Action-packed, adventurous, daring, caffeinated, ambitious memoir.

Action-packed, adventurous, daring, caffeinated, ambitious memoir.
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Friday, March 31, 2017

A Pleasant Escape in Aninuan Beach


In May 2012, I was at the point of chaotic confusion. After transitioning to a new position the first month of the year, I was at war with myself about keeping the job that I love (as well as the people I have accustomed myself into seeing every day) and in pursuing a more balance life. I was seeking another escape, similar to my first solo travel before I quit my first corporate job. Personally, it's definite to go visit some beach because it's something innate in me whenever I'm up to decide on very important matters.

Originally, the plan was to explore Verde Island, a few kilometers from the main shoreline of Batangas. It was suggested by a colleague, so I did a little research about the place. However, after much deliberation, I concluded that it wasn't the most suitable place for me to backpack solo.

Inspecting Google Earth has led me to notice a bigger land mass famously known as a part of the MIMAROPA region. Several articles have convinced me enough that the route to Mindoro Oriental's not only safe, but also convenient. The most famous stretch of beaches in this side of Mindoro was Sabang (same name in Baler and Palawan's) and White Beach, the province's counterpart to Boracay, but on my take, it's more of Batangas' Laiya. (You can check my Laiya, Batangas post here, and if you're also interested you can read a separate post I wrote about White Beach, Puerto Galera).

I contemplated on pre-booking my accommodation to lessen the hassle of finding a place to stay. I realized however, that White Beach was crowded both in the density of hotels and inns, as well as other commercial establishments and roaming tourists. That's something I find quite problematic as I planned to spend my vacation in a more relaxed, tranquil environment.


I decided to buy an Accu-map before I finalized my itinerary, it's some travel tool I trust the most aside from Google Map, of course. Since this handy map had all the information I need, from the estimated walking-distance time, to accommodations and contact numbers - I've made up my mind. I booked a one-night stay at Tamarraw's beach resort, a kilometer away from White Beach and is situated in a beach called Aninuan. The resort was at a borderline of being a budget-travel friendly, at least my room wasn't the priciest.

After having some pleasurable lunch in one of White Beach' restobar, I decided to head straight to the resort to check-in my bags before I explore the area. The funny thing I did, however, was taking a detour and following the map literally. I took the rather obvious route to the resort, naively thinking that it was the only way. The north, almost dead-end spot in White Beach marks its boundary to Aninuan. I made my way through humongous rocks which to some extent made me jump from one rock to another almost tipping my way down.

Unmindful of the waves crushing in, I made my way to what I thought was the entrance of the resort. I was informed when I checked out that I was lucky enough to have passed that way - scratch-free, thankfully because it was low tide at that time and the waves were forgiving. The resort management strictly discourage it's guests to take that route since it wasn't established and it can be fatal when the water makes the rocks slippery and the intensity of the waves can crush your very life. I did, however, took the right passage the next day, but again without getting some ride when I should have (for security purposes and convenience). Oh well, I just blame it on my stubborn adventurous spirit, but really, I have no regrets.


Aninuan beach is the only beach shore in Oriental Mindoro where one can see the sunset into the horizon without the obstruction of mountain ridges. Unlike White Beach, Aninuan was a very peaceful, almost secluded beach. With a very few resorts then, it's peaceful even during peak season, I can tell because I went there at the height of summer.  A beautiful estuary can also be found here.

My time spent in this side of Mindoro was full of unforgettable first times. It was my first to have a trip in one of MIMAROPA's provinces, my first to ride a RO-RO that can only fit around 20 passengers unlike the ones in Samar and Dumaguete where it can even fit private vehicles and buses, first to spend a couple of days in an unfamiliar place and first time to realize my inner strength to be alone yet feeling complete. I discovered a new place, and most of all I discovered a new perspective about myself and life.

Aninuan beach was special. It was and will always have a spot in my travel-hungry life. It may not be the Philippines' most beautiful, but it has a mystifying allure that makes one soul comfortable.


Previous Travel Posts:
Reminiscing White Beach, Puerto Galera
It's Not Just About the Grassy Hillocks: What Else Bohol?
Here's Why You Should Put Virgin Island's One Hectare Sand Bar On Your Travel Bucket List!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Reminiscing White Beach, Puerto Galera

Here's a post from my old WordPress blog which I wrote four years ago. The rates may no longer be applicable, I haven't check, but will update this post once I have the numbers. :) 

There's a lot of reason why Puerto Galera is one of the top tourist destination here in the Philippines. Situated in Oriental Mindoro, the 7th largest island in the country; Galera offers the beach lovers, diving enthusiasts and even the curios travelers a treat of adventure, relaxation and discoveries.

It's uncomplicated to go to Puerto Galera even when you go there by commute, it's just three hours away from Manila! Cubao and Pasay-Buendia terminals have buses that leave every hour to Batangas Port. I recommend riding either JAM transit or BLTB for travel convenience. It would be a two hours bus ride to Batangas Port, bus fare is P150 for ordinary buses and P180 for aircon buses. Once in Batangas Port, you have to ride a RORO (boat) to go to White beach that costs P250 and P50 Environmental Fee. The boat ride takes only an hour, but to set your expectations, if you're not used to traveling by sea, the tides can be quite rough.

White Beach is famous as a stretch of fine white sands, it's ideal for families and travelers who just want to enjoy swimming, strolling and relaxing in the beach. Mountaineering and trekking adventures tours to Mt. Halcon are being offered here. The beach is much commercialized (which may be a good or bad thing); there are plenty of bars and restaurants, Inns and other business stores in the area. Tattooing, hair braiding, spa and massage services are widely offered as well.

Water-fun Activities:

  • Kayak/Canao -     1 hour costs P200 but you can also rent it for half-day (P300) and whole day (P500)
  • Windsurfing -         2 hours costs P500
  • Banana Boat Ride - 20 minutes costs P200 (per head)
  • Island Hopping -    2 hours costs P1000 (good for 6 persons)
  • Snorkeling -          2 hours costs P2000 (good for 6 persons)
  • Jet Ski -               1 hour costs P2000 (depends on the model, it can costs up to P3500)

Additional Info:
Minolo Shipping Lines- boat transfers (RO-RO) from 12nn-5pm and 5am-11pm during peak season.
Office Tel. No.: (043) 287-3614
Mobile Nos.: 0916-2074747 / 0915-4945323

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Jim Cymbala on Why Sometimes a Blessing Becomes a Curse, and How to Have a Heart that God Cannot Resist


"The problem was, God was speaking but nobody was listening," the Brooklyn Tabernacle Pastor Jim Cymbala wrote in the first chapter of his fourth book The Life that God Blesses pertaining to a popular televangelist's downfall. He titled the chapter "The Man Who Wouldn't Listen" and talked about why not listening to God's voice of correction and direction, can turn things out of control. "Things went from bad to worse, which is what usually happens when people turn their backs on God," he continued on the next pages.

Pastor Cymbala believed that in order to live a life that is pleasing to God, one must get in tune with what pleases Him. He detailed that there's a certain kind of heart that God seeks and that He long to bless. One of the traits the Lord delights in, is a listening heart, a heart that wants to hear what the Alpha and Omega is saying, and a heart that not only listen but most importantly, obey.

"The truth is, no matter how deep our sin is, no matter how far we have fallen, there is still hope if we will just listen to what God is saying. It is when we get so full of ourselves and too busy to stop and listen that we cut ourselves off from the one true Friend who can help us. Our shallowness and self-centeredness make us deaf to words that would bring healing and spiritual life."

Like listening, another quality that help us align ourselves with His purposes and makes room for more blessing in our life is imitation. Imitation as they usually say, is the highest form of flattery. And to imitate God means to strive to be forgiving, merciful and full of kindness. This also mean that you should exercise tenderness, be sensitive to His Word and an openness to His will concerning your life.

Aside from these, one should definitely live a prayerful life and a heart that waits. "You do not have, because you do not ask God," wrote the apostle James emphasizing the need for us to look up and pray to God. Prayer, as they say is our most valuable tool in times of need. But prayer shouldn't be made just for the sake of asking God for something, it should be our means to communicate with the Almighty. After prayer, the most crucial part is waiting. One should learn to wait, to trust God and have faith that He wants the best for us.

"The secret is to have a heart that waits on the Lord, to keep waiting in faith and glad expectation for the things he has promised... The challenge before us is to have faith in God, and the hardest part of faith is the waiting."

All these traits (adopted from the Bible, mostly from the Old Testament) seem to please God in such a way that he shower blessing to people with this special kind of heart. Albeit a blessing is generally good, there can be instances where it becomes a curse. Cymbala's eloquent writing says it all: "As time goes by, God's favor fills their lives with many good things. But they allow the blessings of God to turn their eyes away from the Giver; they become preoccupied with the gifts. Soon their tenderness of heart vanishes. They don't have time for God. They become filled with themselves and lose that special touch of God on their life together... How we respond to the Lord's blessings makes all the difference. The blessings can either humble us and draw us closer to God, or they can lift us up and allow our hearts to become full of pride and self-sufficiency."

The safest way to not love the gifts more than the Giver, Pastor Jim suggests, is to constantly seek God's help and approval above all other things and to humble our hearts. "Just as pride drives away the blessings of heaven and precedes certain failure, a humble heart is like a magnet that draws the favor of God toward us."

The Life that God Blesses is a compelling book that I would personally recommend. Compliment it with The Purpose Driven Life written by Rick Warren or you can read my post about it here.

P.S. Got questions? Connect with me on Twitter & Instagram -> @gizandcheese

Previous posts you may like:
Astounding Life Lessons I've Learned From Catherine Called 'Birdy'
Just So Stories: A Classic Work of English Literature Aimed for Children But Not for Children?

Whatever Profession You Are In, Don't Forget the Basics! Tell Me Why?

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