My Trip to Camotes Island In Cebu Philippines 2017

Let’s go to Camotes Island.

Philippines has many untouched white and fine sand beaches which is only local knows and to some, even they never knew until someone told them so. Just like me.

Introducing Camotes Island, I called it the mini little Boracay of Cebu. Please don’t get confuse if you do not know about the real boracay. Boracay is located in Caticlan. Most flight goes to Kalibo in Aklan and  flights mostly coming from many different parts of the world going to  Ninoy International airport  in Manila Philippines or  Mactan Cebu.

This article is not about beautiful Boracay. This article is about the Camotes Island. It is within Camotes Sea.

Santiago Bay in Camotes Island

Where is Camotes Island?

The Camotes Sea is a small sea within the Philippine archipelago, situated between the Eastern Visayan and the Central Visayan regions. It is bordered by the islands of Leyte to the north and east, Bohol to the south, and Cebu to the west.

camotes Island Cebu Philippines

Camotes Islands is a group of islands in the Camotes Sea, Philippines. The island is located east of Cebu Island, southwest of Leyte Island, and north of Bohol Island. It is 34 nautical miles from Cebu City and is part of Cebu. Wikipedia

HOW WE GET THERE?

There are two ways to get to Camotes Islands. One is from Cebu City where you could take early morning boats and ferries that leave at 5:30 am from the Quano Pier direct to Camotes Islands. It’s about 3-hour ride. No, we did not take this route.

A friend  who lives in Cebu City guide me in Camotes Island. We had a very local way of travelling. We took a bus (Ceres) that head to Hagnaya at the North Bus Terminal Station in Mandaue Cebu City. It took us almost 2 hours to get to  Danao Town, as the bus keep stopping and pick up passengers along the road side.

Without any plans and just decided on the spot, only later that I know about a short way of getting to Danao Ferry Terminal is to take the Mini Van  which is also located at the North bus Terminal station the same as where you take the bigger bus called “Ceres”.  The Minivan will take about an hour to Danao Town. Really a good choice if you can get one of these Mini Van.

Always ask a bus or a mini van going to Danao and ask them to stop you at the DANAO FERRY TERMINAL FOR CAMOTES ISLAND.

From Danao Ferry Terminal – you need to buy a ferry ticket that normally cost only P180 to 200 pesos  depending on the season. (avoid school holidays ) from April to end of May. Avoid long weekends too.

Ferry boat travel daily to camotes island

Because we went during school holiday and it was a weekend, we somehow manipulate the systematic way how locals or all of us should be doing.  We arrive at the ferry terminal in Danao, with full of crowds just like having the Sinulog kind of crowd in Cebu, a super long queue  at the entrance.  We arrive at about 11:45 Am at that time. There was person who came to us and ask us if we would like to get to the boat at 12 noon. On top of Pesos 200 each, we paid additional of P350. We wanted to get to the Island much earlier and to avoid the long queues as well.  Not a good idea but given to a circumstances, if we did not have to pay extra, we may not be able to get to the island that day. We were just so lucky.  For us working overseas, that 350 pesos extra was so worth it to avoid the queue.

ferry boat to camotes

The Ferry took around 2 hours to get to the island from Danao Town. For me it is a pretty long ride. Lucky enough there is a canteen on the ground floor. We are able to get some snacks and beer.

Santiago Bay

A super intense getaway, we arrive with no plan, no hotel booking. Knowing that we arrive on a  midday, there was one single room left at Santiago Bay. Our tricycle driver  ( please use him when you need a transport. A very nice older man whom I think he is so honest with his work. His number is +63 936- 668 – 4545) he was kind to help us and brought us to Santiago Bay as we had been to a few with no luck in looking for a room to sleep for the night.

Our Room in Santiago bay was decent, clean and it cost us P1800 for 3 people in the room.

As you may see on the images, these are taken from Santiago Bay.

There are may resorts available. Do not be worry, it can be cheaper if you go on NOT a high season.

To name a few hotels there.

My Friends and myself were only there for a day visit. As we arrive the island and have our room, we continually engage our tricycle driver to bring us around.

lake danao

Our driver brought us to many places around the island that can be done in a day or so if you are in a hurry.  But best is to really stay longer and get  to enjoy the water.

Lake Danao, we end up here and I was mesmerize by the beauty of the lake. The water is as far as you can see and it feels so calm.

danao lake

We went to many other sight seeing spots. There were a few caves and beaches. Many of the beaches we went are similar to Santiago beach. Fine sands and white. It is easy to swim and the water is super blue crystal.

I have to say, that a place which is not familiar to you will be so much fun to go with friends. It is indeed to me.
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To wrap it up, here is the video I created.

My Beginner’s Travel Guide in The Philippines

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People have always been fascinated with other places thanks to the power of internet. People traveling to tourist spots of other countries share not just their photos but also their experiences with various people and their culture. The more people share their travel experiences, the more other people become curious and plan to such places. I heard from my friends that traveling to other countries, such as France, UK, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand, would be a great experience. Well, I definitely agree since we get to learn several things that we couldn’t learn in our own country but great beginner’s travel guide would be to explore one’s neighboring region first before going abroad.

Mati Oriental in the Philippines

Other than it really takes time and money to travel to distant places, we still need to question if we really understand our own country, whether its ethnic groups, local cultures or history. A great beginner’s travel guide is to start within your country to gather information from different local regions as it saves time and money while simultaneously enjoying and understanding the culture of various neighboring areas by conversing with the local people and the foreigners staying in that region.

Let’s take a simple example here in the Philippines – a very diverse country. My dad grew up in Manila while my mom in Davao city but we, the children, mostly adopted our dad’s culture. We have been staying in Davao city for as long as I could remember. When I was a child, I was very fond of going to my neighbors’ house (just a few meters away) and play with the kids. I was not only enjoying my time with them, but I also learn their interests and behaviors as if I was learning their culture. It was my beginner’s travel guide.

davao city
View from the Plane of Davao city 2017

Then as I we became closer friends, I got the opportunity to get know other neighbors who lived about 50 meters away, without feeling intimidated. Then I started to gradually keep up with their behaviors, which are a bit different from my neighbors who lived a few meters away. The kids on the other side of our fence were playful but reserved while those who lived a few blocks away were also playful but quite boisterous.

Somehow, these two groups of kids were adjusting their approaches with each other for the sake of friendship, but of course, there were times that I got to see some of them fight over an outdoor game. I guess this is what makes us come into compromise – having to play outdoor games that we enjoy. It was the culture of the kids those days in Davao City. Every weekend, it seemed like it was part of our schedule to play, at least an hour or two for the day, outdoor games like hide-and-seek, tag, dodgeball or kickball. However, it was different when we went to Metro Manila.

Our family traveled by land going to Manila (thousands of kilometers away) in order to visit a deceased relative on my father side. We had a few stop overs in some regions in the Philippines only for a while so we really never got to explore the cultures of the places we passed by. Since we stayed longer in Manila, we had a chance to get a glimpse of their culture, specifically the kids’ culture. My cousins were not fond of outdoor games so they stayed most of their time playing board games or computer games. For us who lived in Davao city, it was a surprising culture and it was quite intimidating. Later, I found out that my younger sister and one of our cousins fought over decisions on what to play. In addition, having different dialects, Tagalog and Visayan, would make both sides reserved in speech whether they are children or adults but as they say, “When in Rome, do what the Romans do.”

The idea here is that if going to a distant place with different cultures would make one intimidated and form unpleasant relationships, it’s a best beginner’s travel guide to start wandering within your country from your nearest locality to the farthest regions in your country before going to foreign countries in order to lessen culture shock. Although we were taught to study the places, people and culture of other countries, it’s very different when we experience them first-hand, especially if the target area has a unique culture.

 

davao city
my friends in Davao city

.. He met people from different ethnicities and gathered information about the neighboring localities bit by bit. Slowly traveling farther and farther every year gave him courage to start traveling abroad alone and met various individuals without feeling intimidated because he already had second-hand information on the country he planned to traveled to. From Philippines, he went to Hong Kong, the next year to Macau, the year after next to Singapore, then China, Thailand and its neighboring countries, and lastly to India but this time, with new friends who also like to travel. What’s advantageous about taking small steps traveling distant places is that you get to meet tourists who have been to several countries and naturally collect information.

Tourist Spots that are close to your region is a nice place start exploring for a beginner’s travel guide. They do not only have breathtaking surroundings but also have various people who lived in or traveled from other local areas or from foreign countries in which the travel guide to start within your country would make it seem like you’re traveling abroad. Conversing with foreigners is the good way to start gathering information about other countries. First, guide them about what you know within your country, whether about the places, people or your culture. It’s also a way of building trust.

After giving them enough information and established at least a handful of trust, the next step is to start asking questions about the countries they know or they are familiar with. How many foreign countries have you been to? What’s your country like? What’s the most attractive or the best place to hang out in your country? What are your native delicacies that you would recommend for foreigners to eat? What can you say about the people in your country? What’s interesting about your culture? These are just some of the questions to start the discussions about the country they came from. Assisting foreigners in your country creates a give-and-take relationship, which also serves as a beginner’s travel guide. As you delve deeper into obtaining information, you will have the opportunity to at least understand a bit of the place, people and their culture.

. It’s a Japanese school located at the north of Davao city. When I studied there for one and a half years, I was able to meet Japanese descendants who have been going in and out of Japan. Other than acquiring information from Japanese professors, those descendants also shared facts, their ideas and opinions about Japan and their people, although books and internet also helped me a lot in information acquisition.

 

 

They talked about how different their culture is compared to the Philippines, especially when it comes to discipline. Whether it’s the government or the citizens, everyone there works hard to build a better society not only because they strictly follow the laws but also because it’s already their habit since childhood. I was informed on how Japan’s school system practically and meticulously trained primary school kids about manners and discipline before they proceed to High School. Even though those were just second-hand information, I was still refreshing to hear what it’s like to be in that country and with the help of imagination, it’s as if I was residing in that developed country.

Currently, when people I know talk about the places they have been to, I simply smile and nod because I already understood what it’s like to be in that certain country they were discussing. However, I do not disclose second-hand information easily because it’s not like I was really there and those second-hand information I obtained might not be entirely true, although I share information from the books I have read and state my source. There are times that second-hand information are not well elaborated, so the next step in a beginner’s travel guide after gathering data is to experience what you have heard from those foreigners, that is, if you have the time and money to finally travel distant places. Then follow the same travel guide – gather information from various people who have been to the neighboring areas or countries, and travel to the nearest local region if you have the time and money.

I have been traveling only to my neighboring local areas, and had witnessed the similarities and differences among those regions while I collected information from people about the neighboring areas in Davao city and some ideas about foreign countries. For me, I still need understand my own country because of its diversity, which is why I ask questions from people who have been to several places if I have the opportunity, while saving time and money simultaneously. And when I went to places I’m interested in, it was not that surprising to encounter such people and experience their culture. I was able to blend in naturally. It is a great beginner’s travel guide to start within your country in obtaining information to avoid, or at least mitigate, culture shock.

 

It is not easy to adjust one’s attitudes and behaviors when staying in a country that has a completely dissimilar culture which is why the best beginner’s travel guide without much intimidation is to understand your locality and gather information from visiting foreigners, then slowly taking steps from your local region to the neighboring places until you have visited all the regions in your country. Traveling to neighboring regions one at a time could help in gradually familiarizing a unique set of habits from different ethnicity and in obtaining ideas about what the visiting foreigners shared about their country.

Valentine’s Day in Philippines

Valentine’s Day is considered as one of the most popular holidays in the world although it seems to become a much commercialized occasion these days. Many business owners take advantage of this special celebration of hearts since a lot of people look forward to it to take time in expressing the love and care they offer to the special people around them. Such way of expressing is by buying and sending chocolates with flowers particularly red roses. Some companies make Valentine goods like stuffed Teddy bears, Valentine’s cards; couple T-shirts for lovers, couple watches, jewelries, heart-shaped candies and cakes, and the like. So obviously, this is a special day for mainly lovers.

Valentine Recipe
Valentine’s Day Recipe

When did Valentine’s Day began? 

Historically and originally, this occasion wasn’t about love or romance at all. It was in fact quite confusing because there have been different stories of where and when Valentine’s Day started. Some historians wrote it started on the 3rd century A.D. when Emperor Claudius II executed a martyr priest named Valentine on February 14.

Ancient Christians honored his martyrdom and began the liturgical celebration named after St. Valentine. Another martyrdom story was about St. Valentine of Rome which was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were not allowed to marry since it was then believed that married soldiers didn’t perform well in the battles compared to unmarried soldiers. In the prison, Valentine had healed a blind girl named Julia, the daughter of his prison officer. Finally, before he got executed, Valentine wrote Julia a letter and he signed, “Your Valentine” as a farewell; which may have been the origin of today’s Valentine’s cards. However, the celebration of Valentine didn’t have any romantic implications until Chaucer’s poetry about Valentine’s Day in 14th Century. 

Chaucer's Valentine Poem
Chaucer’s Valentine’s Poem

Married couples, boyfriends-girlfriends, live-in partners, and even people who has their secret crushes, feel very much excited on Valentine’s Day. It is their chance and might be their only chance to express their intimate feelings to someone they love. In fact, they don’t just celebrate it on the 14th since many people celebrate the occasion on other days of the love month.

Below are the things that Filipinos do on Valentine’s Day:

 

  • Dinner date – couples save this date for a special dinner. Of course, restaurants usually offer discounts or promos for this special occasion like ‘Dinner for two, for the price of 1’ and they make sure they have prepared a very romantic ambiance for their in-love diners. And they are of course served sweet desserts like heart-shaped cakes and candies! 

    Valentine's Dinner
    Valentine’s Day Dinner
  • Valentine’s concerts and gigs – Filipinos are known to have a lot of talented singers and almost all Filipinos are undeniably music lovers. Many couples spend this day by watching concerts especially inspired by love stories.
  • Sharing the love to children – Although, Valentine’s isn’t only for lovers. In elementary and high-schools, students are taught to make Valentine’s cards in their Art subjects and finished projects are to be given to their parents and guardians. This is one way of teaching the Filipino children express their love for their parents by writing love letters in their very own handmade Valentine greeting cards. Sweet! 

    children holding their Valentine cards
    children holding their Valentine cards
  • Giving Valentine’s goodies – Usually, boyfriends and husbands give something to their girlfriends and wives. As mentioned earlier in this post, things like red roses, chocolates, Valentine’s cards, stuffed Teddy bears, heart-shaped balloons, anything that’s for couple – shirts, watches, pillows, coffee mugs, and more, these are very common to give as a present for the day of Hearts. 

    Valentine's goodies
    Valentine’s Day goodies

Breakfast around the World

Breakfast is considered as the most essential meal of the day. It’s the meal that fuels you the energy you need and helps you kick off your active day. Apart from that, foods for breakfast contain important nutrients such as Calcium, Iron, Protein, Fiber, and lots of Vitamins. These are the most important nutrients our body needs and influences a lot on how we carry out tasks physically and mentally.

However, some people don’t feel like eating their breakfast for some reasons. Might be that they’re too busy or they just don’t feel hungry until 10am. But not me! Oh how I love this meal. If only I could, I’d like to have pancakes, cereal, hard-boiled eggs, sausages, and cheese every morning! Are you salivating yet? On the other hand, you need to keep in mind that a balanced diet is still your priority. So eating sausages everyday may not sound so good too.

Additionally, in travelling around the world, one must also know what do the locals in the place you’re travelling to, eat in their meals. Of course, breakfast foods differ widely from place to place. Take a look at different types of foods people from different countries eat for breakfast.

Japan

A traditional Japanese first meal consists of a bowl of Miso soup and steamed rice or rice porridge, and various side dishes like cooked fish and some pickled vegetables, and of course a cup of green tea.

Japanese breakfast
Japanese morning meal

India

A traditional Indian morning meal depends on each region but you might be surprised that they almost eat similar dishes to lunch and dinner. Their breakfast might include roti (flatbread), dosas (thin crepes made of lentils) or idlis (steamed rice-dough pancakes), and different dips and chutneys, as well as spiced potatoes.

Indian breakfast
Indian morning meal

Singapore

Kaya is like a jam made from coconut, egg and Pandan leaves. It is served on toasted bread with a thick layer of margarine. If you like to start the day with a hearty breakfast, a set of Kaya toast, soft-boiled eggs and Singapore-style coffee or tea is definitely perfect.

Singaporean breakfast
Singaporean morning meal

Australia

Recently, a new breakfast trend in Australia includes Cereal with veggies. It may sound very unattractive to start your day but it is actually rich in all the nutrients you need especially if milk or yoghurt and top it with nuts or seeds. So that’s calcium, protein, and fiber all in one serving!

Australian breakfast
Australian morning meal

Germany

I love Philippines’ traditional morning meal but this German style breakfast is by far my favorite one. I think it has everything in it that a person wouldn’t say NO for breakfast no matter how busy or lazy he/she might be. A good, traditional breakfast includes bread, toast, and/or rolls, multiple jams and honey, boiled eggs, cold meats, such as ham and salami, lots of different cheeses (which makes it perfect for me!), fruit and vegetables, and smoked fish all washed down with a strong cup or pot of tea or coffee. Aren’t those irresistible? Hmmm….

German breakfast
German morning meal

 

Brazil

Brazillian breakfast consists of a strong coffee or suco (juice), freshly baked bread (usually it is Pão Francês) with butter or margarine, and a Papaya fruit. It’s easy to prepare and very much ideal for those who want to eat light.

 

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Russia

Traditional Russian breakfast is very simple and some people who travel Russia find it unappetizing since it’s just too common. Russian breakfast includes fried eggs, porridge, sandwich with butter or jam, tvorog (similar to cottage cheese), pancakes, some fruits, and/or cereal for breakfast.

Russian breakfast
Russian morning meal

Colombia

A main food for morning meal in Colombia is the Arepa or corn cake topped with butter or fried egg, meat, or jam. Though most of them eat Calentado (which means “heated”), this is a dish made of the night-before’s leftovers which are then reheated the next morning for their breakfast. It is then served with fried egg and a hot chocolate drink.

Colombian morning meal
Colombian morning meal

England

Full English breakfast is a healthy English morning meal that includes eggs, sausage, bacon, beans, mushrooms, and cooked tomato and with of course a cup of coffee or tea especially originated in England. Almost everything in their breakfast is fried, so it’s commonly called as ‘fry-up’.

English morning meal
fry-up

Turkey

Turkish morning meal
Turkish morning meal

A traditional breakfast in Turkey consists of bread, cheese, butter, olives, eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, jam, honey, and kaymak. It can also include sucuk, a spicy Turkish sausage, and Turkish tea. It is often set out as a buffet as you can see in the photo.

Trivia:

  • Kaymak is a creamy dairy product similar to clotted cream, made from the milk of water buffalos, cows, sheep, or goats in Central Asia, some Balkan countries, Turkic regions, Iran and Iraq.  Read more https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaymak
  • Sujuk is a dry, spicy sausage which is eaten from the Balkans to the Middle East and Central Asia. Read more https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sujuk

South Africa

Putu Pap
Putu Pap

Hot cereal or porridge, often made with corn and called “putu pap,” is a common first meal here. Putu pap is a porridge made from corn meal and is the main food of southern Africa. Putu pap is also known as krummelpap, which means “crumbly porridge”.

South Korea

South Korean typical meal
South Korean typical meal

A Korean morning meal looks noticeably similar to a Korean dinner. There’s rice, soup, the ever-present kimchi, some type of fish or beef, and other leftovers from the previous night’s dinner. But if you ask the locals, their basic breakfast always include the basics – rice, kimchi, and soup.

 

Israel

The Israeli morning meal is a dairy meal, and a variety of cheeses are offered unlike in many countries where there are varieties of meats except fish such as smoked or pickled fish, sardines, and salmon. Just like any other countries, egg dishes are also served in breakfast, fresh vegetables and fruits, coffee, tea, and bread and pastries.

Israeli morning meal
Israeli morning meal

Hawaii

A healthy Hawaiian breakfast – Fruits, fruits, and fruits! Sometimes bagel is included in their menu but forget it, you’ll be fascinated with all the tropical fruits they serve for breakfast.

Hawaiian Fruity morning meal
Hawaiian Fruity morning meal

Philippines

Filipino breakfast
Filipino breakfast

There are a wide variety of traditional breakfast in Philippines depending on regions. Typically in a normal morning it includes white rice or garlic fried rice, fried eggs, pan de sal (small bread rolls with coffee, corned beef, salted fish, and ripe mangoes.

Puto Maya with ripe mango and hot Chocolate
Puto Maya with ripe mango and hot Chocolate

On other days especially on weekends when family members don’t go rushing in the morning, their breakfast would include Puto Maya with native hot chocolate drink. And when we say Philippines breakfast – it’s all about the local fruits here. Mangoes are popular fare to keep you regular.

How about in your country? What is your morning meal like? What did you have for breakfast today? Share it with us in the comments below.