabana by the beach so to enjoy the fresh air. But that's me.

Too hot to stay at the picnic table!
Aquaria is found in Playa Calatagan. Passing through Sta.Rosa exit all the way through to Tagaytay.

Beach lined with some plants along the shoreline.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Guess I'm back at writing again

It has been a while since I posted anything on my blog. And then a few weeks ago I realised my karenvaldez domain is no longer working so I'm back at my original blogspot website. I will try to recover my domain soon but for now, I guess it's me back again at trying as much as I can to document my travels. I missed writing and traveling of course. And what other way to spark the travel bug but to write again about my past travel experiences. And I hope it is good way to tell the universe that I want to travel again...haha :D

The Grounds of Alexandria and The Potting Shed
I've just been back 2 weeks ago from another trip to Aussie. It was a quick 2 week trip which is mostly related to work but I'm lucky we still got the chance to find time to visit some new places I haven't been to before. I'll blog that with a separate story and will post pictures as well.

My last post was about my 30th birthday, lots of other travels happened after that which I hope to document here too. Some were family trips to Tagaytay and Baguio. Ahh, now I miss Tagaytay and the cool weather. It is summer and I'm sure we are all craving for that ice cream or halo halo to beat the summer heat.

Baguio is a different story, I didn't find it really appealing when we went there as there's too much traffic and too many tourists. 

Some travel plans coming up with my good travel buddies on November...and so much looking forward to that as I haven't travelled with them for quite a long time.

Anyway, this is just another quick's a picture of one of the happy place I got a chance to visit while I was in Sydney last March.

Easter bunny setup at The Grounds