Saturday, August 22, 2009

21.1

I received an sms from Simon one morning,

Simon: "I had a really bad dream last night, I even cried."
Me: "Such a dramatic, what was the dream then?"
Simon: "I dreamt I signed up for a 21.1km half-marathon, it was horrible"
Me: "That wasn't a dream, we did sign up hehe"
Simon: "On no! How did that happen? You tricked me when I was still sleepy"

Yes we are running the 21k on December! We were supposed to do the Standard Chartered's 10k run but we found out that the start time for 10k is different for men and women. Simon(being such a baby) didn't want to run on his own, so we decided to just do the half marathon so we can run together. (or walk together hehe)

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It's ridiculous that they only have XS, S and M shirts left. Half-marathon registration is 58 dollars, they should at least give the right sizes to the people who signed up. Since Simon cannot possibly fit into an M, I'll have 2 shirts then! :)

Friday, May 08, 2009

bawal humatsing!

Siguro nadala sila sa SARS dati kaya ganito na lang ang pag-iingat nila sa swine flu. Galing ako sa mahaba-habang bakasyon mula sa Pinas at pagbalik ko sa Gapor ay orange alert na daw dito. Nung martes lang ng gabi, may klase ako pero pagdating ko sa classroom ay may inabot agad na thermometer sa kin ang katabi ko. Required daw kami na kunin ang temperature at i-report sa teacher ang resulta. May isang kaklase daw ako na may konting lagnat at ayun pinauwi na ng teacher. Di nga lang ako marunong gumamit kase digital yung thermometer, ang alam ko lang ay yung pag inipit mo sa kili-kili ay aandar yung pulang mercury. Nahiya naman ako iipit sa kili-kili ko kase naka sleeveless ako, napaka unhygienic di ba? Ayun nag-imbento na lang ako ng temperature ko, di naman napansin ng teacher. Sana daw next week ay magdala na kami ng personal naming thermometer.

Kinabukasan, nahuli ako ng gising kaya nagtaxi na lang ako papasok ng office. Pag bayad ko sabi ng driver kelangan daw ibigay nya sa kin ang resibo para kung sakaling magka swine flu sya o ako ay ma-trace ng mga kinauukulan na sumakay ako sa taxi nya. Kinagabihan dumaan kami ng driving school ni Simon dahil magpapa-schedule sana ako ng practical test. Bago kami makapasok sa center, may kumuha muna ng temperature namin(gamit ang hi tech na thermometer - tinapat lang sa noo namin) at dahil normal naman kami - binagyan kami ng maliit na sticker na nagsasabing wala kaming lagnat at nakalagay din kung anong araw kami nakuhanan ng temperature(wednesday). Yung sticker pwedeng idikit sa tshirt para di na nila ulit-ulitin kaming i-check para sa araw na yun. Kinuha rin ang IC namin at mukhang nire-record nila ang resulta.

Bilang pinoy, kakaiba talaga para sa kin ang ganitong sistema. Sabi ng Health Minister dito, mas mabuti na mag over-react sila kesa mag under-react. May punto naman sila, lalo na at buhay ng mga mamamayan at pati na rin ekonomiya ang nakataya. Ganito rin kaya ang pag-iingat na ginagawa sa ibang bansa? Kausap ko si Jao kanina at wala daw ganon sa Pinas, OA daw ang Singapore. Sumang-ayon naman ako hehe. (Jao, Safety first!)

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Binabaan na pala nila yung alert, mula orange ay yellow na lang ngayon. Siguro naman di ko kelangan magdala ng thermometer para sa klase ko next week?

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Nanood kami ng DVD ng "A very special love" ni Anet kanina. Kakauwi nga lang nya e. Sobrang naaliw kami. Napaka jologs ni Sarah Geronimo! Panalo! :)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Lost in Tokyo: Day1

Having no sleep at all during the last 24 hours, I fell asleep even before my plane took off. But then the stewardess had to wake me up.

"Hello! Low fat meal for you, miss?" the stewardess was handing me the tray.

"Ah.. No thank you," I was a bit confused, why would she give me low fat meal? Do I look fat?

"But you requested for it?" and now she's the one who looked confused.

"Sorry, but I didn't." what else can I say?

She then apologized and left me in peace. I was about to resume sleeping when she came back with a small slip of paper.

"Hello again but is this your name?" she handed me the paper. It had my name on it with a request for a low fat meal.

"Yes, it's my name. But I didn't request the low fat though," what's going on here?

"Hmmm... It's ok," she said while moving away with the meal.

"No, It's ok. I'll take it," honestly I don't care about food. I just want to sleep.

So she gave me the meal and I ate it. It was weird. It was an egg omelette with sad green leaves inside it. Why the hell did my travel agent asked low fat meal for me I don't know.

7 hours later, we landed on the Narita Airport. From here, I have to take a train ride to Tokyo. For tourists, they recommend the N'EX plus Suica card for 3500 Yen. N'EX is short for Narita Express, it's the most expensive and one of the fastest(1 hour) train ride to and from the airport. The Suica card is useful for traveling on subways and buses on Tokyo and it has a value of 2000 Yen on it. Not bad since the N'EX ticket alone is worth 3000 Yen.

my train tickets

N'EX train

I was supposed to meet Simon on the Tokyo train station but he's still stuck in a meeting so I told him I'll just meet him for dinner. Once I got out of the train, I found this row of lockers and decided to just store my backpack so I can walk around the city easily. The locker(300 Yen) was a bit small but I shoved, pushed and forced my bag so in the end it gave in.

the lockers. how did my backpack fit into that?

Trying to get out of the train station was crazy! I realized then that I shouldn't have stored my bag deep inside the station. I'm not so sure I can find it again haha! I also found lots and lots of lockers, and different sizes too. You can even store a normal-sized luggage there.

the very intimidating Tokyo subway map


more lockers! and bigger!

I followed the signs to get to the Imperial Castle, from the map it's just a short walk from the station. It was cold outside but still sunny so I was ok with my light jacket. There were women wearing kimono dresses but most of the people were wearing office attire - the men were even wearing suits. Some people were even surgical wearing masks, I later found out it's because they're allergic to the pollens during springtime.

a guy wearing a surgical mask (in the middle)

a government building (i think)

I can't believe my luck! I found this street lined with sakura. Most of the cherry blossoms have fallen by now but the blossoms on this street seemed to be late bloomers. Yahoo! I saw some people having picnics under the blossoms, I sat under one big tree with lots of blossoms to rest.

sakura near the Imperial Castle

some people having a picnic under the blossoms

more buildings

water fountains in the Imperial Castle gardens

dusk near the Imperial Castle

waiting for Simon under the Sakura

Tired of walking and a bit cold(wish I had my thick jacket with me but it's in the train station's locker), I just sat on the park waiting for Simon. Ages later, he finally was able to sneak out, first thing we did was go to the train station to get my bag. I thought I found the nearest entrance where I stored my bag but I had to enter using a train card. I convinced the guard through sign language that I just wanted to get my bag from the locker and he let me in!

me about to convince the guard to let me in so I can get my backpack from the locker

Simon carrying my bag

We were starving after that so we looked for somewhere to eat, we found this warm and cozy-looking Ramen restaurant. They served us yummy ramen, gyoza and Sapporo beer. The best beer I had in a while, maybe I was just so tired or I was so cold but I loved it! Simon enjoyed the beer as well, the poor guy hasn't been drinking because of work.

kampai! (cheers!)

Simon had to work after our dinner so he gave me his keys and directions on how to find his apartment. His place(Roponggi) wasn't that far and I got there quite easily. From his balcony, I saw some small square stones jutting from the ground, I later found out it was a graveyard. Cool!

Friday, April 10, 2009

I'm not sure if I should still sleep. It's already 2:30am and I just got home from work. If I sleep, I will probably miss my 7:10am flight. And anyway I haven't packed my stuff yet so I should better do it now.

Or maybe I should finish watching the Astroboy DVD I got from the library the other day. I went to the nearby library to borrow some Japan travel guide books when I saw this Astroboy DVD(first 5 episodes) and grabbed it from the rack. Definitely one of my favorite cartoons(anime?) of all time! I also felt like reading a chic lit so I borrowed the Wonder Spot by Melissa Banks. She wrote the Girl's guide to hunting and fishing book and I enjoyed it a lot so I thought I want to read more of her work. Once I got home, I read its summary and it felt a bit familiar. I read the first page and then it hit me - I've already read this book ! In fact I bought a copy of it just a few months ago. Which was kinda sad because that's how forgettable this book is, I guess it was well written enough but it didn't leave any impact on me at all.

Anyway, I think I'll just watch the Astroboy while I'm packing. Maybe I'll see Astroboy tomorrow while waiting for a train in Tokyo. :)

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

wait for me sakura!

I think I did it. I went to the Japan Embassy today and they gave me a visa!

I emailed my boss to give me Monday off(offset for some work I will be doing tomorrow night) but I didn't get any reply. I assumed his silence meant yes so I booked my flight. I'm to fly Friday morning and return Monday night! Not a lot of time to see Tokyo but I'll just try to see and taste and hear and smell and experience as much as I can. :)

I had to pay my plane ticket in cash though so now my budget for the trip is gone (the ticket was 1/3 cheaper compared to other travel agencies or internet booking). I just have to not spend anything or force Simon to pay for everything haha!

My real concern now is the sakura(cherry blossoms). Yesterday, Simon sent me this picture:

A street lined with Sakuras somewhere in Tokyo. Wow!

The cherry blossoms are still plenty but today this is the picture I got from him:

oh no! the flowers are starting to fall!

A picture of people having their picnics under the Sakuras, I want to have a picnic under the blossoms too!

And what about this one? I want to have dinner here as well! (i hope it will be cheap)

Restaurants next to the train, under the train railway somewhere in Ginza

I know. It's I want this, I want that. I can't help it. I think I will find it hard to sleep tonight with all this excitement.

Monday, April 06, 2009

I might just pull this off. I woke up quite early than usual this morning and went straight to the Japan Embassy in Nassim Road. Within 5 short minutes, I was able to submit all my visa requirements and receive my acknowledgement slip. I can collect the visa this wednesday! Yeba! That is if they will grant me one. :)

Their requirements were:
1. Original Passport
2. Completed Visa Form plus a passport-size photo
3. Photocopy of IC (No need to provide bank statements if you are a Singapore PR which suits me just fine because I don't have much to show. Okay, nothing to show then. But I think I have enough budget for the trip hehe)
4. Certificate of Employment
5. Flight Itinerary - got it in Lucky Plaza for 10sgd, if I get my visa I can buy the plane ticket from them (minus the 10 dollars) or I can just book online.

I was talking to Simon earlier today and he said the cherry blossoms are still in bloom! Maybe I can still see them?

Tokyo here I come!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

simon's got a job!

Yehey, he's not jobless anymore! He'll be in Tokyo later today, and I'm seriously thinking of swinging by to try some good old authentic sushi haha. Will my boss let me off for a few days??? That is the question. It's only April but I already used up all of my 14 days annual leave. Haay.


the "Thanksgiving" dinner

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

bigo!

Kumain naman ako ng saging, pampaalis daw kase ng nerbyos yun. Sinuot ko pa ang paborito kong tshirt, maong, medyas, pati nga bra at panty ay pinili ko yung pinaka komportable. Sinunod ko rin ang payo ng instructor ko na kumain ng mentos habang nasa exam pang-alis rin daw ng kaba.

Pero 5 minuto pa lang yata mula ng paandarin ko ang kotse, nabangga agad ng gulong ko yung kanto ng isang S-curve. Makitid kase ang course na ito pero sa dinami-dami ng driving lessons na nakuha ko(36 driving lessons! 1 driving lesson = 100 minutes), ay di ko nabangga ito - ngayon lang kung kelan exam ko pa. Pagkatapos nito ay lalong nagkaloko-loko na, sumunod ko namang nabangga ang kerb habang nagve-vertical parking. Ewan ko ba, di ko nga alam kung pano ko natapos yung 45 minutes na exam. Dinala ako nung LTA officer sa isang opisina at doon sinabi nya sa kin na bumagsak ako sa exam. Ang passing grade ay 19 demerit points, awa ng dyos binigyan nya ko ng 30 points. Haay. Hinihintay pa naman ako ni Simon sa labas ng school, dun ko pinakita sa kanya ang aking Test Report. Haha.

Eto yung Test Report ko galing sa Traffic Police:

Dear Madam

We refer to your performance during the driving test and regret to inform you that you did not perform well to be granted a qualified driving license. We will urge you to improve on the mistakes listed below and prepare yourself for the next test.
Please do not be disheartened and do learn from the mistakes during the test. With sufficient training, we are confident that you will perform well in your next test. Asus!

Mistakes during the test:

Srike Kerb Narrow Course(S Course) 10 points
Strike Kerb Vertical Parking 6 points
Speed too slow for the road 14 points
Insufficient acceleration
Delay in moving off


Hmm.. Kailangan ko ulit magpa book ng practical exam(150 sgd!) pero ang susunod na schedule ng exam ay April 29 daw. Nasa pinas kaya ako ng petsa na yan, at syempre di ko ipagpapalit ang bakasyon sa pinas kesa sa lintek na driving exam(bitter hehe).

A Bookstore Encounter

Cast:

Lala
Mr. Borders (Let's just call him that since I met him in Borders bookstore in East Coast)

It is friday afternoon and Lala is in a bookstore when she should be in the office working. She had a bad case of dysmenorrhea that morning and she decided to take the day off. Her work requires her to get a Medical Certificate from a doctor so that's where she's been before she decided to get herself a book.

Lala can be seen standing in the travel literature aisle, reading the back cover of a book. She is deciding whether it's a good read or not when she notices a man about to have a look at the shelf where she is at but then changed his mind. She pays him no mind then and started reading the first page of the book when she sees the same guy again. The man starts walking in her direction but suddenly retreats. She moves a bit because she might be blocking some books the man was trying to see, he approaches her for the third time:

Mr. Borders: Hello! Do you speak english? (smiling)

Lala: Yes, I do. Um.. Why? (a bit puzzled, thinking Mr. Borders will ask her help for a book title or something)

Mr. Borders: I was wondering if you will have lunch with me?

Lala: Huh?! Aah.. Why?

Mr. Borders: You see I haven't had lunch yet and we can talk over lunch?

Lala: I already had lunch. (the truth is she's hungry and planning to get her lunch soon but its just a white lie)

Mr. Borders: Oh.. (looks disappointed and then brightens up again) Maybe you can still accompany me for lunch? That is if you're not doing anything?

Lala: Im just getting this book and then I'm on my way to the doctor. (another lie but then she decides might as well go to the ob-gyne that the previous doctor recommended)

Mr. Borders(looks really concerned): Oh no. What is wrong?

Lala: Aah.. (can't think of one more lie since she's not really good at lying) It's dysmenorrhea. (and then she touches her tummy)

Mr. Borders(relieved): Ah. Yes that is quite common.

Lala: (smiles a very plastic smile)

Mr. Borders: I'm Mr. Borders, and you are? (offers his hand)

Lala: Lala

Mr. Borders: Nice to meet you. Do you do sports?

Lala: Yes. (thinking where this conversation is leading to. maybe he's a sports agent?)

Mr. Borders: Like?

Lala: Cycling?

Mr. Borders: Oh that's great! I cycle also. In fact, I have two bicycles. I cycle around here in east coast park sometimes. I also play tennis, badminton, etc. You are from which country?

Lala: I'm from the Philippines. And you?

Mr. Borders: Brazil.

Lala(decides she'll just get the book and leave now): A ok. Well, maybe I'll see you around in the bike route in East Coast. Bye!

Mr. Borders: Yes! Can I have your number? (getting his phone out of his pocket)

Lala(realizes she shouldn't have said that bit about seeing him again because it's just a lie): Ah. Why?

Mr. Borders: So maybe I can join you biking?

Lala(decides she needs to get out of here soon) Its 90******.

Mr. Border saves her number and even tried ringing it. It did ring.

Mr. Borders(smiling): Well, it was nice meeting you Lala. I hope the result from the doctor will be ok.

Lala: Thanks Mr. Borders. Bye!

Mr. Borders leaves and Lala bangs her head over and over again in the bookshelf.

-----

Lala went to the clinic but it was already closed. She had lunch all by herself and thought to herself, maybe she should call Mr. Borders? Nah! Haha.

Mr. Borders did try to text her later that night and ask about the checkup's result but she decided she'll just ignore it. He didn't text anymore after that. (Yehey! Thanks Mr. Borders)

A month later she cannot finish the book she bought in Borders. She decided to just give up on it and read a more interesting book.

Friday, February 20, 2009

day 3 in batanes: cycling around batan island

The intention was to have 4 days and 4 nights in Batanes. Annoyingly though, on the day before we flew Seair cancelled our flight due to "technical problems", and then bumped us all on what should have been our 2nd day of the trip.

Not a good start really, but we just tried to make do with the time we had, and we did have 2 marvelous days on Sabtang Island. For our third day, our goal was to cycle around Batan, so we hired a guide to make sure we wouldn't get lost around the island. We met our guide, Mang Roger, at our resort where he helped us rent 6 bikes and agreed to cycle with us.

He had no problems getting us girls our bikes (vintage-looking bikes from China with only one speed), but he said Simon needed a mountain bike because he's such a big guy. After getting a bike without brakes, then a mountain bike that was so small it looked like a bmx, Mang Roger finally found a bike for the big guy, but by then it was already 10 o'clock when we finally started.

I thought Batan could not compete with Sabtang's beauty but I soon found out how wrong I was. Batan was lovely, we passed by coastal towns made up of thatched stonehouses and old white stone churches. We stopped several times to take photos of very green rolling hills next to the shore with grazing horses, goats and cows. Simon told us that Batanes looked a lot like the moors in England - the grasslands and even the thatched houses.

It was a 37 km bike ride from Basco through, Mahatao – Ivana – Uyugan – Song song – Itbud – Imnajbu and all the way back to Mahatao - Basco, it took us 9 hours to cycle all way round.


Stunning view in Mahatao


Jeepney ahead


Our bike trail hehe


Inside a church in Mahatao. The unique roof was made up of reeds(?) according to Mang Roger


Thatched stonehouses in Ivana


Ivana church


The famous Honesty Coffee Shop. Simon got himself a miniature stonehouse for 125 pesos. He just wrote down on a notebook what he bought, and dropped the money on a box.


Uyugan town


Anet, Jao, Sym, Simon and grazing horses in Uyugan


Ruins of Song-song. The village was hit by a tsunami a few decades ago, and the locals did not return to live here again


The "gate" after Itbud town


It was almost dark when we arrived in Marlboro country. It was breathtakingly beautiful and we wished we could have had more time to explore it


The next day, our flight was delayed for a few hours and from the airport we walked(for maybe 15 minutes) to see the Basco lighthouse


It rained for a few minutes and a rainbow appeared to say goodbye to us. What a way to end our trip :)

Notes:
Van rental from San Vicente pier to Batanes Seaside Lodge - P200

Bike rental - P250 per day

Guide fee - P600

A room in Batanes Seaside Lodge - P1300 for an airconditioned room with attached bathroom. we had Tapsilog(P100) for breakfast and we liked it.

Lunch in Ivana - P35 per order. The best meal we had in Batanes, they served us Nilagang Baka(Beef soup with vegetables) and Lechon baboy(roasted suckling pig).

DENR fee for taking with us Arius plants(provincial plant of Batanes). Thanks to Mang Roger for giving us these plants. - P65

More Batan Island photos here

Friday, February 06, 2009

day 2 in batanes: walking around basco



"It looks just like any other province in the Philippines." I observe while we were walking around the town center of Basco.

We just arrived in the provincial capital of Batanes after spending two delightful days in the remote island of Sabtang. Aah beautiful Sabtang, where most of the houses were still made of stone and thatch, where the locals mostly walk or cycle from one town to the next(we only saw 4 vehicles while we were there), and where only one cafeteria(you have to book in advance) exists in the entire island. We didn't encounter any tourists during our stay except for a father-and-son team, both wearing their military uniform, who were camping in the mountains. How isolated can you get, right? The place we stayed in was not even a proper guesthouse, they just converted 3 classrooms in the School of Fisheries into dormitory rooms.

So far, Batan Island(where Basco is) doesn't look as promising as its neighbor Sabtang. But then I notice how the streets that are lined with the provincial tree aryus are decorated with recycled mineral water bottles, air fresheners, and deodorants to serve as christmas decorations. And how clean the streets are, and how everybody seems to know everyone else. We have been roaming around the town to get some food but most of the restaurants and market stalls are closed. We are definitely still in Batanes. We even saw a cow slaughter schedule posted near the market.

"What about that Shanedel's Inn and Cafe?" Jao suggests. We find the innkeeper in the bar but she is hesitant to serve us dinner because we did not book in advance and it is now just 2 hours away from dinnertime. She says she still has to go to the market so she can cook something for us.


coffee break at Shanedel's Inn

Two hours later, we are eating a feast that can feed a dozen people. And the food is good as well. There is a lot of leftover and we joke about making sure we do not eat here again the following morning. We had a game back in sabtang where we try to guess how the cafeteria will recycle our leftovers into another dish - like steamed fish for dinner will become fish nuggets for breakfast. Not that we had any complaints, we actually felt like we were part of the family - they were generous to share to us whatever they have.

Before heading back to our inn, we hang out at a nearby sari-sari store where they sell San Mig Light for 20 pesos. There i bump into a young man i met during our first day in Batanes - we barely left the Basco Airport when i stepped on a dog's poo and this fellow let me use his bathroom to clean up. I say hello and we chat for a bit. I tell him the name of our guesthouse and offer him my beer. He is also drinking with his buddies in front of the gasoline station where I washed my foot before, I think his family owns the place. I say goodbye for now and hope to see his friendly face again, which is very possible since the town is not that big anyway.


locals hanging out/fishing next to the giant jackstones at the Basco pier (our view from Shanedel's)

Sunday, February 01, 2009

a night with ski



Anet just moved in to my neighborhood here in the East Coast part of Singapore and to welcome her, I've invited her for some late night cycling in East Coast Park followed by a nightcap. Well first, she wanted to get some stuff for her room like shower curtain and rugs so I gave her a tour to the nearby Parkway Parade where we shopped and dined for a while. I thought I'd do my own shopping as well so I bought a bunch of happy happy yellow daisies and something that I've always wanted but couldn't be bothered to buy - a bike basket. A basket doesn't really go well with my mountain bike but I like it! Now I can bring my SLR while cycling or even bring some food or books and just dump 'em in my basket.

We started cycling around 11pm and the park was still alive with runners, skaters and campers. I showed her the route up to the Safra golf course and then we headed to my place for the promised nightcap. It was quite romantic, we lighted some candles, placed my daisies in an old wine bottle while we drank our white wine and talk about the past, now and our plans. It was sad talking about the present economy and how many of our friends lost their jobs because of it. We've decided not to plan so far ahead and just think about tomorrow where we agreed to see our friend Joey and his family.

***
She went home after we finished our wine. I got a text from her a bit later though that she forgot her wallet with me. See you tomorrow then, my friend. :)

***
Before, my friday nights were usually spent with Anet and Cath. Cath moved to windy Chicago last month though. We surely miss you girl!

Monday, January 12, 2009

sabtang island, batanes: day 2

lets just stay some or most of us didnt bother to shower the previous night. we were tired and it was cold and there was no running water in our bathroom, just a big drum filled with freezing water.

i slept like a log. what woke us up the next morning was the insistent church bells ringing and gospel music being played from a loud speaker. that sunday happened to be the three king's day and everyone on the island will flock to the san vicente parish. it was a big festival, and it was the reason why there was a big possibility that we cannot leave the island that day - no boats were scheduled to leave the island because of the "niƱo".


they were very comfy blankets. and colorful too


coffee first thing in the morning while walking around the town

ivatan kid


view from the hill


this time, to save time we hired a multicab to take us back to chavayan and see some places we've missed yesterday.


like this grassland just before chavayan...


sym


simon and jac having a rest


simon, anet, jac, sym and jao


vakul girls. there was this house in chavayan that makes vakul - the traditional headgear being used by the women to protect them from heat and rain. i was wearing the vakul version for men.


jao still wearing the vakul while taking our pictures


me with my vakul


sym and jac talking to an old woman in chavayan


they let us enter an ivatan stonehouse to take some pictures


simon and me


stunning chavayan church next to the mountain and the shore. wow!


stonehouses in chavayan


rock formation next to the beach that looks like an arch


sabtang lighthouse

while having our lunch, we got the good news that a crew of boatmen finally agreed to take us back to the batan island. dios mamajes sabtang!

notes:
multicab hire - P1500
boat hire to batan island - P1500
meals (lunch, dinner, breakfast, lunch) - P700 per person
1 night lodging - P150 per person
dot registration - P100 per person

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