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Baler Travel Blog Guide Itinerary Budget

Baler is the birthplace of surfing in the Philippines. Once a laid-back coastal town on the eastern side of Central Luzon in the Philippines, surfing since pinned it on the tourist map, bringing in tourists, quirky restaurants, and posh hotels on its shore. Besides surfing, this small town in the Province of Aurora also boasts of a few historic sites—being the birthplace of Manuel L. Quezon—a spread of beaches, interesting rock formations, waterfalls and lighthouses.

While the town of Baler is but a small spot in the whole of Aurora, it has since become the starting point and base of operations for touring the region. From here, visitors can check the nearby municipalities of Maria Aurora, Dipaculao, and San Luis, up to the farther reaches of Dingalan, Dinalungan, Casiguran, and Dilasag. For the purpose of this travel guide, I would be limiting the scope to those areas readily accessible from Baler.

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Free The Sea Movement 2 Baler

The waves weren’t as strong as I remember it to be, yet there were still a few bodies paddling across the darkening waters of Baler, hoping to catch one last swell before calling it a day. On the horizon, the silhouette of the Sierra Made mountain range was capped in wispy clouds, and above, a hue of pink glowed across an overcast twilight. Us, we were happy just to be here, sprawled on the sand, with spicy chips on one hand and bottles of beer on another.

Free The Sea Movement 2 Baler
BACK IN BALER AFTER FOUR  YEARS

It was my third time to visit Baler in Aurora Province; the first time was with office friends, the second, a tour. This latest one has a much more meaningful purpose—we were here to do a coastal clean-up of Baler’s famous surfing spot, Sabang Beach.

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Friday, October 13, 2017

Seda Vertis North Quezon City

It was two in the morning and the lobby was completely deserted. Time, indeed, flies when you’re having fun. Just a couple of hours ago, we were at the highest rooftop bar in the city, enjoying cold drinks and swapping travel stories on one corner of Seda Vertis North’s open-aired roof deck. And now, I’m totally woozy and needing a bit of a breather before going back to my room—it was already way, way past midnight. Not really the best time to be going home, especially when you’re on a staycation with your mom.

Seda Vertis North Quezon City
AFTERNOON VIEW OF QUEZON CITY FROM SEDA VERTIS NORTH

Seda Vertis North is one of the newest hotels that have sprouted in Quezon City. While most of the luxury accommodations in the city are located on the Timog part of town, this one’s situated somewhere easier to access, right beside the Trinoma Mall where the MRT North Station is. It can’t get any easier than that.

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Saturday, October 7, 2017

Susie's Cuisine Pampanga Pancit Luglug

In between visiting the giant lantern makers of San Fernando City, we also went to numerous restaurants where we lunched, snacked, and snacked some more. And yes, we do have an excuse for our food binge—Pampanga’s title of being the Culinary Capital of the Philippines. We’re uncovering the province’s little gems, one plate (or two) at a time.

Susie's Cuisine Pampanga
SUSIE’S CUISINE’S AIRCONDITIONED INTERIORS

One of the interesting places we visited was Susie’s Cuisine in San Fernando. Located at an air-conditioned building along MacArthur highway, you wouldn’t really think much of it. At first glance, it looks like any ordinary restaurant, that is until servings of their famous pancit luglug and tibok-tibok were plunked right in front of us.

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Thursday, October 5, 2017

Hoi An Temples & Museums

While temples and museums are alright with us, visiting a slew of them in one go is simply too much. We’ve had our fair share of temple runs in Siem Reap, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Ayutthaya, Penang, and Yogyakarta, and we always felt, well, ran out, afterwards. It was too much of a sensory overload. This time, we’re having it at, of all places, Vietnam. I’d never thought there’d be that many temples (and museums) in a single area on a socialist country like Vietnam.

Hoi An Temples & Museums
INSIDE ONE OF THE MANY MUSEUMS IN HOI AN

We never really signed up for this, it was totally forced on us. While entering the Hoi An Ancient Town, we were stopped by a guard and was asked to buy a ticket containing five entrance stubs to any temples, museums, or workshops we would like to go for VND120,000.00 (USD5.30 | PHP270.00). They didn’t tell us we don’t really need this to enter old town. And should they have, we would have entirely forgone this part of our Hoi An tour.

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Hoi An Ladies Eating

There are two things that the Ancient Town of Hoi An are proud of. The first is its inimitable history and heritage, the second is food. Lots of it. Hoi An, being a sort of melting pot after its history of being a trading post during the 16th century has amassed an arsenal of diverse food choices that can make your head spin, and your tummies, absolutely happy.

Hoi An Sidewalk Food Vendor
A TYPICAL SIT DOWN FOOD AFFAIR AT HOI AN

Hoi An is well known for three dishes, cao lau noodles, white rose dumplings, and banh xeo. But more than these, there are still a plethora of things you can eat while in town—be it on fancy riverside restaurants or street vendors from the sidewalk.

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Friday, September 29, 2017

Hoi An Ancient Town Vietnam

It was all yellow. It was early morning (too early for us, in fact) when we revisited Hoi An’s Ancient Town. The area was devoid of people, the shops lining its narrow streets, still closed. We were left wandering alone along its silent colonial houses, each one of them painted in wonderful bright yellows.

Hoi An Ancient Town Vietnam
GOING TO HOI AN ANCIENT TOWN

Our first visit to Old Town Hoi An was less than twenty four hours ago. And we hated it.

Walking all the way from Kiman Hotel, located on the outskirts of the old district, passing food stalls hawking cao lao noodles and numerous tailor shops—apparently Hoi An is the go to place if you want something tailor made, that goes for both shoes and snazzy dresses—we arrived at what seemed to be a checkpoint for tourist along one of its sidestreets.

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Hoi An Floating Paper Lanterns

Sitting on the concrete banks of Hoi An’s Thu Bon River, we watched, transfixed, as playfully cut paper lanterns floated on its dark waters. In silence, we chugged on our not-so-cold Larue Beer, letting the colorful lights bob in front of us. Across the river, a Filipino singer started to belt out an Adele song, bringing us back from our reverie. We have no beer left. Time to go back to our hotel.

Nha Trang Tran Phu Beach
A QUICK VISIT TO TRAN PHU BEACH IN NHA TRANG EN ROUTE TO HOI AN FROM MUI NE

It took nineteen hours of butt-numbing bus ride for us to arrive from the sleepy resort town of Mui Ne to historic Hoi An. In between these, we stopped on the busy cosmopolitan streets of Nha Trang for an hour of transferring to another bus including a quick dinner, and then it was the road again.

Vietnam Nha Trang Bo Ne Meal
BO NE DINNER AT NHA TRANG

We left Mui Ne at around noon and arrived at Hoi An early morning the next day. We were dead tired but our hotel was still ten minutes away by foot from the Sinh Tourist office where we booked our Vietnam Open Bus ticket. Hauling our backpacks and using our Maps app, we finally found our home in Hoi An, Kiman Hotel & Spa.

Kiman Hotel Hoi An Lobby
KIMAN HOTEL’S LOBBY, WE’RE IN HOI AN, AT LAST!

Kiman’s lobby is expansive; filled with heavy and lavish furniture, shiny wooden paneling, and decors ranging from small expensive-looking sculptures to a full-blown bronze mural depicting the town’s historical center.

Kiman Hotel Hoi An Restaurant
BREAKFAST BUFFET AT THE HOTEL RESTAURANT AT THE GROUND FLOOR

Kiman Hotel Hoi An Breakfast Noodle
YOU MAY ASK THEM TO MAKE A BOWL OF NOODLES FOR YOU

Check in was quick enough, and as soon as we dropped our bags, we proceeded to the buffet spread back on the ground floor for breakfast, we haven’t had anything to eat since six the previous night.

And then it was back to the bed for us, snoozing our hearts out on our room’s very comfy king bed until late that afternoon.

Kiman Hotel Hoi An Triple Deluxe Room
TRIPLE DELUXE ROOM AT THE FIFTH FLOOR

We were billeted on the hotel’s Triple Deluxe Room [CHECK DISCOUNTED RATES & AVAILABILITY]. It is quite spacious for two persons and it’s actually good enough for three—seeing that there’s an extra single bed right beside the king-sized one. The headboard side of the room is finished in varnished wooden panels decorated with a couple of black and white photographs of Hoi An’s glory days, a good complement for its plain white walls.

Kiman Hotel Hoi An Toilet & Bath
SPACIOUS TOILET AND BATH

I liked how our room was furnished with unpainted wooden chairs, tables and cabinets, it has a very natural feel to it. I especially love the two padded chairs sandwiching a coffee table right in front of the bed; quite perfect for morning tea. But we really didn’t use it for such since we have our very own balcony looking over the red-tiled roofs of the town.

Kiman Hotel Hoi An View
VIEW FROM OUR BALCONY

Kiman Hotel is located about ten minutes away by foot from Ancient Town of Hoi An, but since our hotel has free bicycles for guests, it took half the time to get there.

Hoi An Tailoring
TAILORS ABOUND IN HOI AN

Hoi An Food
CHECKING OUT THE STREET FOOD SCENE

On our first outing to the area’s historical core, we took the long way by foot, wanting to have a feel of the town before whizzing through it on a bicycle. We dropped by local eateries, trying out their version of my favorite cha gio (fried pork spring rolls), which in here, they call nem ran, along with Hoi An’s specialty, cao lau—a noodle dish with pork and shredded leafy veggies. Quite tasty.

Hoi An Ancient Town Tourists
HOI AN’S ANCIENT TOWN DURING THE AFTERNOONS—FULL OF TOURISTS

And then it was the old town for us. Wandering along its narrow streets, checking out the museums, walking along the riverside, and trying out the local flavor.

Hoi An Ancient Town Yellow House
DETAIL OF A TYPICAL HOUSE AT THE OLD TOWN

Hoi An Ancient Town Tea Vendor
MORNING TEA BY THE SIDEWALK AT THE HISTORIC CENTER

Hoi An’s Ancient Town is far too crowded during the afternoons, so we went back early the next day, this time using Kiman’s bikes. And our early morning jaunt was so worth it. The town transforms to how it must’ve looked before, there were hardly anyone around while the shops were still all closed.

Kiman Hotel Hoi An Breakfast Buffet
BUFFET BREAKFAST AT KIMAN, THEY HAVE NEM RAN AND UNLIMITED LAUGHING COW!

We actually went before breakfast and biked back to our hotel as the streets began to fill with people. Again, we ate our hearts off with the in-house restaurants choice of Vietnamese and International dishes. I like how varied their local offerings are and they even have my dear cha gio! I mean, nem ram, lol. Their staff were not only beautiful, but extremely helpful, explaining to us non-Vietnamese peeps what exactly we were putting on our plates.

Kiman Hotel Hoi An Swimming Pool
THE SWIMMING POOL, WHICH WE DIDN’T GET TO USE

On our last day, we were torn on simply swimming at the pool or biking several kilometers to the nearby An Bang Beach. Yes, we heard they have a couple of beaches near the hotel. And we simply cannot pass the opportunity on seeing and swimming on it. Anyways, we were told to just head straight along the road across our hotel until we meet the sea. And that we did. The ride was easy enough if not for the huge buses and trucks that we have to share the road with.

Hoi An An Bang Beach
STORMY AN BANG BEACH

Hoi An An Bang Beach
BASKET BOATS ALONG THE SHORE

And after what seemed like an eternity of contending with rumbling eight-wheeler vehicles, the sea finally welcomed us. It was an overcast day and the waves were quite strong. It really wasn’t the welcome we were hoping for, but well, at least we got to see the beach.

~ KIMAN HOTEL HOSTED OUR STAY IN HOI AN. VIEWS AND OPINIONS, ALL MINE.

 

Kiman Hotel & Spa Hoi An
Address: 461-463 Hai Ba Trung, Hoi An, Quang Nam
Contact Number: (84-235) 3920 430
Email: sales@kimanhoianhotel.com
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
GPS Coordinates Map: 15.887667, 108.328030

►► CLICK HERE FOR DISCOUNTED ROOM RATES
►► BOOK ONLINE FOR TOURS IN HOI AN

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Monday, September 25, 2017