Bui Vien

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Otres Beach

Sihanoukville, Cambodia

Bukit Bintang

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Big Lagoon

El Nido, Palawan

Bangui Windmills

Bangui, Ilocos Norte

Calle Crisologo

Vigan, Ilocos Sur

Filipino-Chinese Pagoda

San Fernando, La Union

Monday, 27 May 2013

Review: La Banane Hostel, El Nido

La Banane Hostel is located at Hama Street, Brgy Masagana, Zone 3, El Nido Palawan. From El Nido Public Market, we rode a tricycle (30 PHP) to get to the hostel. Our room was just right across the road from the main hostel and few walks away to the beach. So we took the stairs when we got there at around 3AM and saw it tagged as "orange room"

 La Banane Hostel (dorm type rooms) view from our balcony.

 Our room located on the 2nd floor.

"Orange Room"

Inside was very simple, bed just few yards away from the door and the huge fan was attached to the ceiling right above the bed. There was also a small closet where you can put your stuff on. The comfort room was pretty decent too. Our room has a small balcony with 2 chairs and small table-- a perfect place to smoke and you can see people walking by. 

Double bed



Balcony! =)

The only negative thing I could say is the location itself-- since it was along the road, you could hear people chatting, yelling, horns from motorcycle and other outside noise. In fact, I woke up that Saturday morning because of the noise. 

However, the best part was the room rate. The negotiated amount was 800 PHP per night and we reserved 2 nights. Since we had a late check-in and early check out, they let us pay only 1000 PHP and the receptionist said "Pilipino naman eh," we were very happy because we saved a lot of money from our budget. I would say a little "charm" would help a lot as well.


La Banane Hostel also offers budget-friendly dorm-type rooms for backpackers. For more information about their rates and contact number, visit: www.labanane-hostel.com

Yours Truly, 

Review: Duchess Pension, Puerto Princesa

Duchess Pension is a budget-friendly accommodation located in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. A week prior to our Palawan trip, I already reserved a budget room with common toilet and bath so we won't bother finding a place to stay when we get there.

After our Palawan city tour, our tricycle driver dropped us off at Duchess Pension and asked the receptionist about our reservation. She answered, "Ay, hindi pa po ready, nililinis pa po." I was disappointed because I thought our room was already prepared since I reserved it a week before our trip. 

So we decided to spend some time in Puerto Princesa Baywalk (10 minutes walk from Duchess) before going back to the pension.

It will only cost 20 PHP tricycle ride (for two) from the airport to the pension. It's also a tricycle ride from the Cathedral and other establishments in Puerto Princesa. Remember, the tricycle fare is twice the regular fare from 10:00PM to 5:00 AM. The budget room (with double bed & common toilet & batch) costs 350 PHP.

Duchess Pension

Lobby (wi-fi is not free)

Dining area

Hallway (where you can find other rooms, too)

The room is very simple-- one double bed.

Fan and table, small table.

The room was actually, clean and simple. However, I do not recommend that you put your "pasalubong" on the floor, because ants will surely eat them. Hahahahaha! (Based on experience!)

Anyway, I still recommend this place if you are looking for a simple, cheap and clean place to stay in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

For more information, please visit:

Monday, 20 May 2013

El Nido, Palawan

It was a very tiresome 5-hour trip to El Nido, Palawan. From Puerto Princesa airport, we rode a tricycle to San Jose terminal (100PHP). We planned to catch the 9 PM Ro-Ro bus ride but it turned out the reservation was already full. It was already the last trip but there were still more than 20 people waiting for another trip to El Nido so the drivers decided to use one more bus to El Nido.

This space became our bed throughout the trip.

We left San Jose terminal at 10PM and arrived in El Nido at 3AM. We rode a tricycle to the hostel (40PHP).  I was glad that I was able to reserve a room at La Banane Hostel (There's gonna be another blog post for this!).

We woke up at around 7AM and ate our breakfast at The Alternative Restaurant. It was drizzling then, we weren't able to stay at the "bird's nest." :(

My 250PHP breakfast.

His 250PHP breakfast.

No bird's nest for us!

My co-workers Ashley and Rodney were also in El Nido so we decided to join them in the Island Hopping tour. We met them at Lualhatti Cottage (5-minutes tricycle ride from La Banane), where they were staying and paid Ate Rose (owner and chef of Linegueb Paluto Dampa Style Restaurant) for the combination Tour A & C with lunch (PHP 1,200).

Yours truly with very kind Ate Rose

Snorkeling masks are available for 100PHP each. We weren't able to visit all the islands included in the tour because we started past 9AM already. :(

photo from gopalawantravel

1. Helicopter Island

2. Hidden Beach

3. Garbage Beach where we took our lunch (joke lang! according to Kuya Boatman, a foreigner once called this island, "Garbage Beach")

4. What we had for lunch! 

5. Boats outside the Small Lagoon

 6. Big Lagoon

Big Lagoon (inside)

7. Secret Lagoon

 Secret Lagoon (inside)

8. Snake Island

We finished the tour at around 6:30PM and had our dinner at Sea Slugs Bar & Restaurant. The restaurant was jam-packed with customers that I heard some people complaining about their order. Anyway, we still decided to order and waited for about 20 minutes.

Large serving of Grilled Squid with rice. Tasteless. :( (250PHP)

We woke up early the next morning and went to El Nido Public Market where we rode an ordinary bus (400+PHP) back to Puerto Princesa. It was a tiring and dusty 6-hour trip.

It was a very exhausting bus ride because of the dusty road!

Estimated breakdown of expenses (for two, as always):

Tricycle from airport to the terminal - 100
Roro aircon bus to El Nido - 800+ (my partner got a 20% student discount!)
Tricycle from El Nido to Hostel (Bacuit bay) - 40 (special rate daw?!)
Breakfast @ The Alternative Inn - 560
Tricycle to Lualhati Cottages - 20
Island Hopping Tour - 2,400
Snorkeling Mask - 200
Tricycle back to cottage - 20
Dinner @ Sea Slugs - 400+
La Banane Hostel room - 1,000 (discounted, pinoy daw eh! haha!)
Tricycle to El Nido Public Market - 20
Breakfast @ Public Market - 100+
Roro ordinary bus to Puerto Princesa - 700+ (20% student discount for my partner, again)
Cost: PHP 6, 360 for 2

I want to go back to this beautiful place again!! Anyway, have a happy Trip!

*We went over the budget on food, because we really love to eat.
*It was reaally very noisy at night (Hama St., Zone 3) because there were foreigners drinking and you could hear them talking and laughing!
*If you arrive at Puerto Princesa early, I think taking a van to El Nido is much easier.

For more information about the package tour, contact Ate Rose:
Contact number: 09174290620/ 09206008197
Email Add: nilingueb_elnido@yahoo.com
Address: Lualhati Cottage, Brgy. Maligaya, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines