Visa-free and Visa-on-Arrival Countries for Filipinos

I am going on a 10 day trek in Nepal this October and I learned that visa for Nepal can be obtained upon arrival at Kathmandu.   Sharing with you the list of countries with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access for Philippine passport holders.   Please click on the link to provide you with visa-free or visa-on-arrival details of each country.

Visa requirements may change so please, please double check immigration rules of the country you are planning to visit.   For countries where visa is issued upon arrival,  please check the required documents plus fees prior to visit.

ASIA:
Brunei - Not Required for stay up to 14 days
Cambodia - Not Required for stay up to 21 days
Hong Kong - Not Required for stay up to 14 days
Indonesia - Visa issued upon arrival up to 30 days
Israel - Not Required for stay up to 90 days
Macau - Not Required for stay up to 30 days
Malaysia - Not Required for stay up to 30 days
Maldives - Visa issued upon arrival up to 90 days
Nepal - Visa issued upon arrival for $30 to $90 up to 150 days
Palestine - Not Required for undefined number of days
Singapore - Not Required for stay up to 30 days
Sri Lanka - Visa issued upon arrival up to 30 days
Thailand - Not Required for stay up to 30 days
Vietnam - Not Required for stay up to 21 days

NORTH, SOUTH AND CENTRAL AMERICA:
Brazil - Not Required for stay up to 90 days
Bolivia - Not Required for stay up to 59 days
Colombia - Not Required for stay up to 180 days
Costa Rica - Not Required for stay up to 30 days

El Salvador - Visa issued if holding a valid Canadian, US or Schengen visa
Ecuador - Not Required for stay up to 90 days
Grenada - Visa issued upon arrival
Haiti - Not Required for stay up to 90 days

Honduras - Visa issued if holding a valid Canadian, US or Schengen visa
Mexico - 180 days if holding a valid visa for the US or proof of permanent residence in Canada, Montserrat - Not Required for stay up to 90 days

Panama - Visa required, except for Holders of a valid visa for Australia, Canada, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, USA or a EU Member State
Peru - Not Required for stay up to 90 days
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines - Not Required for stay up to 30 days
Suriname - Not Required for stay up to 90 days

AFRICA:
Burundi - Visa issued upon arrival for US$90

Cape Verde - Visa can be issued upon arrival
Central African Republic - Not Required for stay up to 7 days
Comoros - Visa issued upon arrival
Djibouti - Visa issued upon arrival up to 1 month for DJF 10,0000
Eritrea - Not Required for stay up to 30 days
Ethiopia - Visa issued upon arrival
Madagascar - Visa issued upon arrival up to 90 days
Mauritius - Visa issued upon arrival up to 90 days
Morocco - Not Required for stay up to 60 days
Seychelles - Not Required for stay up to 30 days
Somalia - Not Required for stay up to 21 days
Togo - Visa issued upon arrival up to 10 days at Lome airport

PACIFIC ISLANDS:
Cook Islands - Not Required for stay up to 31 days
Fiji - Not Required for stay up to 120 days
Micronesia - Not Required for stay up to 30 days
Nauru - Visa issued upon arrival
Nieu - Not Required for stay up to 30 days
Pitcairn Islands - Not Required for stay up to 14 days
Samoa - Not Required for stay up to 60 days
Tuvalu - Visa issued upon arrival up to 30 days
Vanuatu - Not Required for stay up to 30 days

EUROPE:
Andorra - Not Required but only accessible via Spain or France that require visa.
Azerbaijan - Visa issued upon arrival up to 30 days
Kosovo - Not Required for stay up to 90 days
Liechtenstein - Not Required for stay up to 90 days
San Marino - Not Required for stay up to 21 days

CARRIBBEAN:

Dominican Republic – 30 days visa/tourist card issued upon arrival for USD 10 if holding a valid visa for Canada, the US, or Schengen countries

Grenada – Visa issued upon arrival for USD 40 – provided holding an Authority for Travel issued by the Immigration Department

Haiti – Not Required for stay up to 90 days

Montserrat– Not Required for stay up to 90 days

Trinidad and Tobago – upon arrival, a “Waiver of the Visa” will be granted for TTD 400 provided holding a copy of prior approval from ImmigrationTurks and Caicos Islands – 30 days

Disclaimer:  Visa requirements may change so please, please double check immigration rules of the country you are planning to visit.   For countries where visa is issued upon arrival,  please check the required documents plus fees prior to visit.  TheGoMom shall not be held responsible for any untoward incidents to your travel.

Travel Happy!

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8-Day Backpack Tour of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka: Day 2 – Tokyo

a shinkansenWe took a leisurely breakfast in Namba and purchased our one way Shinkansen (bullet train) ticket to Tokyo at the JR office there.  I made a major mistake and should have bought a JR pass instead:(  The JR pass would have allowed us to use unlimited JR trains for 5 days for only Y22,000/person.  Compare that to the one way fare we paid of Y 13,240/person.  JR, Japan Railway Group, has a very extensive network of trains and buses all over Japan.  When planning your Osaka-Tokyo-Osaka trip go to Hyperdia and un-click Nozomi because the JR pass does not cover Nozomi Shinkansens.  Click this to know more about the JR pass.

MUST SEE PLACES:

HARAJUKU.  An area where Japanese teenagers hang around dressed up in cosplay (costume play). If you want to buy a costume or try some edgy, fashion forward clothes explore Takeshita Dori nearby. Buy Japan's famous crepe along the way. They say best time to visit is on a Sunday afternoon. Read more about Harajuku.

Harajuku

Then hop on the train  to visit SHIBUYA (one stop away).  It is a shopping and entertainment area.  Try to be at the large intersection of Shibuya in front of the station's Hachiko Exit shortly after office hours. You will be amazed at the sheer number of pedestrians crossing and the brightly lit neon advertisements scattered all over.  It's like Times Square in New York!  Read more about Shibuya.

Hachiko Exit in Shibuya Station

CAN SKIP PLACES: I think you can skip the TOKYO TOWER, it ain't no Eiffel tower.  Though it is said to be 10 meters taller than its model Eiffel Tower, I found it ordinary.  The parks UENO and YOYOGI PARK are just simple parks for locals to visit.  IMPERIAL PALACE is a park area surrounded by a moat and massive stone walls.  Apart from the moat you see on the outside there is just a big grass park inside.

Upper left is Imperial Palace, Upper right is Tokyo Tower, Lower Left is Yoyogi Park,  Lower right is Cherry Blossoms inside Imperial Palace

Upper left is Imperial Palace, Upper right is Tokyo Tower, Lower Left is Yoyogi Park, Lower right is Cherry Blossoms inside Imperial Palace

WHERE TO STAY:  In Tokyo or anywhere else in Japan,  proximity to the station is key.  You should be looking at hotels that are less than 0.5 km away from the station.  We stayed at Hotel Sun Members located at the back of Washington Hotel which according to Agoda has a 0.7km distance from Shinjuku - it took us 20 minutes to walk to the hotel! (Note:  I was traveling with kids and 2 senior citizens)

Also coordinate with the hotel in advance which exit to take.  There are 200 exits in Shinjuku station!  Ask them to e-mail you a walking map.  It is such a challenge finding the hotel!  But then again that's part of the experience:-)

WHERE TO EAT:   There are hundreds of restaurants to choose from and  all are delicious.  Even the restos in the train station where you order from a vending machine is yummy.   But for some fine dining, try Gonpachi Restaurant in Nishi Azabu.  It inspired the set of the iconic Kill Bill movie of Quentin Tarantino and has drawn Hollywood celebrities visiting Tokyo. I find the food average but the ambiance compensates for it.  Expect to spend minimum of $50 per person.  Reservations are recommended.

Image from themarkeworld.com.  I wasn't able to take decent pics:(

Image from themarkeworld.com. I wasn't able to take decent pics:(

WHERE TO SHOP: GINZA and OMOTESANDO for high end shopping.  HARAJUKU for fashion forward and cutting edge styles.  SHIBUYA for casual shoping. DAIKOKUYA, KOMEHYO and DON QUIJOTE for pre-loved (used) branded bags ranging from Hermes, Gucci to Louis Vuitton.  I was able to buy an LV in Don Quijote in Shinsaibashi, Osaka and another one in Daikokuya.  I felt bad that I didn't get a Gucci bag from Komehyo, I should have:(   Buy Shisheido products,  they are all over Japan at half the price or even lower than in Manila.  Also,  bring your passport when buying a bag to get tax rebate:-)

Shops selling Pre-used Bags in Japan

HOW TO GET THERE:   From the station nearest you, ride a train to Harajuku.  From Harajuku ride a train to Shibuya. take Hachiko exit.  Or you can take a 20 minute walk to Shibuya from Harajuku.  Then if you want to head to Gonpachi board a train for Roponggi, exit 2.  If you plan to shop,  plan your commute through Hyperdia (route search engine for whole Japan).

EXPENSES IN US $ AND PESO PER PERSON (room rate though is twin sharing):

Detailed expense in Tokyo

Note:  Children below 12 years old enjoy half fare price. Fares/charges or routes may differ at your time of travel.  Please just use this as your general guide.  For exact time of train departures and arrivals,  please use Hyperdia.com.  Just input the destinations in TheGoMom's guide (be careful of spelling - misspelled destinations will result in area not found).

Click this for my Day 1 Post - 8-Day Backpack Tour of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka: Namba Osaka

Stay posted for 8-Day Backpack Tour of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka: Day 3 Mt. Fuji and Hakone

Travel Happy!

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8-Day Backpack Tour of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka: Day 1 Namba, Osaka

Best of JapanI love Japan!  The mix of beautiful gardens and nature, rich culture, high tech stuff, cool weather, good food and kind people makes it my best place to visit in Asia.  Here is my recommended Day 1 (complete with expense breakdown) of backpack trip to Japan with the fam.

My family of 8 (including extended family - I don't have 6 kids) took the Cebu Pacific flight that arrives Osaka at 8pm.  Everyone was excited but still fell asleep on the 4-hour plane ride.

Cebu Pacific flights are cheaper by almost P2,000/person.  And since there were 8 of us traveling,  that translated to P16,000 savings.

MONEY CHANGER:

Change your money at the airport if you haven't in the Philippines.  A fellow Pinoy traveler said we should have exchanged in the Philippines because the rate is better.  As for our experience,  money changers in Osaka are hard to find and if you do find them the rate is not as good as the airport, so change at the airport.  Money changers in Tokyo and Kyoto are plentiful but rates are still better at the airport.

WHERE TO STAY:

We stayed at Hotel Monterey in Namba, Osaka. It is a luxury hotel for only P 6,000/night.  The hotel resembles an Austrian royal palace and it has a magnificent view of Namba.   It has a full grocery just nearby that sells wonderfully prepared packaged meals.

The lovely chapel is right inside Hotel Monterey.  View of buildings from our room.

The lovely chapel is right inside Hotel Monterey. View of buildings from our room.

This JR station is right beside Hotel Monterey.

This JR station is right beside Hotel Monterey.

Since it was already 9:30pm when we got to Hotel Monterey, we decided to just get packaged food for dinner.  And because it was late, most were between 30-50% off (most groceries do discounts after 9pm)!  Food in Japan is all good - fine dining, fast food, vendo or packaged!

Hello Kitty Donuts, anyone?

Hello Kitty Donuts, anyone?

The must-go-to Shinsaibashi strip is a 6 minute walk from Hotel Monterey.  However,  if you love Zara, Uniqlo and Gu they are at the opposite end of Shinsaibashi and is a 10-15 minute from the hotel.  If you are planning some major shopping on these brands,  look for hotels at the Shinsaibashi area.  If you are not too finicky about rooms with a smell of cigarette you can try Hearton Hotel, Shinsaibashi.  I stayed there during my 2010 visit and the location is fantastic (3-5 mins walk to brands and Shinsaibashi station) but the hotel has that cigarette smoke smell:(

HOW TO GET TO NAMBA:

From Kansai Airport head to the train station and purchase a Nankai Airport Express ticket to Namba (50 minute train ride).

EXPENSES IN US $ AND PESO PER PERSON (room rate though is twin sharing):

expense breakdown in nambaNote:  Charges or routes may differ at your time of travel.  Please just use this as your general guide.  For exact time of train departures and arrivals,  please use Hyperdia.com.  Just input the destinations in TheGoMom's guide (be careful of spelling - misspelled destinations will result in area not found).

Click this for my Day 2 Post - 8-Day Backpack Tour of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka: Day 2 Tokyo (Harajuku, Shibuya, Pre-loved bag Shopping etc)

Travel Happy!

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Konichiwa

Mt. Fuji - Station 5.  Jump off point for mountain climbers of Mt. Fuji.

Mt. Fuji - Station 5. Jump off point for mountain climbers of Mt. Fuji.

I just came back as the tour group leader of a one-week backpack tour across Osaka, Tokyo and back to Kyoto.  My ward,  my family of 7 including my 2 kids (aged 9 and 11), one senior citizen with rheumatitis (my mom), one senior citizen with a cane (my dad), one 5 month pregnant sister-in-law and my 2 adult brothers.  We are all dead tired but the experience will be documented under Japanese Immersion heading in our album.

I don't think you can get to experience the real Japan on a guided tour group sitting on a motor coach.  Japan is a vibrant city with its intricate train system, myriad train platforms and exits (there are 200 exits in Shinjuku station!), tens of vending machines littered everywhere, beautiful temples, very helpful and polite people, street signs in Japanese character, cold weather not to mention amazing bathroom discoveries.  There is just so much to love about Japan!

Of course my parents swore to stick with tour groups since it required too much walking.  On hindsight,  I would not recommend it to senior citizens, pregnant women and children below 10.  They are right,  there is just too much walking.

In my succeeding posts across June and July, I will share with you our:

Osaka, Tokyo, Kyoto 7-day Itinerary

7 Days in Osaka, Tokyo, Kyoto at Php 55,000  ($1,200) /person (including airfare)

Shopping in Japan

Traveling Light

Commuting in Japan

Hope you can follow my Japanese experience and someday soon have your own Japanese experience.  Or if you have been there already,  hope you can share some tips to fellow Pinoy parent travelers as well.

With you in this Happy Chaos called Parenting!

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Anvaya Cove: Things to do with the Kids

Anvaya CoveAnvaya Cove is a well manicured village set in the forests and shores of Bataan.

A members-only development of Ayala Land Premiere,  it is a 2.5 hour drive from Manila thanks to the good roads of NLEX and SCTEX.

Residents have built sprawling beautiful resort inspired houses that are a haven by itself.  My friend who hosted us built her house's concept with an eclectic mix of Balinese and Morrocan inspiration.

I love her doors!  All are Balinese inspired and made by the crafty hands of Pampangenos.

different kinds of doors

I heard there was a hotel but due to lack of time,  I wasn't able to check out the place anymore.

The main pavilion, the focal point of Anvaya opens up to pockets of pools that are interconnected.  There are no deep parts, maybe 4.5 feet and has wide shallow banks where toddlers can play while an adult stands on the deeper part of the pool.  I brought my son to the 4.5 feet part of the pool and was asked to move to the shallow banks or kiddie area since he doesn't have floaters.

The beach, right below the pool, has a long shoreline.   The sand is a mix of light brown and black but powdery.   The beach waters is not that clear but it is calm with a little surf.

Kids would love the jungle gym play area built on sandy ground.

Anvaya has several nature camp activities for everyone.  My kids sweat it up at the Magma Field Obstacle Course.

Obstacle Course at Anvaya

And they were on a high at the 100-feet high, 260 meters long Adult Zipline.  Kids 12 years and above and weighing 100 pounds up are allowed.  This is for their safety since if they are too light,  they might not reach the end of the line and would still need a rescue team to push them down to the end.  A scary scene, I would think.

Anvaya Zipline

They have a Kiddie Zip line too but it was undergoing maintenance check when we were there.

Anvaya Kiddie Zipline

Don't forget to bring your rubber shoes when you go there.  All activities in the nature camp are better done with rubber shoes on.  We didn't bring our rubber shoes so I had to skip the fitness trail.  The trail is a 30 minute session where you trek around the forests and there are fitness stations along the way,  pump weights etc.

When the heat is getting to us already,  all 10 kids headed back to the beach club. Some played ping-pong, some were in the foosball, some were in the air hockey and the tweens were, well, in the game room catching up with Facebook.

What is nice with Anvaya is you are not charged at every turn.  All the activities I mentioned were all free! Just prepare a tip for your zip line attendants:-)   Tipping is not encourage in Anvaya according to one reader.

Apart from the activities mentioned,  they have the usual water sports activities like banana boat, kayak, pedal boat etc.  They also have wind surfing and wakeboarding lessons.  As for land activities,  they have the nature camp and bikes for rent.  I would like to bike and do the fitness trail on my next visit.

My general review of Anvaya is that it is a good place to relax over the weekend.  It is just 2.5 hours away and the drive is easy.  It doesn't have that "wow" factor that I expected from all the rave reviews I heard but it was nice.  Planning my next trip already!

Location Information:

Address:  Anvaya Beach and Nature Club, Morong, Bataan

Rate:  Members-only.  Find a member friend to endorse you:-)  Hotel rates range from P 5,000 - P10,000

Contact Numbers:  (02) 793-9000 or 9178-ANVAYA

Website:  www.anvayacove.com

Food:   Sorry will have to update this.  I stayed in my friend's house and we had our meals there.

Washroom: Wasn't able to check this out as well.

Density of People:  Tolerable.  We were there on a weekend and there were quite a number of people but not enough to crowd the place.

Date of Travel: May 2013

Directions:

1. Take the North Luzon Expressway.

2. Then take SCTEX Exit (Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway)

3. Take Subic Exit

4. Enter Subic via Subic-Tipo Toll gate

5. Once inside Subic, follow the Anvaya road signs. If there aren't any, follow the signs to “Morong Gate”.

6. Keep driving until you reach Morong Gate.

7. Just stick to the road until you reach the entrance of Anvaya Cove.

Disclosure:  This is not a sponsored post.  My family and I went to Anvaya Cove upon invitation of a friend who has a house there.

Travel Happy!

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Bahay Tsinoy: Impressive Life-Sized Exhibits

Bahay Tsinoy - Galleon Trade

My daughter and I were pleasantly surprised with our visit to Bahay Tsinoy (House of the Filipino-Chinese) in Intramuros, Manila.  It is a museum documenting the rich history of Filipino-Chinese here in the Philippines.  As a Filipino married to a Chinese,  I developed a greater appreciation of my husbands' roots.  And my daughter beamed proudly as she saw one side of her great ancestry.

The museum, a good stop for history-lovers even without Chinese lineage, is filled with well crafted, life sized exhibits documenting the history of the Tsinoys.  The exhibits were so realistic and well presented, everyone in our group (it was the field trip of my daughter) were clearly impressed.  The museum is very organized taking you through the early contacts in pre-history, to the Spanish period and to the current-day involvement of the Filipino-Chinese in the country they now call home.

Here is a photo essay of our Bahay Tsinoy experience.

A huge Galleon ship welcomes you as you enter the museum proper.  The Galleon ship is the means of transportation used by the Early Chinese while conducting trade with the early Filipinos even prior to Spanish occupation.

Bahay Tsinoy - Galleon Trade1

Sangley, the term used by the Spaniards for the Chinese, comes from the word siong lai, meaning "frequent visitor" in Hokien.  They were separated by the Spaniards from the rest of the community and dwell in separate quarters called the Parian.  Shown below are the main occupations of the Early Chinese - merchants, laborers and artisans.

Bahay Tsinoy - Sangley

The exhibits come with descriptions that are easy to read and are very well written.  I enjoyed reading them.

Bahay Tsinoy Life Sized Exhibit of Early Chinese Occupations

Since time immemorial and up till now,  the Tsinoy's can be relied on for business.  Shown here with a sari-sari store.

Bahay Tsinoy life sized exhibit of a storeShown here is a typical mestizo house.

Bahay Tsinoy Life Sized Exhibit of Early Chinese in their Household

The early Chinese were also knows as artisans.  Some early Chinese helped in constructing parts of the San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila.  Shown here is the facade of the San Agustin Church.

Bahay Tsinoy - Facade San Agustin

Part of the museum includes the Ching Ban Lee Porcelain Gallery with artifacts dating 10 to 17 centuries ago.  Depicted on the upper right is a wealthy Chinese trader.  And on the lower right are Chinese peddlers selling their wares before the San Agustin Church.

Ching Ban Lee Porcelain Gallery and Life Size Exhibit of the Early Chinese at Bahay Tsinoy

Emerging from the rich Filipino-Chinese ancestry are well known figures from the past till present.  According to Wikipedia, Jose Rizal was a 5th-generation patrilineal descendant of Domingo Lam-co, a Chinese immigrant entrepreneur who sailed to the Philippines and married Inez de la Rosa, a Sangley of Luzon.  Lorenzo Ruiz,  the first Filipino saint is from Binondo Manila,  and born to a Chinese father and Filipina mother.

Bahay Tsinoy Life Sized Exhibit of Filipino Chinese Mestizo Hero Jose Rizal

Not pictured here,  but also featured in Bahay Tsinoy is a cool hologram of a Tsinoy telling the story of the transformation of the early Filipino-Chinese to modern day Tsinoys.

Today,  Tsinoys are very well integrated into the Filipino society serving as leaders and catalysts in their respective businesses and professions.  A hallway honoring Filipino-Chinese who defended Philippine freedom in the past to public service advocates of the present are also featured.

Bahay Tsinoy - Contemporary Filipino Chinese

To sum it up,  I would like to quote choice excerpts from one of the write-ups I read in the museum:

Throughout Philippine history, the destiny of the Chinese-Filipinos has been closely intertwined with Filipinos. In every significant event that shaped the Philippines as a nation, the Chinese-Filipinos have marked their presence... there emerges the Tsinoy, the Chinese who is Filipino or the Filipino who is Chinese, molded through the centuries by Philippine life, enriching this land with the legacies of his Chinese heritage.

Bahay Tsinoy Information:

Address:  Kaisa Heritage Center, Anda cor. Cabildo Street, Intramuros, Manila

Operating Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 1:00pm to 5:00pm

Rate:  P100 for adults  and P60 for students (bring ID)

Contact Numbers:  527-6083 / 526-6796

Directions:  3 minute walk from Manila Cathedral or San Agustin Church in Intramuros (Old Walled City), Manila

Website:  www.bahaytsinoy.org

Washroom:  ascetic clean

Density of People:  Check first if there is a field trip and try not to go at that time,  unless you want a group of kids around:-)

Approximate Time to Spend Inside:  One hour if you just want to look and 2-3 hours if you want to read the descriptions.

Date of Travel: February 2013

Disclosure:  This is not a sponsored post.  My daughter and I went to Bahay Tsinoy on her field trip day and we paid for our entrance fees.

Travel Happy!

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Pico de Loro, Hamilo Coast, Batangas: A Good Mix

Pico de Loro, Batangas

My family loves beaches.  Give my kids some sand and they can be entertained for a few hours.  Give them sand, a well structured pool, lots of places to run around in plus the facilities a country club has to offer and they would want to stay there forever.

Pico de Loro is a members only leisure community developed by SM Land.  And my family has been there twice last year and 2 trips are scheduled back there this summer.  Pico has a good beach with fine light brown sand, huge open spaces with verdant greens, a man made lake surrounded by low rise residential condominiums, a very beautifully structured 3-tiered pool and complete club house facilities like bowling, kiddie play area plus ATV rides, pony rides etc.

Sharing you some pics and info (how to book etc.) of our wonderful Pico trip.  Enjoy!

Sand and Water  at Pico de Loro Batangas

The beach sand,  though brown, is fine and not ouchy to the feet.  The water was clear and there were lots of silver colored fishes to see.

Kids by Pico de Loro Batangas beach.  Sun deck chairs at Pico de Loro Batangas.

My daughter had lots of fun trying to catch the schools of small silver fishes but they were just too fast.  The sun deck chairs dotted the beach, perfect for relaxation.  My son, his shovel and the sand are inseparable.

Beach at Pico de Loro Batangas

My kids and I can't get enough of the beach.  Go for an early morning walk. We were in the beach by 7am.  The sun is not scorching and there are not much people around. Plus there are more fishes to see.  Swimming in the beach is also safe.  No undercurrent and sudden drop that I know of and I walked quite far yet the water is still shallow.

Marine life at Pico de Loro Batangas

My kids squealed in delight when they saw a small puffer fish that blew itself up.  We caught several crablets and a shell fish that stuck its body out looking like a grotesque alien.  All marine life we saw and caught were immediately returned to the sea.

Man made lake at Pico de Loro Batangas

The condominiums, the main club house (there is also a beach club) and the Pico Sands Hotel surrounds this serene man-made lake.  Afraid of dengue, much?  The lake has fishes so it shouldn't breed dengue mosquitoes.  We didn't feel mosquitoes too.  But just the same,  bring and spray those anti-dengue mosquito repellants.

Man made lake at Pico de Loro, Batangas

More of the lake.  Bring your rubber shoes.  It's nice to have an evening or early morning run around the lake.

Swimming Pool at Pico de Loro Batangas

This well structured 3-tiered pool, by the main club house and near the hotel, is a beauty!

Swimming Pool at Pico de Loro, Batangas

The fountain pool on the upper right come in 2's left and right (see pic below).  The low water level where the sun deck chairs are, are perfect for toddlers who are still too small even for kiddie pools.  After the infinity sun deck lap pool,  an even longer lap pool awaits.

Swimming Pool at Pico de Loro Batangas

Can't get enough of the beautiful pool.  The pool on the lower left is a separate pool located at the beach club house area.  Btw, be sure to check if the main pool is available on your date of travel.  First time we went, it was open.  Second time, it was closed for renovation.

Kiddie Pool at Pico de Loro Batangas

Lower Right: Adjacent to the main club house pool is this kiddie pool.  And a separate kiddie slide pool where my kids went for the slide again, and again, and again.

Gardens and Open Spaces at Pico de Loro, Batangas

There are a lot of spaces that are green and open.  And the whole family loved it!

Gardens and Open Spaces at Pico de Loro, Batangas

Lower left is the pathway that connects the beach to the lake with the low-rise condo structures.  Lower right is the pathway from the beach to the chapel.

Hanging bridge at Pico de Loro, Batangas

Hanging bridge by the lake will bring you to a small patch of land.

St. Therese Glass Chapel at Pico de Loro, Batangas

The glass chapel of St. Therese overlooks Hamilo Coast.

St. Therese Glass Chapel at Pico de Loro, Batangas

The simple yet stunning chapel of St. Therese, up close.

Ride at Pico de Loro, Batangas

You can go around Pico using the top pic or settle for the friendlier jeepney.  Kidding on the cow.

This post is a tad too long.  I will make a separate post on:

Pico Accommodations and Reservations

Pico Club House Facilities and Dining

Trekking with the kids at Pico

Meantime,  my general review of Pico is that it is a wonderful place to travel with the family.  The beach, though not white,  is safe and friendly to the kids.  The swimming pool is beautiful and there are a lot of other activities to do.

The only setback for me is the number of people around.  When we went on the long weekend of Bonifacio day,  it was kinda packed.  I guess the renovation in the main club house pool forced people to gather around the club house pool causing the overcrowding.  If you can take an off on a weekday,  do take that.  My kids are a bit crowd averse and these things matter to them:-)

Address:

Pico de Loro Cove at Hamilo Coast

Nasugbu, Batangas

Website:  www.picodeloroclub.com

Contact Numbers:(02) 214-7888 or (0917) 809-1289 (Pico Sands Hotel)

Rate:  Members need to give you access to the club through an authorization letter.  If you are booked in the hotel,  the room rate of the hotel covers the access to the beach and country club facilities.  Some condominium owners also rent out their studio units.  Rental of the studio unit is exclusive of the guest fees below:

Holiday / Long Weekend Rates:

  • Accompanied by member = Php500/adult & Php150/kid (ages 4-12y.o.)
  • Unaccompanied by member = Php1000/adult & Php300/kid (ages 4-12y.o.)
  • Kids = 3 years old and below is FREE of charge

Weekday Rates:

  • Accompanied by member = Php300/adult & Php150/kid (ages 4-12y.o.)
  • Unaccompanied by member = Php500/adult & Php150/kid (ages 4-12y.o.)
  • Kids = 3 years old and below is FREE of charge

Directions:

Take SLEX and exit at Sta. Rosa and follow road to Tagaytay.  Go past Tagaytay until you reach junction of Balayan (Caltex Station on your right).  At that junction,  turn right to Nasugbu.  You will see lots of trucks carrying sugar canes because you will pass Central Azucarera de Don Pedro on your left.  When you reach the Shell Gas Station (on your left), turn right to go to the Nasugbu Town Proper.  You will then go uphill and will pass Canyon Cove and Punta Fuego.  Go further uphill until  you reach Pico de Loro, Hamilo Coast.  There are signs along the way, that reads “Hamilo Coast.”

In case you want to eat before entering Pico, your last stop for fast foods is at the Nasugbu town proper.  There is a Jollibee and Chicken Inasal.

Travel time by car is approximately 3.5 hours with relatively easy traffic flow.

Pico de Loro also offers ferry services from Roxas Boulevard to Pico at P1,200/per person for non-members.  Travel time by ferry is at 1 hour 30 minutes.

Date of our Travel:  May 2012 and November 2012

Disclosure:  This is not a sponsored post.  My family and I went to Pico de Loro and paid for everything.

Hope you check out my other Pico de Loro posts:-)

Travel Happy!

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Fun Farm at Sta. Elena: Balik Bukid Experience

Fun Farm - Carabao Resting

Say "bukid" (farm) and images of a field with carabaos and a myriad of farm animals come to mind.  Say "bukid" again and smile for simple, carefree fun.

That is what my mind conjured of Fun Farm and that is exactly what my family and I got.

Developed by Hindy Tantoco of Holy Carabao for her kids,  Fun Farm at Sta. Elena is a sprawling provincial farm that is just a 10 minute drive away from South Superhighway's Cabuyao exit.

My family had a whole afternoon of good, easy, fun riding a carabao cart, feeding rabbits and guinea pigs, horseback riding, fishing, boating and simply basking in the quiet and peace of this charming farm.

Sharing with you some pics (and info) of our wonderful Fun Farm experience. [Read more...]

UP Sunken Garden: Things to Bring for a Complete Picnic Experience

UP Diliman Sunken Garden

UP Diliman Sunken Garden

Take advantage of the cool, overcast January weather by taking the kids outdoors.  Cool days like these only last till mid to late February so it's the perfect time to go to places you would not normally visit when it's burning hot.

We took the kids to UP Sunken Garden last Sunday and the whole fam had fun.  The weather was perfect and the kids had fun running around the grass while daddy was busy flying the plane RC.  I, of course, a proud UPista told them for the nth time - that this was my college Alma Mater.

A UP Garden Kids Playing

We even had yummy dirty ice cream in mango, avocado and cheese flavor.

Mamang Sorbetero

Mamang Sorbetero

For a complete UP Sunken Garden experience,  you might want to bring the following:

  • Banig / Mat - so you can sit down on the mat picnic style
  • Outdoor Toys (See list below)
  • Snacks and Water - Be sure to clean up after.  There are cement trash cans but if you can't see one, please bring your trash home.
  • Camera
  • Book - O, di ba it's like a scene from a movie.  Maybe,  I should bring wine next time:-)
  • Sunscreen - It may be overcast but the sun is still out there.
  • Bike  - There is a bikers and runners lane.  You and your kid can run around the entire oval.  For serious runners, distance covered is      2.2km.
  • Frisbee
  • Soccer Ball
  • Kite
  • Bubbles
  • Airplane or 4 Wheel Drive RC
  • Water Blasters / Gun - Don't forget to bring your own water refill and be prepared to board wet children in the car.
  • Wind Spinners
UP Diliman Bikers and Runners Lane

UP Diliman Bikers and Runners Lane

The acacia trees that lined the UP oval provides the perfect shade and panorama for a good run or bike.

Relaxing, cool and expense free Sunday morning with the whole fam!

Hope you can share with me your UP Sunken Garden experience here at TheGoMom.  Would love to hear your comments.

These Crayola colored bubbles comes with a purple hue.

These Crayola colored bubbles comes with a purple hue.

Northern and Southern Eats: A Restaurant Guide Book by Anton Diaz

I am a fan of Anton Diaz of Our Awesome Planet.  His blog is interesting and replete with information on hundreds of restaurants in the Philippines that range from hole in the wall discoveries to must try ones.

So when Northern Living asked me if I wanted a free copy of his recommended Northern and Southern Eats (separate books) I eagerly said yes!

The Northern / Southern Eats is Our Awesome Planet in book format.  It compiled 50 restaurants each from the North and South that we need to discover.  It is arranged according to area and has photos of the resto, their featured dishes and budget range per person along with other information.  An added bonus of the book is [Read more...]

Stilts Calatagan Beach Resort

Pure bliss, sweet and simple.  That is how I would describe Stilts.

Everything in it from the trees that lined the entrance, the front desk that gives a peek of the haven that is to come ... [Read more...]

Tech Museum of Innovation San Jose CA (Review)

Exploration Gallery

Planning a trip to the West Coast, USA or to be more specific to the Bay Area?  Do include a visit to The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose.  It is definitely worth the trip.  The fun level plus the wealth of learning should earn a spot in the must visit areas for kids together with the likes of Legoland, SeaWorld, Universal Studios and of course Disneyland.

The kids and I were busy moving from one interactive display to another.  The museum is a huge 12,000 sqm, three level building and has partnerships with Stanford and NASA. It has 8 main galleries packed with hundreds of exhibits.

Tech Health and Biotech Gallery

My kids felt like real life genetic engineers culturing a jellyfish DNA.  They donned the [Read more...]

Mind Museum at Taguig: Areas you Shouldn’t Miss

World Class Science Museum.  That is how I would describe the new Mind Museum in Fort Bonifacio.  The architecture inside and outside is modern, impressive and the displays are stunning!

Must Not Miss Areas:

Outdoor Science Playground -  kids can explore mechanical objects, go inside a bubble or try [Read more...]

Imperial Palace Hotel Cebu

Imperial Palace Ocean View. Ooohs and aahs as this wonderful view of the ocean and resort welcomed us into our room.

Boasting as the first luxury water park resort in the Philippines - Imperial Palace, Cebu was our destination last long weekend.

Things to do for kids: [Read more...]

Mt. Pinatubo: Tips in Trekking Mt. Pinatubo with a Child

1.  Know your child.

Can he withstand walking/trekking for 3 hours straight with just 2 breaks in between?  Kids are very strong and they have all the energy.  So don't underestimate them:-)  More importantly,  do they like the great outdoors?  My son enjoyed the experience but my daughter [Read more...]