I recently joined a group on Facebook where local Filipinos share their DIY travels in the Philippines. DIY which translates to “Do It Yourself”, they share their trips complete with directions, estimated budgets, itineraries and stunning photos.
There are a lot of great budget travel guides on there but because of the growing number of members in the group, the good ones are often buried by inquiries on trips or “inspiring” travel posts.
I’ve rounded up 5 budget travel guides, for all of you weekend wanderers and weekday warriors, that you can do on your own. Most of them posted on the group are in Tagalog, but for the purpose of information that everyone can understand, I’m translating them just for you. *wink* *wink*
1 – FIVE FINGERS, Mariveles by: instagram.com/mitchmendoza_
Michelle Fajardo Mendoza found this new paradise which is just 4 hours away from Metro Manila.
According to the Facebook user, “A perfect place where you can relax and find yourself.” She also felt like she was in Siargao because of its fine white sand and crystal clear water. Which is very evident in the photos she shared with the group.
Travel Trivia: Laki Beach closed to the public on the second week of April 2017 because the owner didn’t know that the caretaker was inviting people to the privately-owned beach. Fortunately for us travellers, it is finally opened to the public in the last week of May 2017.
Reminder: Contact a local to check the weather because the boats aren’t allowed to set sail if the waves are too big, even if you plead that you travelled far to reach your destination. And if you would like to go Cliff Diving, just ask your “bangkero” (boat operator).
HOW TO GET THERE?
- From Manila, ride Bataan Transit/ Genesis bus bound to Mariveles. (List of Terminals: Cubao, Avenida, Pasay) Fare: Php280 – Php290
- Drop-off point at Mariveles Town Proper. Get off at the last bus stop or get off at Jollibee.
- From Mariveles to Porto, there are two options to get there: either ride a jeepney bound to Brgy. Balon (Php 8.00) or ride a tricycle (Php 75.00 – Php100) good for 4 pax; Remember to let the driver know that you’re getting off at Porto.
Landmark: the Basketball court. It’s just a few minute walk to the beach from the court. There are boats available to be rented by the beach, just in case you don’t have a contact. Make sure you buy everything that you need for the camping trip before you leave.
WHERE TO STAY?
Michelle stayed at Laki Beach where there are a few cottages that are available to the public for free. But she recommended that you bring your own tent if you wish to stay overnight on the island.
RATES AND OTHER INFORMATION
- Day Tour: Php 100
- Overnight Fee: Php 350
- Manila to Mariveles (by bus): Php280 – Php290
- Boat rentals:
Day Tour: Php 2,000- Php 2,500
Overnight: Php 2,500 – 3,500 (Capacity: 5-10pax). The rate depends on where you’re staying for the night. Michelle was able to bring down the fee to Php 3,000 for roundtrip which also included Island Hopping and Cove-to-Cove adventure.
- Boat Operator / Local Contact: Kuya Bonnie and Ate Bheng, 09092279356
2 – CRYSTAL BEACH RESORT, Zambales by: Ellen Aquino
Crystal Beach is one of the well-known resorts in Zambales where the Summer Siren Music Festival was held. Crystal Beach is actually a great place to unwind, go glamping, and surf. The resort has different activities every night such as fire dancing, movie viewing, and acoustic music.
Ellen Aquino shared her itinerary with the group along with some useful information.
According to Ellen, the resort can accommodate you as early as 6am, you can set up your tent at the “kampsite” area but check-in time for rooms and hostel is 2pm. Check out: 12noon
Breakfast buffet can be availed on the next morning but you can also pay an additional Php 285 for the buffet on your first day. They also offer different meals but they are expensive. There are “carenderias” or food shacks outside the resort if you’re on a budget.
HOW TO GET THERE?
- Ride a Victory Liner bus bound for Iba or Sta. Cruz, Zambales. (There are terminals in Caloocan, Sampaloc, Cubao and Pasay.)
- You need to be dropped off at San Narciso, Zambales.
- Landmark: San Sebastian Church
- Travel time: 3-4hrs if you take an early trip (like 2am)
- Ride a tricycle to Crystal Beach Resort (or you can walk to Crystal Beach if you don’t mind)
Ellen’s SAMPLE ITINERARY
2 AM – ETD Cubao
6 AM – ETA San Narciso, Zambales
6:15 AM – ETA Crystal Beach Resort, Check-in, free time onwards (swim, surf, photo ops)
7 PM – dinner, socials, acoustic night
12 MN – lights out
7 AM – breakfast
9 AM – free time (swim, surf, beach bumming)
12 NN – check out, lunch, etd Crystal Beach Resort
5 PM – ETA QC
RATES AND OTHER INFORMATION
- Bus fare: Php 280-300 per way
- Tricycle: Php 15 per way
- Surfing: Php 350 (board rental with instructor)
- Day Tour Rates: Php 500 per pax; inclusive of entrance fee and Php 150 consumable of food and drinks
- Overnight Rates: Php 999 per pax; inclusive of tent rentals with mat, pillows, blanket and toiletries, water bottle and breakfast buffet; Php 895 per pax; without a tent, with breakfast buffet; Other rooms: http://www.crystalbeach.com.ph/stay.php
- Contact details: Mobile- 09338509144, 09178892476, 09156023636; Landline- (02)941-9004, (047)222-2227
3 – Masasa Beach, Batangas by: CJ and JC Travel Blog
Masasa beach which is located in Tingloy, Batangas is truly a one-of-a-kind paradise according to Carryl, a Facebook user who shared her experience with the group. The beach is 4 to 5 hours away from Metro Manila but the travel time is totally worth it when you reach the destination.
Carryl and her companion stayed at Nanay Rosie’s transient where you’ll hear the ocean waves while you slept.
Usually, the island hopping cost for two to four people is Php 1,500, but with the help of Nanay Rosie’s sibling, Carryl was able to island hop for only Php 1,200 which is good for 2. But you can opt out of the island hopping and go for snorkelling which only costs Php 100 per head.
Electricity doesn’t run for 24 hours there so make sure you bring an extra battery for your camera or a power bank for your phone. There is no LTE available on the island but the signal is strong enough for texting.
Also, make sure to buy food at the Anilao Port because the food in Tingloy costs a lot more.
HOW TO GET THERE?
- Ride a JAM Liner bus via ACTEX going to Batangas Grand Terminal (Php 185.00)
- From Batangas Grand Terminal ride a jeepney going to Anilao port (Php 37.00)
- Ride a passenger boat – You have 2 options: Take the boat going straight to Masasa Port (Php 100.00) or boat to Tingloy port (Php 80.00)
- If you dropped off at Masasa Port, you can ride a boat going to your transients (Php 25.00 per head)
- If you dropped off at Tingloy Port, you can ride a tricycle going to Masasa beach (Php 120.00 good for 4) then walk going to your transients (minimum of 15mins)
3:30am ETD from Cubao to Batangas Grand Terminal
5:30am ETA in Batangas Grand Terminal
5:40am ETD from Batangas Grand Terminal to Anilao Port
6:20am ETA in Anilao Port
6:25am Bought food in Anilao Port
7:15am ETD from Anilao to Masasa Port
8:15am ETA in Masasa Port
8:20am ETD from Masasa Port to Nanay Rosie’s Transient
8:35am ETA in Nanay Rosie’s Transient
8:40am Free time/Cook food for lunch
1:00pm Island Hopping (Tawil rock formation, Lagoon, Isla Sombrero, Snorkelling and Swim with Pawikan)
5:00pm End of Island Hopping
5:30pm Free time
6:00pm Cook food for dinner
8:00pm Free time
10:00pm Lights Off
5:15am Wake-up call
5:30am Cook food for breakfast
7:00am Free Time (We go to Masasa Beach, ride in the floating cottage, and lagoon)
10:30am Pack up and cook food for lunch
12:00nn Check out in Nanay Rosie’s transient and buy souvenirs
12:30pm ETD from Nanay Rosie’s transient to Mahabang Buhanginan
12:45pm ETA in Mahabang Buhanginan
12:50pm ETD from Mahabang Buhanginan to Tingloy Port
1:20pm ETA in Tingloy Port
1:30pm ETD from Tingloy Port to Anilao Port
2:30pm ETA in Anilao Port
2:35pm ETD from Anilao Port to Batangas Grand Terminal
3:35pm ETA in Batangas Grand Terminal
3:40pm ETD from Batangas Grand Terminal to Cubao
6:40pm ETA in Cubao
EXPENSES FOR 2 via Masasa Port:
- Php 330 (165 each) – Bus to Batangas Terminal
- Php 74 (37 each) – Jeep to Anilao Port
- Php 60 (30 each) – Environmental Fee
- Php 200 (100 each) – Boat to Masasa Port
- Php 50 (25 each) – Boat to Nanay Rosie Transient
- Php 1,000 – Room (If by group, 300 each)
- Php 1,200 – Island Hopping (1500 for 4)
- Php 500 – Food good for 2D1N stay (2pax)
- Php 100 (50 each) – Floating cottage (1hr)
- Php 50 (25 each) – Boat to Masasa Port
- Php 200 (100 each) – Boat to Anilao Port
- Php 80 (40 each) – Jeep to Batangas Grand Terminal
- Php 330 (165 each) – Bus to Cubao
TOTAL: 4174/2 = Php 2,087
RATES AND OTHER INFORMATION
- Jeeps going to Anilao has no schedule. It will leave when the seats are full.
- Boat schedule going to Masasa Port/Tingloy Port: 7 or 8am until 4:30pm.
- Boat schedule going back to Anilao port: 6am until 2:30pm.Fish feeding in Masasa White Sand Beach: Php 50/hr
- Floating Cottage: Php 50
- Island Hopping: Php 1,200
- Snorkelling: Php 100
- Nanay Rosie: 09196864368 | Facebook Page
If you ever go to one of these trips, please comment below on your experiences. I would love to know how it goes and how helpful you think these travel guides are.
A friendly reminder: Please be a responsible tourist and leave no trace behind. Let those who come after you enjoy the sights and experience the beauty of their chosen destination.