Surroundings: Panicuason Hot Spring

would you take a dip in this?

surrounded by this?

the hot, welcoming water felt like heaven on a cold day…

the sound of water gushing ‘gainst the rocks, music to my ears

Below the lush greenery of Mt. Isarog in the Bicol region lies a hidden gem. Warm welcoming fresh spring water to soothe your troubles away… You get plenty of privacy during the cold months, which is by the way, the best season to visit the spring.. It’s a short drive away from the hustle and bustle of the city and now, they have rooms so vacationers can have a comfy overnight stay. Boyfie and I love going there during October when it starts to get a little chilly but basically we can just hop in the car and go there whenever we like. ^^ I especially love it when we get up around 4 a.m.-ish and it’s raining a little… The coldness in the mountain air and the raindrops and the hot water just overwhelms my senses. A tip though: don’t go there if it’s been raining for several consecutive days since landslides may occur. 🙂

SUNDAY POST : Surroundings

Weekly Photo Challenge: Renewal III

I’m absolutely positively cray cray over this week’s challenge . So much so that this is my third, and I assure you, last entry ^^ ( 1st here, 2nd here )

Renewal can mean a lot of things… It could be a massive life-changing turn of events… a deep realization… the rebirth of things… the rekindling of a fire from the past… or it could simply be returning to your roots. And for me, that is my family.

You already know how much I love summers with my family. During the rest of the year, we may be scattered across the Philippines, Japan, the U.S. and Canada but during summers, we’re one big happy family. ^^ Here are some photos during another lazy summer afternoon. Photos were taken at CWC ( Camarines Sur Water Sports Complex ), another great tourist destination in my beloved province. Also, I wanna go back to what this blog has been initially about. 🙂

pool and cabana


a bite of laing pizza

If you’re a fan of wakeboarding, visit the CWC website here

xo – kz

It’s a Wonderful Life! :)

Today’s daily prompt was about the last time you felt really, truly lonely. For some reason, I immediately closed up. Maybe I just can’t quite remember the last time I have been really, truly sad… I’m so crazy, I could feel immensely depressed then euphoric within seconds. But seriously, since I didn’t wanna revisit all the pains that I’ve had in the past, I’ve decided to post about the one thing that has always kept me together all these years, my beautiful family. They’re half of the reasons why I love summers so much. This is why despite the joys of Ber months and the scent of Christmas wafting in the air, I find myself longing for another lazy summer afternoon in a park with them. I miss all the laughter, the teasing and just that feeling of knowing that no matter where you end up and how things turn out for you, there will always be a place where you’d belong. These photos were taken early last summer @ the Village at San Bernardino, Calabanga in Cam Sur.

Roadtrip Philippines! the Mayon Volcano

On September 28, 2012, Zac Efron tweeted a photo of himself on a motorbike and announced that he just rode up the lava flow of Mayon Volcano. The same day, the pic was scattered all over FB and on to my newsfeed ^^ (Photo from ) He looks hot. Ok, seriously, that’s sooo not what we’re gonna talk about coz that was like so last month. *clears throat* Well, these pics are sooo last year but I’m kinda hoping you’ll still find them interesting considering the fact that I’m not so good at taking photos. ^^

the mayon volcano

The Mayon Volcano (Beautiful Volcano) in Albay is considered as one of the greatest wonders of the world because of its near-perfect cone shape. Legend has it that Daragang Magayon (Beautiful Maiden) had a face so lovely, she captured the hearts of plenty of men from faraway tribes including those of the handsome but haughty hunter, Pagtuga (eruption) and Ulap (cloud), who was the lucky one to earn the love of the sought-after maiden. Ulap asked for Magayon’s hand in marriage and while he went away to tell his people to gather the supplies for the festivity, the bitter and enraged Pagtuga kidnapped Magayon’s father Makusog (strong) and declared that unless Magayon agreed to marry him instead, war will be waged and her father will die. Ulap then came to the rescue and he and Pagtuga fought each other in a battle where Ulap won; unfortunately, as Magayon ran to triumphantly throw her arms around her man, she was struck by a stray arrow. As Ulap sorrowfully held his dying bride-to-be in his arms, one of Pagtuga’s men struck Ulap at the back with his spear . Makusog slew the henchman but it was all too late; the young lovers were dead and instead of a joyous celebration, there was mourning all over the land. The young unfortunate lovers were buried together.
As the days went by, the people noticed their grave rising higher and higher along with stifled roars and earth tremors and red-hot rocks which burst from the crater. Whenever these rumblings were heard, it was believed that the angry Pagtuga is trying to disturb the volcano so that it would return back the gifts which he gave to Magayon (it was custom then to bury the dead with possessions such as presents). On cloudy days when the tip of the volcano is kissed by hovering clouds, the natives claim that Ulap was kissing Magayon… and then the rain would follow, dribbling down on the Mayon Volcano’s perfect slant signifying the tears of the heartbroken Pagtuga.
The name Magayon was later shortened to Mayon.

the cagsawa ruins

I’m a sucker for romantic stories! And I simply adore places with fascinating stories behind them. But whether or not you were moved by my synopsis of the old folks’ tale (that we were told a million times since we were kids), you are bound to admire this charming view of the Mayon Volcano. Just a couple of hours drive away from Naga City lies this amazing wonder of nature… The nearest possible place where you can observe Mayon Volcano and at the same time still be far enough to appreciate it’s shape is at Cagsawa Ruins. The Cagsawa Ruins are the remnants of the Franciscan church from the 18th century, wrecked by the volcanic eruption in 1814 – an existing reminder of the perils of living within such close proximity to a volcano, even one as lovely as the Mayon.

the zipline @ lignon hill

So am I telling you to visit Legaspi City just so you can stare at the volcano at a closer distance? Possibly. But there are plenty of other things to enjoy while in Legaspi City as well. There’s the Albay Park and Wildlife which is obviously a zoo with caged animals – nothing too exotic really but it kinda brings back childhood memories of my first-ever terrifying trip to Manila Also, there’s the Lignon Hill Nature Park… behind Albay Park and Wildlife. The observation station on top affords people with the best spot to view Mayon Volcano and Legaspi City. There, you’ll find nature trails as well as a zip line (which I absolutely did not try since I love myself too much lol). If you don’t have a car with you, then I suggest you prepare yourselves for a long walk to the top. Be sure to bring some sunscreen, an umbrella, water and insect repellent if insects find you irresistible, like me. ^^ The Embarcadero de Legaspi is a major waterfront development which fronts the main harbor. There, you’ll find shops and restaurants; don’t expect too much though as the place is still being developed. You can also see a great view of the Mayon Volcano from there. A tip: If you’re planning to have lunch there, be sure you order some seafood. I mean seriously, you’re near a body of water so you know what that means, right? Fresh Catch! So order some fish, squid, crabs, shellfish… whatever… drink a fruit shake and enjoy lunching Al fresco. ^^ Sometimes when we’re in Legaspi, boyfie carries a cooler at the back of his pick-up coz he always drops by the fish market at Embarcadero to purchase some big fishes and prawns to bring back to home.

at lignon hill

embarcadero de legaspi

Did you know that The Philippines produces 85% of the world’s Abaca? In Bicol, you’ll find plenty of Abaca-based products to bring home as souvenirs. Woven designer purses kinda makes me uneasy with their crazy price tags coz I know that I can purchase plenty of cheaper stylish Abaca handbags of every imaginable color in Legaspi. Other stuff made from Abaca include slippers, fans, mats, wallets, furniture, decors…etc

abaca products

So there you have it, another blog-worthy destination to consider if you ever find yourself in Cam Sur. 🙂

xo -kz

Summer State of Mind

Cold weather is a bitch and a few days ago, the bitch has kicked my ass and given me the finger. >< So here I am cooped up in my room, trying to recover from the flu; there’s really nothing to do except watch Audrey Hepburn movies (that I’ve watched a million times already but I somehow never get tired of) and old Hollywood black and white movies and musicals which my boyfie absolutely hates. As I listen to the heavy downpour from outside my window, I turn my thoughts to happy days… like summertime with my family. 🙂 One of the most underrated destinations for adventure-seekers is the Daruanak Island in Pasacao. Didn’t I tell you there are plenty of amazing tourist destinations in Cam Sur? ^^ It’s an amazing spot for swimming and snorkeling specially for those who want a little privacy. You can also hike up the mountain. Having said that, Ive never been to the Daruanak Island but only admired it from afar… Well, not that far. You’ll see why..


a view of the daruanak island.. ignore me ^^

the daruanak island from afar

How to get there? Take a bus or a plane from Manila to Naga City. At Naga City Bus Terminal, take a van that will bring you to Pasacao. When you reach town, rent a pump boat that will take you to the Daruanak Island.

*there’s no white sand in Daruanak, mostly just rocks.

xo -kz

Longing for Summer II: Boracay

This summer, my family and I went to Boracay. The trip was a pain in the ass mostly due to the fact that both of our planes (from Naga to Manila and from Manila to Boracay) have been delayed for what feels like ages. There was so much drama at the airport; people swearing, yelling like crazy and demanding their refund. That’s exactly the reason why I stay away from planes whenever I go to Manila. The weather’s just unpredictable! Besides, I’ve been taking the bus for as long as I can remember; thank God some buses nowadays have comfy La-Z Boy seats and a comfort room. I wouldn’t travel any other way. Aaanyway, we arrived at Boracay late at night, so that’s minus 1 day already, damnit. So off to bed we went.

boracay regency pool

boracay regency

The Boracay Regency Hotel

We stayed at the Boracay Regency which offered us the most strategic location in Boracay which helped us maximize our vacation. Although it’s a bit pricey, it isn’t such a bad idea to splurge on your vacay, right? The luxurious surroundings, the comfy beds and the awesome pool bar made our stay in Boracay a splendid experience. My favorite part, of course, was the eat-all-you-can breakfast buffet.. It’s an amazing experience to gobble up our eat-all-you-can breakfast buffet while chillin’ just by the beachfront. The staff attended to our every need and there’s a good variety of food. I wish the glasses for the juice were a bit taller though since i hated having to refill my glass after every gulp of oj.. it’s like a shot glass.. okay, maybe bigger, but still…….Anyway, we checked in at Boracay Regency so indulging our gastronomic cravings at the Sea Breeze Cafe breakfast buffet is a great way to make sure we get what we paid for. 🙂 Also, if you have breakfast a little early, like 6:30 am, there are bound to be fewer people there so it’s perfect if you wanna enjoy a nice quiet breakfast free from the busy crowd. Since the resto is just by the beach front , you can immediately hit the beach after indulging in a sumptuous meal. I love the fact that it’s located in station 2 and right in the middle of all the action. My brothers and I totally enjoyed jamming with the live band which was playing at a tent just in front of the hotel. A few negative points:
1) so after a night of drinking, all we wanted to do was to grab a cup of coffee then we remembered that we have complementary sachets of coffee in our room.. unfortunately, the water heater wasn’t working. with their rates, you’d think they’d provide each room with a decent water heater, right? 2) internet connection: not free. (except in the lobby but still.. it would take forever before you can actually connect) 3) they almost charged us for a “missing face towel” which was actually just in the shower (i mean , come on, they didn’t see it? really? ) anyway, the matter was straightened out easily with just one call to the housekeeping dept. Just know that no hotel is perfect. Boracay is amazing with its pristine waters, fine beaches and breathtaking sunsets. the crazy nightlife is just a plus.. but our stay in Boracay regency certainly made our vacation extremely pleasant.

the zorb– even kids love it!

sand underneath my feet

watchin’ saliboats

Things to do in Boracay
Seriously? There’s the sun, the immaculately white beach and the clear, welcoming waters, go figure! Plus, there are like a hundred blogs dedicated to telling folks what to do when they visit Boracay. I’m not gonna go tell you to do anything; just know that in Boracay, the activities never end. So be sure to stay there for a minimum of at least 3-4 days… a week sounds divine, actually, if you have the time. So go, participate in some watersports, swim, take pictures, get a massage or maybe some braids, shop ‘til you drop, get wasted, get some ink done, drink some ridiculously expensive coconuts… but while you’re there, make it a point to eat some seafood as you would be crazy stupid not to 🙂 My fave restaurant isn’t some expensive 5 star resto but small restaurants by the seafood market. These are called “Paluto” (luto meaning cook”. You purchase the raw ingredients like fresh fish, shellfish, meat, etc at the market and have the restaurant cook it for you in any which way you like.

the beautiful sunset

my fam’ly

Sunsets in Boracay
Sunsets in Boracay are a sight to behold. When you know it’s time for the sun to set, you have got to just stop whatever it is that you’re doing and grab a seat by the beachfront. Or you can take out your camera and start snappin’ some shots coz you’d wanna remember how divinely beautiful it looks like. Boracay, unlike places like Caramoan, is filled with large-scale developments. I’d say it looks pretty raped and crowded these days. But whatever it lacks in privacy and um virginity, it makes up for with its wicked nightlife and luxurious comforts.

watashi no namae

you know what’d really be awesome when you do decide to visit Boracay? You have fun, write your name on the sand, and keep the trash off it. 🙂

xO -kz

Longing for Summer: the Caramoan Getaway

Woke up this morning and I knew just what I wanna blog about. Damn I miss summer! I can’t wait to squeeze in on a bikini and just lay on the beach…I wanna feel sand between my toes…salt on my lips. Last summer, me and my boyfie went to Caramoan. It’s located just in our province, Camarines Sur. I’m really proud of Cam Sur and the white beaches of Caramoan is just one of the reasons why I feel perfectly content living here. Anytime you wanna escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life, you can get yourself a little piece of heaven in just 1.5 hours drive.

Our trip started out as a spur-of-the-moment decision which later turned into a vacation which involves rigorous planning, intensive inquiries of potential guest homes and a foolproof itinerary. Did I mention I have OCD?
I can’t swim either. 😀 but being cray cray, I just looove the sea. So days before out trip, boyfie and I went hunting for a good life vest. Not that it’s really necessary; there are life vests provided in every boat in Caramoan. Standard really. So why did I need to buy one? Yep, you’ve guessed it. I’m very paranoid and not comfortable with the idea of sharing life vests. 🙂 Boyfie isn’t comfortable with the idea of me dying on sea and ruining our trip either. Besides, who says you can’t bring your own life vest? Other things I packed:
1) sunscreen (one for face and one for the body)–i use Coppertone, the one from Japan. for some reason it works better on me than the Coppertone here (?) oh well, guess that requires another blog entry.
2) glare-foil sunnies — bcoz what’s the point in wearing sunglasses if they can’t really protect you from the glare 🙂
3) flip-flops
4) colorful monokinis

5) plenty of sarong— during summer, sarongs are as indispensable to me as sunscreen. they’re very versatile — you can turn ’em into a dress, a cover-up, even use it as a mat if you just wanna lie down on the beach ..or a picnic blanket ^^ lol plus, they’re light, easy to pack.. you don’t have to worry about bringing lotsa clothes or having wrinkles on your clothes.

Me looking like a crazy person ^^

6) wide-brimmed hat — don’t want your face to get burned do ya?
7) insect repellent (just in case)
8) first aid kit (just in case)
9) toiletries
10) towel
11) wet wipes
12) umbrella
13) flash light
14) camera with spare batteries
15) goggles
15) Ziploc — why? aside from the fact that it’s a convenient way to store your toothbrush/ accessories/ sandwiches, etc. , you kinda need them to protect your camera/ cellphone and any other gadgets just in case they fall into the water. — not saying your stuff will get easily retrieved though so just keep your celly in your bag during the boat ride ok? 🙂

so how to get there?

I’m from Naga City so it’s kinda easy. We just drove to Sabang Port. Got up hella early — you kinda have to coz you don’t wanna miss the passenger boat which will bring you to Guijalo Port. The boat leaves every 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the number of passengers. The first trip is at 5:30 am, then there’s the 7: 30 which we took…. last trip is at 1:00 pm. Fare was P120/pax. Ahhh boat ride, the most grueling part of our trip– for me at least. 🙂 Boat time is 2 freaking hours by the way 🙂 Trust me though, it’s well worth it.

prepare to get splashed!

Thank goodness most of the guest houses in Caramoan provide their guests with packages that include everything you need from a comfy bed, bathroom, hot water (not all of them have this so you better make it a point to ask), planned meals (some provide packed lunches) and a comprehensive itinerary. You can get involved in the menu planning as we were and we even modified our itinerary.

Ok so once we got to Guijalo port, there was a tricycle driver waiting for us. All land and water transpo from Guijalo port were covered by our package. Road was a little bumpy but we got to the guesthouse in one piece. There were meals waiting for us there then we immediately prepared the stuff we were gonna bring to the island coz we just can’t wait to hit the beach! Our first stop: Matukad island. A couple of skilled boatmen were assigned to take us island hopping (included in the package). Here’s the thing though, expect the boat rides to be like hell rather lengthy! Fine powdery sand that can rival that of Boracay’s station one (if not better!) Ok, I seriously think it’s better (I compared my pics) …. I wish I could’ve spent the entire afternoon there instead of hopping to another less pretty island… Yes, the boat ride’s pretty long but it’s all worth it. 🙂

all i really want is to feel sand between my toes..

We then spent the rest of the day exploring the other islands. Matukad beach, Lahos Island, Honongan beach, Basud beach…each one is different from the other. We were pretty exhausted by the end of the day. We headed back to the guest house in the late aftie, took a bath, had dinner then curled up in bed with some chips and DVD’s that we brought with us. We went to bed early coz ummmmmm we knew we gotta wake up really early the next morning if we were to maximize our stay in Caramoan. We were there for 3 days and 2 nights. Most guest houses offer packages that range from 2 days – 1 night to 4 days-3, nights. I think 3 days and 2 nights is the best option since it provides you with sufficient time to see all the islands. 2 days- 1 night simply isn’t enough! If you don’t have the time for an overnight excursion, then perhaps you can check out the Island of Aguirangan.

see how clear the water is?

On Day 2, we were scheduled to see the Manlawi Sandbar, Cotivas Island, Bag-ing beach, Sabitang Laya, and Gota beach. Some vacationers aren’t reach all of them due to either lack of time or the weather. We were lucky the weather was fine… just perfect. Well it’s got to be! I practically planned this trip to That includes frequent checks on

Apart from the fine powdery sand and the pristine waters, one thing I adore about Caramoan islands are the rock formations. The privacy is also a huge plus factor. I’ve been to Boracay on the same year and as fun as it was, I prefer the Caramoan islands for romantic getaways. Even though we went there during the peak season, we hardly ever bumped into the people that  we shared the Sabang to Guijalo boat ride with. The two places have very different things to offer. If you’re looking for water sports, nightlife and shopping, then visit Boracay. However, if you just want adventure or maybe some peace and quiet, then Caramoan is the place to be. Theres really no point in comparing the two places since they are both equally beautiful so I suggest you go visit both.

Day 3 in Caramoan is really mostly spent on preparations for going home. We took a tricycle ride again from the guesthouse to Guijalo port and took the 10 am boat to Sabang Port. We shouldered our fare from outside of Guijalo Port. I went home with tan lines and a big smile on my face. 🙂

walking by the beach

Caramoan is a beauty! If you’re a Bikolano and haven’t been here yet, shame on you! you have got to check it out.
If you’re a foreigner/balikbayan or an adventure-seeker, then you can’t miss out on the breathtaking islands of Caramoan. The island has hosted several seasons of Survivor and more and more tourists are visiting the place.

For people coming from Manila through plane, you can just hire a taxi from Pili  airport to Naga City Terminal. From there, you can ride a van to Caramoan. If you travelled to Naga City through bus, well that oughta be easy since you’ll already get off at the bus terminal. As for us, we brought a car which we left at the care of one of the many residences at Sabang port that offer parking services at a per night fee. I think we paid somewhere around 200. Don’t be afraid to haggle. 🙂

manlawi sandbar– one of my favorites

These islands can pretty much be considered as untouched and the locals wish to keep it as such. Hence, it is void of large-scale developments. So don’t be expecting 5 star hotels or bars or shopping centers. I think it’s best to opt for guesthouses. These are actual homes that rent out their spare rooms for vacationers. The good thing about these types of accommodations is that you get all the comforts of home plus delicious home-cooked meals. Fresh seafood galore!

Well, there you have it. I apologize for the photos, not very good quality plus I only shared the ones that don’t show my silly all-excited face. lol That means i wasn’t even able to upload the ones that have nice backgrounds like rock formations, the clear blue sky and the water. sigh. but what the hell, you can easily search em up on the net anyway 🙂 Ta-ta for now, I gotta make lunch; I’m having this really healthy salad with a wicked creamy garlic dressing that I’m probably gonna blog about one of these days.

xO kz

PS i love this island so please leave your footprints and none of your garbage 🙂

boyfie’s feet are ginormous! lol