Sunday, November 30, 2008

Resto Review: Marina (Trinoma)

Love seafoods? Love authentic Filipino food? Try Marina. Marina serves homegrown Ilonggo food, and I'd say they will give you a run for your money.

It was my brother's birthday yesterday, and as part of the celebration, the family (along with my other brother's family and in-laws - talk about Filipino concept of family :-) ) met at Trinoma Mall for lunch.

We tried Marina, located at the ground floor of Trinoma mall, and we just loved the food.

For appetizer, we tried their Crispy Crablet. They served us very fresh, and fleshy crablets. A little bit spicy, but very yummy.

I highly recommend their Seafood Kare-kare. It is a different version of the regular kare-kare, but personally, this is much better. It has crabs, shrimp, fish, and squid in it. An order would cost Php280.

Pork Sisig is another favorite. Very crispy, a bit spicy, and very tasty. For only Php199.00.

For noodles, we have tried Bam-I, cooked with shrimp, squid and vegetables. Yum.The family also loved their grilled squid, which was cooked just right.

Marina offers various set meals for group diners. We placed 2 orders of Set C, a set meal for groups of 6. For a little over a thousand pesos per order, you get Set C, composed of the following: crispy crablets, sinigang na isda (fish with sour soup), lechon kawali, inihaw na pusit (grilled squid), bam-I (noodles), 6 glasses of iced tea and rice. We just added pork sisig and seafood kare-kare.

Marina prices their goodies very reasonably. There were 10 of us, and we paid only Php2,900. For that generous serving and great taste, I'd say, you really get value for your money.

Oh, by the way, they also offer buffet merienda con lunch. It's an eat-all-you-can treat for only P99.00 from 2pm to 5 pm. Will surely try it one of these days :-)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cebu and a Piece of History

One of the biggest metropolis in the Philippines, Cebu is very accessible to local and foreign tourists. It has an international airport, and Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific fly to and from Cebu several times in a day.

Despite being a metropolis, it has maintained “balance”. It is a mixture of the laid back country lifestyle, and a buzzing city life. It has all the amenities of a city – big malls, big hotels, night life, and a whole array of eating places, yet the pace remains "country"-like, which is part of its charm.

I was there on a business trip, and managed to find sometime to explore the place. We stayed at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu hotel and I would say that the level of service that they provide, remains consistently high. The place is very cozy, although a bit far from the center of the city. They have a nice pool, jacuzzi, a cozy lounge and a spacious guest rooms. We likewise hosted a cocktail in the same hotel- and their service was perfect, as always!

On different nights, we tried the different dining places and our favorite, and I would recommend you to try, are Alavars and Golden Cowrie both located along Salinas Road. If you love grills, try AA Barbeque, where the price is very reasonable and the food is really good.

I also recommend you to try the spas in Cebu, not only are they good, but price is a lot less than what it costs in Manila. We tried Royal Spa along Salinas Road, and for PhP350, we got 1 1/2 hours of full body massage and 1 hour of foot spa. What a treat!

We found a bit of time to explore the city after all our meetings and workshops. We visited the Taoist Temple .It is located inside Beverly Hills. Here is where the Taosists (mostly Chinese) go to worship their God. It is a beautiful and serene place to visit. And I'd say, it felt like China in there. :-)

Next place we visited is an old church originally built in the 1500s (but the present structure was built in the 1700s), the Basilica de Sto. Nino. It has this very beautiful , antique, “golden” altar, which houses the different images of saints. It was difficult to take pictures though because it was a Sunday and the church was very crowded. After praying, we went to light some candles outside.

We then went to the kiosk outside the Basilica, which houses the cross that Magellan planted in the 1500s (the place is simply called "Magellan's Cross"). Magellan, who was the first European to come to the Philippines in 1521, made friends with Rajah Humabon, who was then the ruler of Cebu. They became friends and Rajah Humabon and his tribe converted to Catholicism. The cross was planted to symbolize the significance of this event. The original cross is now encased in a tindalo wood to protect it from people who chip it away for souvenirs.While in the kiosk, you would observe a number of old ladies performing rituals, which ranges from lighting joss sticks or candles, to dancing with an image of the Sto. Nino. Vendors tend to crowd the place as they sell all sorts of things to tourist.

Sad to say, the weather did not allow us (as this was the time of typhoon Frank) to explore the different beaches and islands. But I will definitely be back to explore Moalboal, Camotes and the other islands and beaches of Cebu.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Quick Review: Avilon Zoo, Montalban, Rizal

Avilon Zoo is definitely the best zoo in the country. It is very accessible using public transportation (you can take the FX or jeepney to Montalban from Cubao) and it is pretty close to Metro Manila (one hour drive from Cubao). Avilon Zoo is a 7.5 hectare zoo/park. Very spacious.

The ticket is very affordable at less than 300 pesos. They could also provide you a with a guide for an additional 350 pesos per group. Food prices is also very reasonable for only a little more than 50 pesos.

The park was arranged in such a way that it simulates their natural habitat. The zoo boasts of its many bird collections,but what I like best is the Jaguar, Leopard and Siberian Tigers. There are also the orangutans, fish and reptile collections, among others.Whats missing are the giraffes and zebras. You also get the chance for photo ops with their resident albino python (which by the way can be scary if you are averse to reptiles).

Tagaytay: More than the Lake and the Volcano

Some friends have asked me to write some guides on Tagaytay. So here goes.

Tagaytay is the closest tourist destination from Manila. It can get a bit crowded on weekends, as many locals go there mostly because of its cooler weather (second coolest in the Philippines, next to Baguio).

Tagaytay is the home to the famous Taal Volcano (a volcano within a lake) but aside from the volcano, there are a lot of nice places to explore while in Tagaytay.

Getting There

Tagaytay is a one hour to one and a half hour drive from Manila or Makati. It is best to take a car when going to Tagaytay to be able to explore the place without the hassle of waiting for buses when going from one place to the next, as the places are spread apart. However, if it is not possible for you to take a car, you may take the bus going to Nasugbu, Batangas from Baclaran.

By car, you may take the Sta. Rosa exit or alternatively take the Coastal Road to Silang, Cavite. For the map going to Tagaytay, you may browse this site:

Where to Go/What To Do

For those who are just going there for a day trip, you may visit the following:

If you get to Tagaytay early, try having breakfast at Breakfast by Antonios. When I went to Tagaytay with some high school friends, that was our very first stop. They serve a variety of food, along with Filipino breakfast (tapsilog, longsilog and such) with hot chocolate or coffee. With its country ambiance, a view of the volcano, and not to mention good food, it is a good place to have breakfast and spend the early part of the morning. The place can be a bit pricey though, but worth the money.

After breakfast, you may opt to visit the renovated Taal Vista Lodge where you will get the best view of Taal Volcano. You can just hang out at their viewing deck.The Resident Inn has a zoo, and this would be a good place to visit if you have children with you.

If you have friends with membership at Tagaytay Highlands, try to ask them for a pass. There you can experience the cable car ride, the only place in the Philippines with cable rides. They also have this well kept zoo inside Highlands.

For lunch, I would recommend Leslie's. They serve the best Bulalo in town. They also serve other Filipino food, and grilled food. There you can dine, with a view of the volcano and the lake. You may get in touch with them at 63 46 4131065.

If you are a health buff, try the buffet lunch at Sonya's Garden. They serve fresh salad, freshly picked and grown in the Garden. After lunch, you are free to roam the garden where you will see not only vegetables but flowering and ornamental plants. I particularly like their sunflower garden. They also offer accomodation and spa services. For more information, check out Sonyas Garden website.

Before leaving Tagaytay, I would advise you to visit Caleruega Church, a church which has became famous for couples-to-be, which is just in the next town of Nasugbu. It's a good place to wind down, after a day of visit in Tagaytay. Who knows, you might also end up planning your wedding there :-).

If you have more time, or if youre spending more than a day in Tagaytay, you will enjoy having a picnic with family and friends at the Picnic Grove, or if you want a more private place, at the Nature's Discovery Camp. They rent out cabanas and they have places where you can grill. It is fun to play and frolick, or simply just lie down lazily, at its green rolling terrain. You may also pitch a tent, if you wish to. You may call 7213971 or 0918-4116510.

Or better yet, take an adventure and hike the crater of Taal Volcano. At Brgy Talisay, there are boats for hire to take you to the Volcano. When you get there, you and your friends can take a hike to the crater. There you will find a sulfuric lake (which is called a "lake within a volcano within a lake"). But be sure to bring lots of water with you as the heat from the crater can dehydrate you.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Romblon Island: Some Travel Guides

Here are some guides if you're planning to go to Romblon Island.

Getting there:

  • Take JAM Transit bus going to Batangas Port. They have two bus stations. One is located along Taft Avenue, Pasay City, Manila and the other one is located along EDSA near Kamuning. You may call them for more information at +632 5414409/9247712/8314390. Fare would cost you more than 200 pesos.
  • At Batangas Port, you may buy your tickets either to Romblon Island or to Odiongan Island (if they do not have trip directly to Romblon Island) at Montenegro Lines counter. One way regular fair to Odiongan is close to 700 pesos. Check out their website for trip schedule :
  • If you happned to buy a ticket to Odiongan, you will have to take the bus to San Agustin and get down at the port at San Agustin. And then, take another Montenegro owned boat going to Romblon Island.
Local Transportation:

Once in Romblon, the available means of transportation is tricycle, and boat, if you need to go to smaller islands.

Where to eat:

The most famous restaurant is "The Port" right across the port. They serve Filipino cuisine (sadly, they seldom sell seafoods, as the catch are usually sold to merchants and shipped to other parts of the country). Their best seller is Bulalo (beef).

There are also a number of restaurants surrounding the park (which is also across the port).

Romblon Plaza Hotel likewise serves food at their penthouse.


The biggest hotel in town is Romblon Plaza Hotel located at the town proper. You may contact them at 63 5500 5072269/5072277, 5072169, 5072488.

Places to Go:

I would recommend you visit the following places:

From Romblon town proper, you may just hire a tricycle to take you to the following:
1. Baranggay Dos - this is where the marble "factories" are.
2. Calabugo light house , and beach
3. Agpanabat light house , caves and Pawikan Conservation Center
4. San Pedro beach resorts - hire a tricycle but its a bit costly. They may charge between 200 pesos per trip. Ask them to come back for you on the day when you want to go back to the town proper.
5. Agnay fish sanctuary

From Romblon port, take a boat to the following :
1. Cobrador Island
2. Alad Island

Day 5: Back to Manila on Board MV Xenia

And now comes the moment, I was dreading for: the boat ride.

We boarded at 1 pm aboard MV Xenia. We had tickets to a cabin, so I was anticipating a first class service. False expectation. When we got there, all cabin rooms were closed and we had to wait for more than an hour to get inside a room.The room we were assigned to was closed, they could not find the key and so we had to move to another room.

It was an air-conditioned room, with two double beds (for four people). And then they accomodated an extra person in the room, which makes us five in our room.

We were supposed to leave at 2 pm but there was something wrong with the engines (panic time!) so the boat was able to leave 2 hours later. And, we were running on single engine (instead of two) so it was painfully slow.

We stopped at Odiongan to pick up more passengers, and to check on the engines again. And finally, they got the engine fixed (relief! relief!).

Since I can hardly sleep, I did some work on my laptop and then my brother and I had dinner and spent an hour at the deck. It was nice.

We went back and slept and we reached Batangas at dawn. Of course, we had to run again , half-asleep, to the bus going to Quezon City.

I was dead tired when we reached Quezon City, had to catch up on sleep at their office, before we headed home in the afternoon.

Day 4-5: San Pedro, Romblon Island

October 23, 2008. With all my interviews done, I had the privilege to sleep in today. We worked a bit in the office in the morning and then went out to lunch at the famous "The Port". (By its name, one would think it as grand as "The Fort" in Metro Manila :-) ). The Port is a small restaurant across the port, that's why the name. They serve Filipino cuisine and their specialty is Bulalo. Big servings, low price, good food. Value for money, totally :-).

After lunch, we went to buy some pasalubong. We bought some marble dolphin shaped paper weight from the market, which are really very affordable.

We went back to the office, did some more work. At 4 pm, we packed up and headed to a beach resort in San Pedro. San Pedro is a bit far and inaccessible so we hired a tricycle to take us there.

We stayed in a private resort owned by Tita Violy, who works in the DSWD of the Romblon Municipality. It is a very nice place. It is a big house where Tita Violy and her husband lives. They rent out two rooms on the 2nd floor of the house for those who want to go swimming. Their house is located in a cove and they have their own little beach. Must be good to own a small beach cove one day! The rooms were big enough, each has its own bathroom and the owners were very accomodating. They even provided us with hot water and coffee in the room.

We went snorkelling again, although I did not enjoy as much this time because the corals appear to be dead in this place. But they have a good view, nice reefs, where I took some pictures of the sunset.

We had grilled fish for dinner and it was yummy.

After pigging out, we went to sleep. This is life! :-)

The next day, I was up early and when I went out of the room, Mike , one of the SIKAT staff was also on his way out. I took a picture of sunrise, and then we walked around and on our way to what they call the guard house (where volunteers camp in at night as they watch out for illegal fishers), we passed by several houses. What caught our attention was this very white, very big house, in the middle of what seemed to be a forest, and overlooking the sea.

When we went back, and as we were served breakfast by Tita Violy, we asked about the house. Apparently, they own the entire property and they lease some parts to some foreigners who build houses on them, with the agreement that after a certain number of years, Tita Violy and family would now own the house. And the white house is one of those houses, and is now their property. The foreigner who leased it used it only for 3 years and has now decided not to come back to the Philippines. Some kind of luck, they now own that house!

They were very accommodating and they toured us around the different houses. If I had the money, I would certainly buy that white house :-). My brother, being able to read my mind sometimes, was teasing me "Ate, let me guess. If you win the lotto, you would buy that house!" It's really beautiful, and grand, and would love to own that if I had 2 million pesos. :-)

We had to leave before lunch. My brother, Mike and Karen went swimming again while I went to pack my things. Then its time to leave. But I would like to say thanks to Tita Violy, for accomodating us. And lucky did we get too, they did not let us pay for the stay.

I would say, hospitability still runs in the blood of the people of Romblon.

Day 3: Snorkelling at Alad Island

After Cobrador, we headed back to Alad island to pick up the five community leaders. While waiting for them, we went snorkelling.

A confession. It's my first time (!) .So i changed into my swim suit, and pretended i have been snorkelling all my life. But when I tried on the goggles, and forgot to open my mouth (which was a stupid thing to do), I panicked. Good thing nobody was in the boat and nobody witnessed my stupid, panicked look. My brother remembered that I haven't done this yet so he went back for me, gave me some sort of an orientation on how to snorkel and helped me out with the gear. (See how nice my brother can be! Well sometimes hehe...ok, ok, most of the time).

And so down the boat we went. I have fear of water, rather, of being under water, having been almost drowned when I was 9 years old or so. But my brother helped me out and I was able to go through my first snorkelling :-).

I was nervous at first, but when I saw the different colored corals swaying with the wave, and the fishes of all kinds and colors, it was like being in a real life "Finding Nemo" setting :-) It is beautiful down there! I knew there is a different world under water, I just didnt expect it to be as beautiful!

After an hour or so, our companions arrived, and we had to leave...sadly.

It was a really good day, better than most, my only regret is, I still do not have a digital SLR and an underwater camera! Sigh.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Day 3: Cobrador Island: A Small Piece of Paradise

October 22, 2008. I would describe the 30 minute boat ride to Cobrador Island in one word: scary. I am not used to travelling by sea (which may sound weird to some as I live in a country with 7100 or so islands). More so, I am not used to riding a bangka (local term for a small boat). And I will never get used to big waves.

We used the bangka owned by SIKAT, the organization who hired me to write stories for their website. Along with 5 community leaders, and 3 SIKAT staff, we headed to Alad island first where we dropped off the community leaders, for their meeting with the Alad community. Then we headed for Cobrador.

It was the perfect sight: blue waters, green mountains and reefs. Except that the waves got bigger on our way from Alad to Cobrador. I had to hold as tight as I can, as my companions, who are so used to travelling by sea, were laughing at me :-(.

But, the sight of Cobrador made me lose whatever fear I had. Cobrador can easily be one of the beautiful islands in the country. I cannot believe tourists havent discovered this yet.

The island can boast of its fine, white sand, and very clean water comparable with Boracay, or even more beautiful in the sense that it is not crowded and they do not face waste problems as Boracay does. It is blessed with reefs, and beautiful rock formations on one side of the island. It is more like a combination of Palawan and Boracay. It was breath-taking.

More importantly,the place is blessed with happy, welcoming and forever smiling people.We went to meet with the officers of the organization and the baranggay officials. The head of a baranggay and the council was then in a meeting with another non government organization and they asked my brother to join in. While waiting for him, I roamed the island.

What can I say. I loved the view.Wind was blowing in my face. The sound of the waves almost lulled me to sleep.

One thing caught my attention, though, as I was walking around. The big jars. Most of the houses have this really big jars outside their houses, with a pipe connected to the gutter of the house. And they call this rain collector.

Apparently, the people of Cobrador, had to depend on the rain even for their drinking water. They do not have water system. They even only have a generator for their electricity at night. And this Rain Collector is a big help to them as it helps them gather rain water. It is the first time I have seen such a thing. It is the first time I have been to a place where people have no access to basic thing such as water. It's a good thing a non-government organization gave them a grant to have Rain Collectors built.

We had lunch there together with the leaders of the community. It was fun, just interacting with them. And the grilled pork was good.

I had the interview afterwards. And then it was time to leave the island.

As much as I would love for Cobrador to be just the way it is, and not become another Boracay, I wish there is a way to bring some kind of progress in the community especially in the delivery of the basic services. I wish there is a way to balance progress and environmental conservation.

But more importantly, I wish to be back :-).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Day 2- Romblon Island: Pleasant Surprises

And so my brother and I continued our ride. As the view was getting better, the road was getting worst. It was a good thing the motorbike was built for rough roads.


And then we reached Calabugo.

Calabugo seemed an entirely different place. The yellow-greenish hills, to our right, could easily make one think of the grazing fields in a countryside in a European country. To view to our left, however, looked more tropical, with the coconut trees, the view of the beach and the really-blue sea.The only thing that connects the two very different and contrasting scenery is the small island, which looked like it was chunked from the hills.

We rode few meters up, and we reached the lighthouse. And here is where you get the best view of the entire place. We got off and spent few minutes enjoying the view. This would be a good place for family picnics, just like Tagaytay!

Beach Everywhere!

We started off again, and wherever we went, there's beach everywhere! What made it more beautiful is that most of these beaches are still undeveloped, and thus, water remained very clean, very clear, very blue. We stopped a lot of times to take pictures. I could not get enough.

Sunset at Agnay

I had time to rest after lunch, and started to draft my first story from my interview the day before. At 4 pm, it was time for my next interview. We headed off to Agnay.

We looked for Kuya Pendong, who is one of the leaders of the community-based organization on coastal resource management. We found him drinking tuba (a local wine) along with three others.

He walked us through the mangroves, to their "guard house", (where they guard their fish sanctuary from fishers), which is still under construction. And it was a beautiful place. The guard house is being built on the stone formations, by the fish sanctuary, amidst the mangroves.

It was already sunset when we finished the interview. And talk about being in the right place at the right time. There was one of the most beautiful sunset I have seen, and experienced. The rock formations made it more dramatic.

We stayed there until the sun has completely set. And then , it was dinner time once again.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Day 2 - Romblon, Marbles and Poverty Staring At Me In The Face

October 21, 2008 - My day started with a motorcycle ride with my brother around Romblon Island.By now, only after a day in the outdoors, I am already tanned and was loving it.And so began our mini-tour, with my brother as the tour guide.

Marbles Everywhere

When they said that there are marble stones in Romblon, it was an understatement. The entire Romblon island is practically a marble deposit. And there are mountains, and mountains of marble stones. They come in different colors: black, gray, white, green onyx , among others.

Our very first stop over is in Baranggay Dos., where the marble carvers are. We visited some stalls and make-shift production areas where men usually do the carving and grinding and women do the polishing. You can see all kinds of decorations, of all sizes, all over the place, from dolphin paper weights to life sized lions and elephants. It's a pity most of these would have to be exported, as average Filipinos couldnt afford such decorations.

We rode further, up the mountains and there we saw the quarries. It is a pity big companies would have to blow up the mountains to get the marbles. It not only damages the environment, it is likewise hazardous to the residents. Further up the mountains, people live through working in the quarries, carrying those heavy blocks of marble stones.

Marble Mountains, Broken Heart

We reached Brgy Agbanuto and there I saw mountains and mountains of marbles. All these resources amazed me. I wish there was a way all these can improve the lives of all the people in the island.

We got off the motorbike, and we were taking some pictures when we saw three elderly ladies sitting under a tree. I looked closer and saw what they were doing. They were splitting marble stones into small pieces, only with a chisel, a hammer and their bare hands!I could not imagine mothers and grandmothers doing such a difficult work!

We greeted them and they accomodated our questions about their place. They asked us where we are from and what we are doing in Romblon. I then asked them what they were doing, and one replied that they are splitting marbles into small pieces, which construction firms or contractors use to build roads. She explained that this is what many children and women in Agbanuto do. Daily one can make about 2 sacks and the contractors pay then six pesos per sack (!). They spend the whole day splitting stones, practically with their own hands, and all their effort is worth only thirteen pesos?!

When we left, my heart was as broken as those marble stones.

Somehow, i know, there must be something anyone, or even me, can do for them.

Day 1: Romblon Island

Oct 20, 2008. My Day 1 started at 1 pm, after a really long sleep. My brother, and Joel, one SIKAT staff, and myself rode the motorcycle to one of the communities of Romblon Island. (Talk about overloading :-) ).

We headed to Agpanabat, which is about 30 minutes away from Romblon proper. There, I interviewed Chris and Job, two of the officers of Pawikan Inc, a community based organization advocating marine conservation. Pawikan is the Filipino name for sea turtle, which is now close to being extinct. Agpanabat, being one of the nesting place for the sea turtles took the responsibility of ensuring that the eggs hatch, and of taking care of the hatchlings until they are ready to be released to the sea. It is very heart warming to know that people, who are hard up in life, are giving their time and resources to make sure that the sea turtle lives.

After the interview, Chris and Job showed us some of the beautiful places in Agpanabat. They took us to the mouth of two caves.I would have wanted to go inside but it was getting late.

We then went to the reef where the concrete turtle aquarium is located. From there you would see a really good view of a beach on the right side, and more reefs on the left side. And below it, is the fish sanctuary, which Pawikan Inc. is also protecting.

By the reef, they showed us the fossil giant clams. These were big clams with diameters ranging from 29 to 41 cm. And these were fossils! This could mean these were from millions of years back. Sadly, these are the only ones left from the hundreds of fossil giant clams. The townsfolk sold most of it to a German national in 1998. Now, they are making sure that nobody takes the remaining 9 fossil giant clams.

We then walked to the nearby Agpanabat lighthouse, which we didnt have the heart to climb. We were contented to watch the view of the ocean, and the reefs.

It was simply beautiful.

And it was time to go home. But not after Job and Chris gave us 2 whole fried chicken. :-) What can I say, they were simply nice.

And then it was dinner time. With our chicken, and with the other SIKAT staff, we went to Romblon Plaza Hotel, which is the biggest hotel in the island.

And it was time to sleep. Again.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Romblon, Philippine Islands: The Trip

"It's all worth it!" That was all I could say about my Romblon trip.

I went to Romblon 3 weeks ago on an assignment for a contract I got from an environmentalist group, headed by my brother. I had to interview people and write articles for their website. Thought its going to be an easy job, but I nearly backed out when I realized how long I had to travel by boat, what with all the sea mishaps I have been hearing from the news. But then again, the sense of adventure comes first, as always.

The Trip

It was a very tedious trip, and my brother and I took almost all the means of transportation there could possibly be (except air plane). From Quezon City, we took Jam Transit for a 2 hour bus ride to Batangas Pier. We were at the port early to make sure we get tickets, or suffer waiting for the next day for the next trip. And we spent four hours (!) waiting to be boarded the boat to Odiongan, since there was no boat going directly to Romblon Island that day.

At 5 PM, we were finally on-board a Montenegro Shipping Line boat. (For information on the trips, you may browse was expecting an airconditioned boat, with upholstered seats. Wrong. What we had is a big boat with rows and rows of double-decked beds, with a kaputt aircon, but was likewise clean. It was a very long, uncomfortable trip, and i wondered how it can be so humid, even with the breeze coming from the ocean, and i slept badly. It felt uncomfortable sleeping at the top of a double bed, in a huge place, with hundreds of people you dont know. Nonetheless, it was a safe trip, with my lack of sleep as the only bad thing that happened (Thank God! and thanks to Montenegro Lines too.).

We reached Odiongan at 2 am, and with my brother's prodding, i had to run, half asleep, to the exit of the boat, before everybody wakes up. Upon docking, we were among the first ones who had to run to where the buses and jeepneys were parked. We boarded an old mini-bus, with around 50 passenger capacity. I was glad we got there ahead of most, because that's the only bus going to San Agustin, where we will take another boat, and if we missed it, we would have to wait for many hours for the next bus, and we would miss the boat to Romblon Island too. But I tell you, it wasnt at all fun running half asleep. Not at all.

Another 2 hours bus trip, and we reached San Agustin, where we had to line up for ticket for the boat going to Romblon Island. At 4:30, with me still half asleep, we boarded MV Querubin which left at 5 am. It was a 45min to 1 hour trip but from the boat, you can see the really nice view of San Agustin. It was very refreshing to see really green mountains, and very clear water, amidst a backdrop of sunrise. It was simply beautiful and my headache from the lack of sleep almost disappeared. But I didnt know it was only a preview of how beautiful Romblon is.

Romblon Island, Finally

We reached Romblon at around 6am. We walked took the tricycle to SIKAT (the environmentalist organization, which is into marine conservation) office/staff house. I chatted briefly with the SIKAT staff before I passed out into a really deep sleep.

I woke up at 1 o'clock, just in time for lunch. After lunch, I was completely up and running, like a newly overhauled machine.

I was ready to work.