Thursday, January 16, 2020

Another Day in DIVISORIA and QUIAPO

I decided to take a break from the Panay Series to write about the recent trip to Divisoria and Quiapo with my wife.

For many years, whenever there is time, my wife would drag me to Divisoria to shop. Of course, goods are cheaper in Divisoria. We traveled 2 hours to reach Divisoria but I don't know about my wife, she seems to enjoy navigating the narrow alleys of DV mall, 168 mall, 999 mall, and the side streets haggling for maximum discounts and makipagsiksikan sa madaming tao. :)

Many things have improved since Mayor Isko launched his campaign of cleaning Manila. There are fewer vendors on the streets and they are organized to occupy the side roads only. Jeepneys can reach all the way to Recto from Juan Luna. Divisoria is much cleaner now and I noticed that each vendor has provided trash bins in front of their stalls.

After buying some stuff in Divisoria Mall we chanced upon an E trike. We paid P 20.00 each for a 20-minute ride to Quiapo Church. I think it can sit around 8 people at the back and another 2 people side by side of the driver. 

Inside Quiapo Church
I assume this is a replica of Black Nazarene placed outside the Church

Minor Basilica of Black Nazarene

Quiapo Church church is home to Black Nazarene, which every January 9 makes its way along the streets of Manila from Quirino grandstand. This translation or "Fiesta ng Quiapo" is an annual pilgrimage of thousands of devotees jostling each other to get to the Andas or touch the image of Black Nazarene. 

Fronting the church is the historic Plaza Miranda. 

I did not see tarot card readers and fortune-tellers in Quiapo this time and people selling amulets and charms. 


There are many shops selling cellphone accessories in Divisoria. But if you have the chance to visit Manila City Plaza in Quiapo, you can find a wide range of shops selling different kinds of cellphone accessories for different phone models. If I were to choose between Divisoria and Manila City Plaza, I would go to Manila City Plaza. It is located next to Quiapo Church.

Along Villalobos street, we found a huge shop selling beads and accessories. If you are into DIY bracelets, earrings, wallets, necklaces then this is the place you can go to and get your supplies. They are also selling religious pendants of different designs and sizes. You can choose from different colors, design, and materials. 


more beads

wallets made of plastic beads

and more beads

and another :)

Another beads and accessories shop along Villalobos is Wellmanson. Wellmanson to me is like a more classy shop that caters to the balikbayans and tourists. They also have different kinds of watches, religious items, hair accessories, personal accessories, and souvenirs. There is also a rest area where you can buy drinks, sandwiches, and snacks.

They have a small snack corner inside the shop


religious items


For our lunch, we ate at Just Get in Restaurant, a Chinese restaurant also located in Villalobos. The waiter recommended their best-selling beef noodles which taste good surprisingly. Taste little spicy to me. I think that is a typical original Chinese recipe. We were also served with a small plate of peanuts as starters and we tried their siopao as well. 


the best seller beef noodles



And for our final destination of the day is the Excelente Ham in Carlos Palanca Street in Quiapo. This place really gets crowded during Christmas and new year because of its famous ham which is excellent in taste :) 

They have different kinds of ham but their Chinese ham is the best seller and it doesn't come cheap. One kilo of Chinese Ham, for example, is P 1,360.00. The price of their Bone-in ham starts around P 3,000.00. 

Even their scrap ham is expensive. It cost P 1,300.00 per kilo. 

For a Filipino family having ham on Christmas and the new year is a tradition. So if you want the best ham, I think you have to pay the best price. (in my opinion).   

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

BORACAY + Travel hacks + Tipid Tips + Budget

This blog is the second port of Panay Island Adventure Series. If you missed to read the first part, click HERE.  👈

Another Boracay blog is HERE.  👈


So my wife and I reached Caticlan Jetty port around 8 am from Batangas port via RORO. Our plan was to do a quick side trip to Boracay island before travelling to Iloilo after lunch. We were lucky, because we have someone with us who showed us another way to reach Boracay cheaper from Caticlan.


Fun Tip 1.The main port in Caticlan serves the bulk of tourists who are travelling to Boracay. Each tourist pays terminal fee P 100, environmental fee  P 75 and boat fare P 25. But the operation automatically  shifted to Tabon port during monsoon season (habagat) and you only pay P 25 boat fare to reach Boracay island. 


We hired a trycycle from Caticlan port for a quick 10-minute ride to Tabon port. Paid P 25 for a boat ride to Boracay Island each person. After a 20 minutes boat ride to Boracay, we hired another trycycle in Boracay to DMall in another side of Boracay for P 120.

Most of the commercial establishments and activities are located in the western portion of the island. While the eastern part of Boracay is calm during this time the western part experience strong winds during habagat season.


Fun Tip 2If you don't mind bringing heavy bags with you, try to buy your supplies while in the mainland before going to Boracay. Because things can be very expensive in the island. You can eat at any restaurants before travelling to Boracay.  


We change to our swim clothes beside the beach. We don't need to check in to hotel because we did not intend to stay longer in Boracay. After a quick dip in the sea and several selfies, I accompanied my wife to the Starbucks cafe to buy his Starbucks mug collection.

In 2018, Boracay was closed for 6 months as part of governments effort to rehabilitate the island. Today much has improved, most especially the road networks in Boracay. Gone are the sea side structures that did not comply with the policies in the Island and I think those things are much needed relief to make the island sustainable.


Fun Tip 3Be a responsible tourist. “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.”


We did not find a public shower facilities in DMall. But we managed to find someone hospitable enough to allow us to get a shower and change our clothes.


You can enjoy Boracay in one day actually because of efficient transportation avaibale from the mainland. . But for those who want to enjoy the powdery sand and whatever Boracay has to offer, extended stay in the island is highly recommended.


Budget for Boracay half day Tour:

P 50                                  Trycycle to Tabon Port
P 25                                  Boat Fare to Tambisan Port
P 120                                Trycycle from Tambisaan Port to DMall

P 120                                Trycycle back to Tambisaan Port
P  25                                 Boat fare back to Tabon Port
P 50                                  Trycycle to Caticlan
P 50                                  Tip to the house where we had a shower. Salamat guid!

P 440.00                           Total Expenses

See. No drinks and food in expenses in Boracay. 👍😀
Fun Tip 4. Travel like locals. And of course you know what I mean.


For more photos scroll, scroll down please. 

My wife also got a henna tattoo from the roadside artist in Boracay. 

rehabilitated roads in Boracay

ASPIN taking a breather

the famous white beach of Boracay