Off the Grid in Quirino

Brief Background
Quirino (capital: Cabarroguis) is a province in the Philippines named after its sixth president, Elpidio Quirino. It’s surrounded by different provinces which are why it is considered a landlocked province. Although Ilocano is widely spoken there, locals can converse well in Tagalog or Filipino and English.
With only a total area of 2,323 square kilometres and barely 190,000 residents, it may sound like there’s nothing much to do in this quaint province. But no, there are so many things to do here! Ready your backpacks!

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Av Eugene Alvin Villar (seav) – English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, Lenke

How To Get There
Believe it or not, Quirino is rarely mentioned in travel blogs and sites. Because of its geographical location, it is generally off the tourist radar.

Your first option would be to take a bus from Metro Manila. You will have to catch the late night trip so you’ll get to the town of Maddela the next morning (yes, you’ll have to sleep on the bus). This is the most economical way of getting there.

If time is of the essence and the budget is not an issue, take an hour flight (Cebu Pacific Air) to Cauayan Airport in Isabela, a town next to Quirino. Get off the plane, and find a van that will take you Cabarroguis. This land trip will take another hour to an hour and a half.

If you are not able to book a ticket to Cauayan, hop on an hour flight to Tuguegarao (Cebu Pacific Air or Philippine Airlines) and then hop on a van to Quirino. This will take three hours.

There’s no easy way to get to this place, but it’s so worth it!

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By P199Sariling gawa, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Getting Around Quirino
If you’re a laidback type of person who likes to immerse what locals do, Quirino should be on your bucket list. There are no car, motorcycle or bicycle rentals, however, you can ride a jeepney to get to your destination (yes, even to the remote mountainous areas!)

What To Do In Quirino

Eat. Eat. Eat – With all those hours you spent on travelling to Quirino, be sure to try their delicious local delicacies (this will give you enough energy for your other activities, too). Enjoy some “igado” and “Pancit Batil Patung” for lunch, dinakdakan for dinner (or anytime of the day, tbh!) and some “Royal Tubikoy” or “inandila” for dessert or afternoon snacks. And “water” them down with “tapuy.” No, we won’t tell you what they are. You have to try them!

Go spelunking – Aglipay cave has a 37-chamber cave system, 8 of which were developed for caving for enthusiasts (from basic to super challenging).

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Visit Nagtipunan – Nagtipunan, a town where part of the Cagayan River is located, is not only perfect for boating and swimming. Here you can enjoy your time away from the hustle and bustle and unleash your outdoorsy side! This place is great for camping, trekking, rock climbing, fishing, and rafting.

See the waterfalls – Quirino may not have beaches, but it is definitely blessed with so many waterfalls. Before you get to bathe in these amazing falls, you have to be up for a little bit of hiking and trekking (well, maybe not a little). List down Pensal Falls, Mabo Falls, Nantugaw Falls, Sinipit Falls, Maddela Falls, Junuan Falls, Victoria Falls, and Mactol Falls on your journal for when you visit Quirino!

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Sit back and relax at Landingan Viewpoint – Two words: breathtaking scenery. A view deck is available where you can see perpetual greens. That is green plains surrounded by green mountains after green mountains against the blue skies. The view is so beautiful and the air is so fresh you just want to stay quiet and be in one with nature (and maybe imagine yourself paragliding).

Visit Siitan River – Balasyan canoes will take you on a quiet yet enjoyable river cruise at Siitan River. If prefer to get your feet (or yourself) in the water, rent an inflated tube and allow yourself to be drifted away by the calm waters of this river. This place is so picturesque you’d think you’re on a movie set!

If you like to learn more about Philippines or secret hideouts in the world, reach out to us at askus@ladyredot.com and we’ll be glad to guide you.


mish
Hello, I am Mish! I used to work as a travel expert, customer service specialist and a communications trainer in the past. After working for eight years straight since I graduated, I decided to give up my corporate job to focuses on my 4-year old son, works as a freelance writer and a real estate assistant. I am a sun-worshipper, a water baby, and an earth warrior. And oh, I’m tiny but I am an Olympic-level glutton. Let me bring your tummy around the globe! You can reach me at LinkedIn.

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Best Nature Picture Perfect Backdrops in Asia

When it comes to photoshoots, Mother Earth have so many natural backdrops that wow us, it is impossible to just pick just 10 out of thousand fascinating sceneries. So, for this article, I only choose representatives, well-known or hidden gems, from each destination in Asia for nature-savvy folks like me. Get ready to pleasure your photogenic souls with these favourites.

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1. Panjin Red Beach, China
I know China is an amazing country and she isn’t lack of white sanded beaches. Pay a visit to the magnificent red beach, the unique red carpet colour due to the special seaweed, growing on this salty delta land. I promise you it will change your definition of beach forever. Best time to capture this wonder is during Autumn, when they started to turn red, be aware of the crowd, though.

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2. Cổ Thạch beach, Vietnam
Another unusual beach for movie-like shots is located in Tuy Phong, 90km from Phan Thiet. The well-hidden beach is covered with the most colourful small stones in various shapes. If you find stone banks and giant rocks are magnificent, this is the must-see destination for you. Tip: visit this beach in March- April for alien-like photos: when the rocks are covered with green moss, blended with crystal water, the sunset at this place is simply beyond words.

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3. Kelimutu crater lakes, Indonesia
Are you obsessed with magic and want your photo to have some magical touch without any touch ups using Photoshop? You have just come to right place! On top of a volcano, there are 3 lakes, with different colours that change with the seasons that is believed due to the residence of after-life spirits . The iconic lakes were once featured on Indonesia currency.

4. Sigiriya, Sri Lanka
There is something about the massive rocks that always catch my attention. The spectacular and well reserve cliff are truly amazing. From the way down to all the way up, there are hundreds of spots for you to take photos. If you are willing to climb to the top, you will be rewarded with the extraordinary paranormal view of Sri Lanka.

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5. Padang Pasir at Pantai Klebang, Melaka, Malaysia
What do you know about Malaysia? Yes, I’m sure we are all familiar with the stunning white-sand beaches, exotic tropical forests of the “truly Asia”. Do you know that there is a desert-like spot in this country? Actually, Padang Pasir is a white sand dune near to the beach, photos taken here can be easily mistaken for those in the real desert in Abu Dhabi.

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6. Rice terraces and hill tribes, Sapa, Vietnam
As one of the most favourite spots for honeymooners, the rice terraces make you feel peaceful in the most ordinary way. Visit this top north area, indulge yourself at the laid-back Sapa town and let the ethnic group local here leads you to their wonders. I’m sure the saying “inspiration comes from the ordinary” is absolutely true.

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7. Shibazakura, Hokkaido, Japan
Japan, I know, you know, the tiny island with splendid landscapes across the country. If you want to catch something as fascinated as sakura blooming, consider visiting Hokkaido during May and June, when the Shibazakura festival is held. The vast hill covered by pink carpet made up of the blossoming flowers, ensure you get a stunning jaw-dropping photo.

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8. Tavan Bogd Mountain, Mongolia
Experienced the nomadic lifestyle, and get your breathtaking scenes all over this perfect picture country. Allow yourself blending into the mother nature and let her inspire the artist in you. One thing I’m afraid is that you will be so overwhelmed by the beauty that you might forget to capture them!

9. Ghanche District, Gilgit–Baltistan, Pakistan
The media definitely exposes you enough with the chaos in Pakistan but failed to mention how beautiful the country has to offer. Yes, what you seeing is not in Canada or any Europe country but rather a small town in Pakistan. Plan your visit in Autumn and enjoy the beautiful yellow fallen leaves along the road, above your head, and under your feet.

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10. Palawan, The Philipines
Finally, back to the classic, turquoise water, dazzling white sand, the underground river, massive cliff, I’m taking you to the newly-claim “World Nature of Wonders”, Palawan. Ensure to get a waterproof camera here if you wish to have the underwater world as your perfect backdrop.

Set your camera right, pick the perfect season, explore the goddess settings and learn to treasure the mother Earth’s gifts. Join us for more than just reading content off our website, we can bring you to the ends of Earth for the most beautiful sights feast upon your eyes, just askus@ladyredot.com.


 

june June explores different roles to find out what is her passion. She used to be a travel consultant, a Kindergarden English teacher, an Expedia’s Lodging Partner Support agent, and the latest is being a freelancer. Eventually, she figures that her passion is to express the hospitality spirit from her heart and inspire others from her works. Being a writer for LadyRedot, where she get inspired and inspire others, and running her own bed and breakfast in her homeland. She views life as a colorful and adventurous journey, join her as she shares her passion with you! You can reach out to her @ LinkedIn.

The Benefits of Traveling Solo

Travelling is, undeniably, beneficial to everyone. It can be fun and life changing at the same time.

Nowadays, it has become very popular and more people are going on trips than ever before. But the question is, how do we make the experience even more worthwhile? Should we go in groups? Or is it best to travel solo? A lot of people say travelling with a group of friends is better, but a portion of the world’s population thinks otherwise. They say going solo is actually as beneficial or even better! Why?

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Going on a solo trip is, admit it, easy to plan. Personally, I’ve had numerous travel plans that fell through just because one of my friends who initially decided to go, suddenly changed her mind. And I don’t know about you guys, but with my friends, if one expresses hesitation about the trip, a couple of others will be disheartened and will eventually decide not to go, too. Being a damper on the fun can be contagious.

Bummer, right?

Well, when you travel alone, you’re the master of your own schedule and this won’t happen!

Do anything you like. Go anywhere you want.

When you travel solo, you can do whatever you like without the hassle of asking for somebody’s opinion, and without waiting for someone’s approval. Spur-of-the-moment ideas are always possible! And the best part is, you don’t have to go through the process of arguing where to eat and where to go next, right? (Which normally happens when in a group)

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Well, when you travel alone, you’re still going to need help from different people. Asking for directions, asking locals where to eat or what transportation to take can be stepping-stones to new relationships.

“Me time” is always a good time. Every once in a while, we have to be alone and one with nature. It’s a good way to relax and think of your goals and aspirations. The tranquillity can also help you realise things you have not thought of in the past.

Stepping out of your comfort zone makes you stronger. Challenging yourself and doing things that you never thought you would do are some of the things that will help you improve yourself. So if you have always been terrified of travelling alone, it’s time you consider the idea. As they say, you will never know what you are capable if you do not try.
Whether you’re 18 or 80, there is always something you have yet to discover about yourself. There can be self-discovery moments in doing things alone, in an isolated bubble, away from the unsolicited opinions of other people. Who knows, you might just surprise yourself in the process!

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You can be yourself, and no one will judge you. When you travel, you will be surrounded by people who do not know you. You can do whatever you want (of course, without disrespecting their culture) and be the best version of yourself because, although the strangers you bump into may judge you, you won’t even care.

Experience is the best teacher. Travelling solo will help you learn things and see them in a different perspective. You also will also learn to appreciate life more and realise that although it never runs out of obstacles, it is beautiful.

Over here in LadyRedot, we will make sure you are well taken off in our hands. Reach out to us at askus@ladyredot.com now!


 

mish

Mish worked as a travel expert, customer service specialist and a communications trainer in the past. After working for eight years straight since she graduated, she decided to give up her corporate job. She now focuses on her 4-year old son, works as a freelance writer and a real estate assistant. She is a sun-worshipper, a water baby, and an earth warrior. And oh, she’s tiny but she is an Olympic-level glutton. Let her bring your tummy around the globe! You can reach her at LinkedIn.

Going back to Basics – Tioman Part 1

If you are my regular follower, you are probably seething with envious that I just came back from a glorious trip to my favourite island, Tioman. This time round instead of staying at my regular hangout on the island, I decided to go for a full zero mobile technology retreat. This meaning I have no access to Internet, mobile signal and computers. I love doing this when I was in the corporate world, unplugging myself and clearing my mind full of clutter. And I just found a gem that allows me to do this because they advocate the best they can, going back to basics.  

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I have always wanted to visit Bagus Place back some 5 years ago and this time round, I finally have the chance to do so. First of all, it is the 2nd top resort on TripAdvisor. You actually can read through the positive reviews. Even as I thumbed through the negatives ones (not many), it is hardly tangible and more like from a personal perspective. Booking though their website is easy, you can either pay through credit cards or PayPal but I do wish that they would put more photos of their gorgeous rooms.

Their rooms are a tad expensive in comparison to other resorts in Tioman. This is due to their most unique selling point: they only have 10 huts (rooms) on their private part of the island. Tioman is split up between multiple ferry jetty and some of the resorts have their own space cordoned off from the rest of the island, making it exclusive and ability to crowd control. With Bagus Place’s limited 10 huts, meaning they are only able to have 30 guests at most at a time. This allows me as a guest to benefit from the peace and quiet I’m hankering from. No screaming parents, crying kids and cringe-worthy photo snapping elbowing tourists. So it’s no wonder they are pricier, you are buying the exclusivity and your peace.

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Their huts are wooden and very basic, with the necessities like hot water and air con but don’t expect more. There is no wifi, no television, no radio which suits me perfectly. The linens are clean, the air is fresh and my room comes with a fantastic enchanting view. I chose the Rock House but they bumped me up to Rawa Laut, their most secluded hut usually reserved for honeymooners during the reservation confirmation. I wanted Rock House because of the sea view and Rawa Laut gives much more, offering 280 degrees of unblocking sea view and I can see the sea in between my toes!

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There are several ways to reach Tioman and our drive was 4 hours from Kuala Lumpur to Mersing Jetty Terminal in Johor. One tip is to secure your ferry tickets online way advance because there are limited trips that the ferries will make everyday. Usually after mid noon, the ferry ceased to bring passengers to the island due to low tide. You can park at the Mersing Ferry Terminal but please allocated at least half an hour into finding a parking space. The overnight parking charges RM15 a day and it can be quite a hectic experience because there was little organising and almost every car was parked in any kind of way possible. We ended up paying a local to park at his house. Just like Airbnb but only for cars.

The ferry journey is about 45 minutes, one tip: bring snacks and your earplugs along. Tioman is a family holiday destination for a lot of Malaysians and Singaporeans. Stuck 45 minutes in a small enclosed space with screaming kids running around and making faces at you can unnerve you, no matter how much you adore children.

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As reported in many blogs that ferry ticket collection booth are disorganised and disarray. Just grab any local (or anyone who looks like a local) and asks, chances are you’ll be directed to a booth to collect your ferry ticket with further instructions to queue for passport registration. After which, you’ll be directed to another booth to purchase a Marine Park Conservation Ticket RM20(taxes to the government).

A little introduction about Tioman:
Tioman Island is actually a very small island where it has a land area of only 136km2. Gunung Kajang is the highest peak here which sets at 1,038 meters while it has less than 500 people who are mostly from the Malay and Chinese communities. The densely forested island is still sparsely inhabited. Also, it is surrounded by numerous white coral reefs, making it a haven for scuba divers from around the region. 

I shall continue my breathtaking retreat to zero technology island in my next post. Keep a lookout for it!


Writer’s Profile

Kally

Kally is a former Sales and Customer Service manager turned Writer and Founder of MiddleMe.net. She came from Singapore; lived in Shanghai and now calls Kuala Lumpur her home. After hanging up her corporate briefcase, she now pursue her passions – Writing, Traveling and of course, hunting for good food

Connect with me @ Kally@ladyredot.com