Anika Island Resort in Bantayan Island Cebu + Review, Room Rates

Anika Island Resort is one among the best resorts in Bantayan Island Island, Cebu, Philippines. Located in Santa Fe, this Bantayan Island resort is very near to Sta.Fe Port Ferry – gateway of Bantayan island if you are coming from mainland Cebu.

Anika Island Resort Bantayan Island Cebu Philippines
Anika Island Resort, Bantayan Island, Cebu Philippines

Highly Rated Bantayan Island Resort

Annika Island Resort is a highly rated resort in Bantayan island. The average ratings of guests who have visited Anika Island Resort are higher compared to other resorts in the island. Below are the average ratings of Anika Island Resort as of March 1, 2018:

  • Tripadvisor – 4 out of 5 (Excellent)
  • Agoda – 8.4 out of 10 (Excellent)
  • Travelbook – 4.6 out of 5 (Excellent)
Anika Island Resort
Anika Island Resort

The rating and reviews made us decide to book Anika Island Resort for our first night in Bantayan Island. For a discounted room rate, we booked our Anika Island Resort cottage via Travelbook. Like us, you too can enjoy huge discounts by booking HERE or HERE.

Hassle Free Check-In

Upon arriving in Sta.Fe port, we hailed a tricycle to bring us to Anika Island Resort. Travel time from port to the resort is roughly 5 minutes. Fare is 20 Php ($0.40) per person.

The check-in process was a breeze. I just told them that I booked thru Travelbook.  The Anika Island Resort reception asked me to fill-out a short guest information form. And that’s it! They did not bother to ask for the booking reference number.

Good Customer Service

Most online reviews indicate that Anika Island Resort has good customer service. The reception experience upon our check-in was okay but Jason, the staff who assisted us to our room, made us feel very special.  He was very polite and helpful. Jason carried our bags while heading us to our cottage. He even shared useful information about the tourists attractions and some useful tips during our stay in the island. Apart from Jason, the staff especially the guards were very helpful. The check-out was also a breeze and the staff in the reception were very friendly.

Iconic Sun-Basking Area

Anika Bantayan Island Cebu Philippines
Anika Island Resort

Among all Bantayan Island Resorts, Anika Island Resort has the most beautiful and iconic beach bed area. They have this huge Anika signage which is guests and passers-by have their pictures taken.

Unique and Neatly Arranged Cottages

Anika Island Resort’s property is small in land area. However, they utilized its limited real estate and ensured that the swimming pool, cottages and other facilities are strategically situated. Also, this Bantayan resort has unique and beautiful cottages which walls are primarily made of container vans.

Well-Kept Surroundings and Beachfront

Common areas such as the beachfront, garden and restaurant are always clean. During our entire stay at Anika Island Resort, we often see resort’s staff cleaning around the resort. Since we visited on a season where there are seaweeds in the beachfront, there is a designated staff who makes sure to clean and remove the seaweeds on the shore.

Anika Island Resort’s Garden View Room

Garden View Cottages Anika Resort Bantayan
Garden View Cottages Anika Resort Bantayan

Since an Ocean View Room is too pricey for us, we opted to book a Garden View Room via Travelbook. We booked the room at 2,544 Php (approx. $50.88) instead of 2,700 Php (approx. $54).

The room or should I say the cottage has a veranda with a dinette set. This is also the area in your cottage where smoking is allowed. The room comes with an LCD cable TV, air-conditioning unit, closet and safe deposit box. We personally loved the comfortable bed and 3 pillows. Our only rant is the Wifi which we weren’t able to use to slow internet connection.

The toilet and bath come with bath towels, soap and toothpaste.  There is hot and cold shower and the toilet has a bidet. The water pressure was good too. Overall, the room and the toilet and bath are very clean.

View from our cottage's veranda
View from our cottage’s veranda

Anika Island Resort Room Rates

Anika Island Resort easily gets fully booked even lean-season. Book your Anika room in advance HERE or HERE.

Ocean View Room

Ocean View Cottages
Ocean View Cottages

These are beachfront rooms in the resort. Nearest to the iconic beach bed area of Anika Island Resort. An Ocean View Room is good for 3 persons and costs 4,000 Php (approx. $80) a night.

Garden View Room

These rooms are situated right behind the Ocean View Rooms but still near the beach. Guests in these rooms will enjoy the garden view of the resort.  If you have kids, these rooms are also the nearest to the resort’s playground. A Garden View Room is good for 2 persons at 2,700 Php (approx. $54) a night.

Sunset Pool Side

Sunset Pool Side Rooms are the nearest to the resort’s pool. These rooms remind me of Boracay’s Hennan Prime Beach Resort direct pool access rooms. With 2 single bed, veranda and view of the resort’s pool at 2,900 Php (approx. $58) a night.

Poolside cottages
Poolside cottages

Beach Villa

Choose from a single detached villa good for 3 persons for 4,200 Php (approx. $84) or duplex villa good for 3 persons at 3,700 Php (approx. $74) a night.

Courtyard Room

Situated at the back part of the resort. These are the rooms nearest to the entrance of Anika Island Resort. These are the cheapest rooms in the resort at 2,000 Php (approx. $40) a night.

Recommended Bantayan Beach Resort

Overall, I would recommend Anika Island Beach Resort to anyone who is visiting Bantayan Island in Cebu. The entire resort and the cottages are well-maintained. Customer service is good. And of course the beach is awesome!

Anika Island Resort

Address: F. Roska St., Brgy. Okoy
Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island 6047
Cebu, Philippines
Mobile: (+63) 917 328 4898 / (+63) 999 886 4465 / (+63) 922 843 9517
Telephone: (+63 32) 438-9073
Discounted online booking HERE / HERE


4 Must Visit Affordable Restaurants in Davao City Philippines

Chicken Oyakondon

Davao City is becoming a popular tourist destination among Filipinos and foreign travelers. The most visited tourist destinations in the city are Philippine Eagle Center, Davao Crocodile Park and the beautiful Samal Island. Apart from these must visit tourist spots, your Davao City experience will not be complete without trying these 4 local Davao City restaurants:

Fighter in Philippine Eagle Center Davao
Fighter in Philippine Eagle Center Davao

Related blog posts:

1. Yurushi Restaurant

If you are on a budget, Yurushi restaurant is one among the affordable food destinations in the city. A local favorite, Yurushi restaurant offers authentic Japanese food that will not empty your pocket.

On their menu are various Japanese food such as Pork Katsudon (80 Php), Beef Gyudon (90 Php), Chicken Oyakudon (75 Php), Tonkatsu with rice (80 Php), Chaahan (50 Php), Miso Ramen (60 Php), Gyuza with rice (70 Php), Chicken/Pork Karaage with rice (60 Php) and Miso soup (50 Php). These cheap Davao City restaurant also offers non-Japanese food on their menu.

Chicken Oyakondon
Chicken Oyakondon

We ordered Pork Tonkatsu (80 Php) and my all-time favorite Japanese dish – Chicken Oyakodon (75 Php).

Pork Tonkatsu
Pork Tonkatsu

Being an affordable food place, you don’t get high-end and cozy ambiance in Yurusi. The place is simple and a bit old.  Nonetheless, with its affordable dishes, you get the value for your money.  Yurushi is well-known among locals as the Japanese owner himself used to prepare the food in the restaurant. Unfortunately, the owner was not around when we visited Yurushi. It appears that the owner has already taught his staff to cook the restaurant’s Japanese food offerings.

Yurushi Cheap Davao Restaurant
Yurushi Cheap Davao Restaurant
  • Yurushi Restaurant Schedule: opens at 8:00 AM and closes at 10:00 PM
  • Contact Number: +63 82 225 5052
  • Location: Uyanguren Street, Davao City

2. Penong’s

Another budget-friendly and local favorite Davao City restaurant is Penong’s. This restaurant is undoubtedly the most popular among locals as they offer delicious food at an affordable price. Penong’s can be seen all over Davao City. It has 15 branches and is also present in other municipalities and cities in Mindanao.

Penong’s has earned its reputation for having the best chicken barbeque in Davao City. Apart from the barbeques, Penong’s also serves various Filipino dishes such as seafood, meat and vegetables. This Davao City restaurant is also the first one in the Philippines to offer unlimited rice to its diners.

2 pcs. porkchop + unlimited rice
2 pcs. porkchop + unlimited rice

I ordered 2 pcs. porkchop with unlimited rice (110 Php) and Pork Pinakbet (140 Php). I have to say that the pork chop is delicious! Its taste is unique and something you can only have at Penong’s. The unlimited rice is also a plus!

Pork Pinakbet
Pork Pinakbet
  • Penong’s  Restaurant Schedule: opens at 8:00 AM and closes at 10:00 PM
  • Contact Number: +63 82 225 5052
  • Locations:

Matina (NCCC)
Matina (Gallera)
G-Mall Davao

3. Lachi’s Sans Rival Atbp.

If you want fine dining at an affordable price, visit Lachi’s Sans Rival Atbp. Another local favorite, Lachi’s started as a bakery turned into a restaurant.  Lachi’s is known for their yummy cakes and pastries. On their menu are various sandwiches, sausages, pastas and rice meals.

Unforgettable pork ribs
Unforgettable Grilled Pork Ribs

We ordered the mouthwatering Unforgettable Grilled Pork Ribs (180 Php). For desert, we ordered a slice of Carrot Walnut cake (60 Php), Davao Durian cheesecake (72 Php). The cake slices are very affordable!

Carrot cake and Durian cheesecake
Carrot cake and Durian cheesecake
 The entire restaurant is very clean. The ambiance is something you get when dining in at popular restaurants in Manila. Lachi’s personally reminds me of Conti’s chain of restaurants. The only difference is the price.
Lachi's restaurangt in Davao
Lachi’s restaurangt in Davao

I will not write further about Lachi’s as I’ve written a separate blog post about this must visit Davao City restaurant. Please visit Affordable Restaurant in Davao City – Lachi’s.

  • Lachi’s Sans Rival atbp. Schedule: opens at 11:00 AM and closes at 8:00 PM
  • Contact Number: +63 82 224 5552
  • Location: Door 1-H Values School Building, Ruby Street, Marfori Heights Subdivision

4. Davao Dencia’s Restaurant

Davao Dencia’s Restaurant is the oldest restaurant in this list. In 1950s, this Davao City restaurant opened its doors and started serving Filipino, Chinese and Spanish dishes.

From outside, you can tell that Dencia’s restaurant used to be one of the grandest restaurant in the city. Up to this day, Dencia’s is a favorite reception for weddings, baptismal and parties . Well, this is an indication that Dencia’s restaurant offers the finest dishes in Davao.

Davao Dencia's Restaurant
Davao Dencia’s Restaurant

The restaurant has this rustic feel. Perhaps due to to the Filipiniana furnitures and fixtures. Nonetheless, the entire restaurant is very clean. The service is superb too!

Dencia’s restaurant bestsellers are Lugaw Goto, Arroz Caldo, Tokwa’t Baboy, Lechon Kawali, Lumpisang Shanghai and Pancit Canton.  Since we visited Davao Dencia’s Restaurant for a snack, we ordered their Special Halo-halo (110 Php), Fresh Fruit Salad (110 Php) and Shrimps Sandwich (110 Php).

Special Halo-halo
Shrimps Sandwich
Shrimps Sandwich

We personally love the Shrimps Sandwich. It was our first time to have a sandwich filled with yummy shrimps!

  • Davao’s Dencia’s Restaurant Schedule: opens daily from 7:00 AM to 9 PM
  • Contact Number: +63 82 226 4336
  • Location: General Luna Street, Davao City


How to get to Camiguin from Manila, Butuan, Cebu, CDO, Bohol + Itinerary and Budget

White Island sand bar Camiguin

Camiguin Island is located in Bohol Sea and is 10 kilometers off the northern Mindanao coast. In terms of population and land area, Camiguin Island is the second smallest island in the Philippines. Also known as the “Island Born of Fire”, this province is truly a promising tourist destination not only in Mindanao but in the entire Philippines.

Camiguin Philippines
Camiguin Island, Philippines

How to get to Camiguin from Manila, CDO, Cebu, Bohol or Butuan

Manila -> Cebu -> Camiguin

Unfortunately, there is no direct flight from Manila to Camiguin Island. The only airline catering direct flights to the Island is Cebu Pacific Air which only flies from Cebu province. With this, you may fly from Manila to Cebu and Cebu to Camiguin Island.

Manila -> Cagayan de Oro City -> Camiguin

Geographically, Cagayan de Oro City’s Laguindingan airport is the nearest airport to the island if you are not flying from Cebu. Fly from Manila to Cagayan de Oro City.

Laguindingan Airport
Laguindingan Airport

From Laguindingan airport, hail a taxi going to Agora bus terminal. Travel time is approximately 30 minutes. In Agora bus terminal, ride a van or bus going to Balingoan Port. Travel time is approximately 2 hours. In Balingoan Port, ride a ferry bound to Benoni Port.

For ferry schedule and fare, please see Balingoan Port to Benoni Super Shuttle Ferry Schedule section of this blog post.

Manila -> Butuan City -> Camiguin

If you are coming from Butuan City’s Bancasi airport, ride a multicab going to Butuan integrated bus terminal. Travel time is approximately 10 minutes, In the terminal, ride a bus going to Cagayan de Oro City. Inform the driver to drop you off to Baligoan Port. Bus ride from the terminal to Balingoan port is approximately 2 hours. In Balingoan Port, ride a ferry bound to Benoni Port.

Butuan airport
Butuan airport

For ferry schedule and fare, please see Balingoan Port to Camiguin Super Shuttle Ferry Schedule section of this blog post.

Bohol -> Camiguin

Super Shuttle Ferry in Bohol caters Bohol-Camiguin route. Go to Jagna seaport and ride a ferry going to Balbagon port in Camiguin.

Super Shuttle Ferry Contact Number: +63 927 9386686 or +632 4127688

Balingoan Port to Benoni Port Super Shuttle Ferry Schedule and Fare

[table id=5 /]

Note that most of the resorts are quite far from Benoni port. The transfer rate from the port to your resort depends on the vehicle and proximity of the resort. Van transfers range from 500 Php to 700 Php. For multicab, transfers cost 350 Php to 550 Php and 500 Php to 700 Php for Jeepneys. Since I was alone, I arranged a transfer to the resort with a habal-habal driver for 500 Php.

Cheap Camiguin Tour Rates

If you are visiting Camiguin, forget the expensive tour packages being offered by various tour agencies. It is way cheaper to directly go to Benoni Port and arrange your island tour with the locals.

Below are the Camiguin tourism office accredited tour rates:

[table id=4 /]

The above rates cover 8 hour island tour and are exclusive of entrance fees. A rate of 150 Php applies for every hour in excess.

*Since I was traveling solo, I opted for a cheaper alternative. I arranged a motorbike (habal-habal) tour for only 700 Php. Same as with the tourism accredited rates, the tour covers 8 hour island tour.

One Day Island Tour Itinerary 

If you are pressed of time, the island can be toured in one day. Note that the entrance fees in the itinerary and pump boat fees in White Island and Mantigue Island are exclusive of the tour rates indicated in the Cheap Camiguin Tour Rates section of this blog post.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Since I arrived in the island at 5:00 PM, I just checked-in at Marianita’s Cottages and had dinner at a nearby restaurant.  I decided to have my island tour the next day. Below is my itinerary during my next day in Camiguin:

[table id=6 /]

Camiguin Travel Tips

  • Book your resort ahead of time to prevent the hassles of looking for one once you arrive in the island. Book your discounted Camiguin resort HERE.
  • If you are traveling solo, you may rent a motorbike for only 500 Php. This is cheaper but you will have to tour the island without a driver/guide.
  • It is highly recommended to allot 1 day for White Island and Mantigue Island. If you are a couple or a solo traveler, it is advisable to find someone to share with the boat.
  • Visit White Island early in the morning as it tend to get crowded before lunch time until the afternoon. pump boat trips  going to White Island starts at 5 AM. Last trip from White Island going back to mainland is at 5 PM.
  • Since the White Island is a small sandbar, there are no trees or any human structures in the area. Huge umbrellas can be rented for 100 Php.
  • There is a number of restaurants in the island to fulfill your gastronomic adventures. Don’t miss Camiguin’s famous pastel!


Where to Eat in Cagayan De Oro City? Boy Zugba

Boy Zugba Kusina Bisaya or simply Boy Zugba is one among the few local restaurants in Cagayan de Oro City.  This restaurant offers an array of grilled food and various Filipino dishes.  If you are a foodie adventurer visiting Cagayan de Oro, Boy Zugba should be on the top of your to visit food places in the city.

“Zugba” comes from the Visayan word “Sugba” which means grilled.

Boy Zugba CDO Location

Boy Zugba is situated along Corrales Avenue where most of the local restaurants in the city is located. It is also few meters away from budget accommodations such as Rich Manor Pension House, LRD Pension, CDO Hotel Cento and hotels such as Southwinds hotel and Seda CDO. Boy Zugba can easily be reached from any point in the city via taxi.

Boy Zugba CDO Facade
Boy Zugba CDO Facade
The restaurant’s eye-catching facade is modern yet with a Pinoy feel. From outside, you can say that the restaurant looks cool inside. The photo I took does not give justice to the Boy Zugba’s facade.

Note: I was literally the last guest to leave the place. And they have already turned-off the lights in the restaurant’s signage.

Cool Interiors and Atmosphere

This homegrown Cagayan de Oro City restaurant probably has the coolest interiors and atmosphere among other local restaurants in the city.

Cool Interiors
Cool Interiors
I personally love this window full of hugot lines in Visayan language. Although I hardly understand Bisaya, I’m sure these lines are funny!

Hugot Lines in Visayan Language
Hugot Lines in Visayan Language
They also have a “kumusta imong love life?” (How’s your love life) corner. Guests may pick their fortune from a bowl full of hugot lines which I’m sure anyone could relate to.

Kumusta Imong Lovelife?
Kumusta Imong Lovelife?

Creative and Witty Menu

Boy Zugba also captured my heart with its creative and witty menu. Food on their menu are humorously classified such as Ang Fried of CDO, Do it… Pancit!, Sizzle Bebeh!, Bagetz Meal and Wow Sabaw!

Here is the complete Boy Zugba Menu:


Since I visited the restaurant during dinner, I ordered Oppa Gambas Style (299 Php). It is basically Boy Zugba’s version of the Filipino dish Gambas.

Oppa Gambas Style
Oppa Gambas Style Boy Zugba
It was a surprise that the sizzling Oppa Gambas Style is served with button mushrooms (which are my favorite) and bell peppers. Shrimps are bigger than the usual Gambas which are good. The sauce is just perfect for the generous amount of shrimps.The serving of this yummy dish is actually good for 2 persons.

What's your plan, Leche Flan?
What’s your plan, Leche Flan?
For my dessert, I ordered “What’s your plan, Leche flan?” (49 Php). The presentation of this typical Filipino dessert was unexpected and cool!

Highly Recommended Restaurant in CDO

If you are travelling to Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental, make sure to visit Boy Zugba. The ambiance is cool, service is good and food is great! If you are a backpacker or a budget traveller, need not to worry as they have budget meals too!

Boy Zugba Operating Hours: Open from 11 AM to 11 PM on weekdays and 11 AM to 12 AM on weekends.

Boy Zugba Contact Numbers (They also have a branch at Centrio Mall CDO.)

  • Corrales (088) 880-5555 / 0917-7722450
  • Centrio (088) 859-0115 / 0917-7721834


Affordable Resort in Camiguin Island – Marianita’s Cottages

Marianita's Cottages Camiguin Philippines

If you are planning to visit the beautiful Camiguin province, there is a number of resorts and accommodations in the island. For luxury travelers, there are high-end but expensive resorts such as Balai sa Baibai and Guerrera Rice Paddy Villas. On the other hand, for budget travelers, you may stay at GV Hotel Camiguin or The Yellow House in Camiguin. There are also mid-range resorts if you want comfort and convenience, one of which is my highly recommended resort – Marianita’s Cottages.

beachfront rooms at Marianita's Cottages
beachfront rooms at Marianita’s Cottages

Peaceful and Quiet Location

Marianita’s Cottages is situated along Camiguin Circumferential Road, Mambajao, Camiguin. It is ideally located in the center of Yumbing bay ad just across Camiguin’s white island. The resort is 7 kilometers away from Mambajao proper which makes its surroundings more peaceful and quiet.

non-beachfront rooms
non-beachfront rooms
The resort’s proximity to various Camiguin island tourist spots is also an advantage. The port going to Camiguin’s famous white island is just 2 minute multicab/tricycle away from Marianita’s cottages. Marianita’s Cottages is also close to many restaurants and food places in Mambajo. It is also 10 minutes away from Camiguin airport.

Very Clean and Well-Maintained Resort

Surprisingly, Marianita’s Cottages is very clean. The resort’s real estate may be limited but the location of rooms, reception and the beachfront area were artistically and carefully planned. Each room has its own balcony with a dinette set. Cool signages can be seen pointing to the cottages and the beach. The beach front cottages are just few steps away from the mini bar and beach beds.

The spacious rooms are very clean, simple yet stylish. I personally loved the bed and pillows. The lines and pillow cases are very clean and are of high quality. They’re very comfortable and can be at par with that of high-end resorts. The flooring is also something unique and special. The air-conditioned rooms also comes with a cable LCD TV, free WiFi, mini sofa, dresser, basic toiletries and personal refrigerator. If you want some snacks or drinks, the refrigerator is packed with snacks, bottled water, juices and beers. The stylish toilet and bath is also very clean and comes with a hot and cold shower.

Marianita’s Cottages Room Rates

Marianita’s Cottages room rates are very affordable. Below are the published room rates of this Camiguin resort:

  • Standard Room (fan) for 2 PAX- 1,200 Php (24 USD)
  • Superior Room (Air Conditioned) for 2 PAX – 1,500 Php (30 USD)
  • Beach Front Room (Air Conditioned) for 2 PAX – 1,800 Php (36 USD)
  • Front Beach Suite (Air Conditioned) for up to 4 PAX – 2,100 Php (42 USD)

Tip: Rates are cheaper if you book online HERE. I was able to book the Superior Room (non-beachfront room) few hours before checking-in  at 1,400 Php instead of 1,500 Php. Rates are cheaper if you book ahead of your Camiguin visit.

Highly Recommended Camiguin Resort

I would highly recommend Marianita’s Cottages to anyone who is visiting Camiguin island. The rooms and the entire resort are very clean and well-maintained. The receptionists Bem-bem and Jen along with the owner are very friendly and accommodating. I had my Camiguin island tour during my second day in the island. I had to check-out before 12 PM, left my backpack in the resort and continued with my tour. When I returned to Marianita’s, they were so kind to even offer me free use of their shower. They truly know what customer service is!

Marianita’s Cottages

Contact Number: +639171045304

Address: Purok 2- Yumbing, National Highway 9100 Mambajao, Camiguin

Online Booking HERE


Cheap Accommodation in Butuan City – Gloreto Guest House

Reception Area

If you are visiting the Philippine’s Caraga region and will be staying in Butuan, there is a number of hotels and accommodations in the city. You may stay in a classy but expensive Butuan Grand Palace Hotel, Hotel Oazis or Almont City Hotel. If you are a backpacker or budget traveler, choose Gloreto Guest House as it has the cheapest rates for an overnight stay in Butuan City.

Gloreto Guest House Butuan City
Gloreto Guest House Butuan City

Gloreto Guest House Location

Gloretyo Guest House is located in Ilang-Ilang st., Ochoa Ave., Butuan City. This cheap Butuan city accommodation is just a few minute multicab ride away from Butuan bus terminal, Butuan National Museum and Gaisano mall. If you are coming from Butuan’s Bancasi airport, Gloreto Guest House can also be reached via multicab.

Gloreto Guest House Butuan Published Room Rates

  • Matrimonial Bed (Queen Size)  1099.00 P
  • Single Bed 799.00 Php
  • Twin Bed  999.00 Php

Tip: Book your discounted Gloreto Guest House room HERE.  I only paid 642.50 Php instead of 799 Php for a Single Bed room.

Warm Welcome

After a long bus-ride from Hinatuan in Surigao del Sur, I arrived in Butuan bus terminal at 4:50 PM. I took a special multicab trip (50 Php) to Gloreto Guest House and arrived at exactly 5:00 PM. I immediately headed to the reception area and was warmly welcomed by the receptionists.

Reception Area
Reception Area

Single Bed Room

The receptionist assigned me to a single bed room on the second level of the hotel. The room smells good and is generally clean. It comes with an air-conditioning unit, an old-fashioned cable TV and a mini table that can serve as a work area. The bed and one pillow are just okay. Basic toiletries such as shampoo, soap and bath towel are provided.

Single Bed
Single Bed

I was good with the room but the toilet and bath surprised me. There is an issue with the toilet flush and the faucet needs to be replaced. Good thing is that there is a hot and cold shower with an okay-ish water pressure. I could not complain and reminded myself that I was in a budget hotel.

Related Blog Post: Budget Hotel in Iloilo City: 88 Plaza Hotel

Overall, I was fine it with it. The room is clean and I had a good night sleep.

Missed Complimentary Breakfast

Gloreto Guest House Butuan offers complimentary breakfast from 6:30 AM to 9:00 AM. Since I was too tired from my Hinatuan trip, I woke up past 9:00 AM the next day. Well, I missed the complimentary breakfast!

Related Blog Post: How to get to Enchanted River from Manila + Itinerary, Budget, Travel Tips

Surprisingly, one of the staff knocked on my door and asked if I want the breakfast. It made my morning since I will not have to spend for breakfast outside.

Complimentary Breakfast
Complimentary Breakfast

I was very thankful to the staff for the room-serviced complimentary breakfast.

Recommended Budget Hotel in Butuan City

Gloreto Guest House is definitely not the best hotel in Butuan City but it is the cheapest and most affordable. The room is clean and customer service is superb. You will not need to worry about your security as there is a guard manning in the hotel. If you are a backpacker or a budget traveller, I would definitely recommend Gloreto Guest House.

  • Gloreto Guest House Butuan City
  • Online booking (discounted rates) HERE
  • Address: Ilang-Ilang st. Ochoa Ave. Butuan City
    Contact Number:  (085) 816-0701

Accommodation near Enchanted River Surigao – Marky’s Hostel

Enchanted River, Hinautuan, Surigao del Sur

Being one among the long list of beautiful places in the Philippines, Enchanted River in Hinatuan Surigao del Sur is truly a promising tourist attraction and travel destination in the country.

Enchanted River, Hinautuan, Surigao del Sur
Enchanted River, Hinautuan, Surigao del Sur

Due to the local government’s efforts in protecting and preserving Enchanted River, there are no accommodations within the river’s vicinity. However, there is a number of accommodations, lodges and inns in Hinatuan proper. One of which is the highly recommended by backpackers and travel bloggers – Marky’s Hostel.

Note: Hinatuan is a small laid-back town in Surigao del Sur. So don’t expect hotels or high-end resorts in the area.

Marky’s Hostel is just few minutes away from Hinatuan terminal. This Hinatuan accommodation is perfect for budget travelers and backpackers for their very affordable and cheap rates.

Marky’s Hostel Room Rates

  • 400 fan room good for 2
  • 1500 aircon room good for 6
Marky's Hostel in Hinatuan
Marky’s Hostel in Hinatuan

The hip and cool facade of Marky’s Hostel makes it stand out among other accommodations in Hinatuan. From outside, it appears to be very clean and well maintained.

Warm Welcome

When I arrived at Marky’s Hostel, the owner immediately welcomed me with a smile. He shared some tips and information about Enchanted River and other Surigao del Sur tourist attractions such as Tinuy-an Falls and Licbuacan cold springs.

Related blog post: How to get to Enchanted River from Manila + Itinerary, Budget and Travel Trips

We further exchanged stories. I mentioned that I’m a travel blogger and also came to know about Marky’s Hostel thru Ms. Gael’s blog It was nice that he knows about the internet specifically blogs. Since I’m traveling alone, he was so kind to give me a discounted rate of 200 Pesos instead of 400 Pesos for a fan room.

Very Clean and Well-Maintained

kitchen area and toilet and bath
kitchen area and toilet and bath

True enough, once you get inside, Marky’s Hostel is very clean and well maintained. There is a common area with dining table where guests can eat or simply hang-out. There are 2 separate toilet and bath, for men and for women.  I learned from Sir Anselmo that Marky’s Hostel was originally planned to be a house for rent but was turned into a Hostel when tourists started pouring in because of Enchanted River. This is the reason why they were unable to place toilet and bath in each room.

Marky’s Hostel Fan Room

fan room at Marky's Hostel
fan room at Marky’s Hostel

I have to admit that I did not really expect anything since the room is cheaply priced. Surprisingly, the room is very clean and well maintained. The matress and pillows were comfortable. The room is well ventilated and I never had a hard time sleeping given that I had a fan room.

Highly Recommended Accommodation Near Enchanted River

I enjoyed my stay in Marky’s Hostel. The owners, tatay Anselmo and nanay Lumen were very welcoming and accommodating. They were more like a family to their guests. They ensure that you enjoy your stay in Hinatuan and are always willing and available to chat and share stories with you.

The hostel is also strategically located as it is few minute tricycle, pedicab or habal-habal away from Hinatuan bus terminal. There are also nearby cheap food places (cartenderia) such as Leng-Leng and Drawde’s Tudlo Hakop.

Note: Since Marky’s Hostel and other Hinatuan accommodations, lodges and inns are situated in Hinatuan proper, travel time from Marky’s Hostel to Enchanted River is approximately 30 minutes by habal-habal. For my complete Enchanted River Itinerary, visit link below.

How to get to Enchanted River from Manila + Itinerary, Budget and Travel Trips

Marky’s Hostel 

  • Adress: Poblacion Hinatuan, Maharlika, Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur
  • Contact Numbers: 0915 2009017 / 0905 3879319

This blog post is part of my Surigao del Sur and Camiguin trip last September 2017.

How to get to Enchanted River from Manila + Itinerary , Budget and Travel Tips

Enchanted River in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur

The majestic Enchanted River is located in municipality of Hinatuan in the province of Surigao del Sur. If you are planning to visit Enchanted River, unfortunately, there is no airport in Surigao del Sur. However, Enchanted River is accessible via Cagayan de Oro City, Davao City or Butuan City airport. Geographically, the Bancasi airport in Butuan is the nearest airport to Enchanted River.

How to get to Enchanted River from Manila

1. Manila City to Butuan City

Bancasi Airport, Butuan City (Agusan del Norte)
Bancasi Airport, Butuan City (Agusan del Norte)

The fastest route to Enchanted River is via Butuan Airport. Book a flight from Manila to Butuan. The Philippine based budget airline Cebu Pacific has 3 flights daily from Manila to Butuan. Alternatively, you may also book your Butuan flight via Philippine Airlines. Travel time is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Tip: Book the earliest flight to Butuan so that you’ll arrive in Hinatuan on or before noon time.

2. Butuan City to Hinatuan (Surigao del Sur)

Once you arrive in Butuan’s Bancasi Airport, you may ride a bus or van to Hinatuan terminal.

Butuan Bus Terminal
Butuan Bus Terminal

By bus – From Bancasi airport, just locate the multicabs in the area and tell the driver that you are going to Butuan bus terminal. Fare is 10 Php per person. In Butuan terminal, ride a bus (Bachelor bus lines) bound to Bislig. Just tell the driver to drop you off the Hinatuan terminal. Bus fare is approximately 200 Php and travel time is 5 to 7 hours.

By van – Walk few meters from the Bancasi airport’s departure area and you will find vans bound to several municipalities and cities. Just look for the van headed to Bislig or ask the driver if the van is passing through Hinatuan Terminal. Fare is 350 Php and travel time is approximately 4 to 5 hours.

Since I didn’t want to waste time, I decided to ride a van instead of a bus. I soon later regretted it as the van had numerous stopovers, just like the buses. I also learned from the owner of Marky’s Hostel, the accommodation where I stayed during my Hinatuan visit, that vans do not provide accident insurance to its passengers unlike with buses.

Tip: If you are on a budget and after security and safety, ride a bus going to Hinatuan. Note though that most of the buses are non-airconditioned.

3. Hinatuan Terminal to Enchanted River

Hinatuan Terminal, Surigao del Sur
Hinatuan Terminal, Surigao del Sur

In Hinatuan terminal, habal-habal drivers will approach you and offer their service to Enchanted River. A two-way trip from Hinatuan terminal to Enchanted River costs 300 Php good for 2 persons. Habal-habal travel time to Enchanted River from Hinatuan terminal is approximately 30 minutes.

Enchanted River in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur
Enchanted River in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur

Tip: You may also arrange Tinuy-an trip with your habal-habal driver for an additional price. In my case I paid 1,200 Pesos for Enchanted River and Tinuy-an falls trip. I was offered a cheaper rate than the standard tour rate which is 1,500 Pesos.

Enchanted River Entrance Fee + Other Fees

[table id=2 /]

Since I’m alone, I did not rent for a shed or a cottage. I just paid the 40 Php for the entrance fee including the environmental fee.

Enchanted River Operating Hours

Note that the river is open to the public daily from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM only.

Tip:  Plan your visit on a weekday and during the morning. The area gets crowded during weekends and during noon time and afternoon.

Enchanted River Itinerary and Budget

[table id=1 /]

Related Blog Post: Accommodation near Enchanted River Surigao – Marky’s Hostel

Other travel tips / Things to consider

  • There are no ATMs in Hinatuan. Ensure to bring enough money before traveling for Enchanted River.
  • You can do Enchanted River and Tinuy-an falls in one day.  It is highly recommended to spend a night in Hinatuan to rest.
  • The mobile and internet signal in Hinatuan proper are fairly decent but expect poor internet signal in Enchanted river and Tinuy-an falls.
  • Habal-habal can only accommodate 2 persons. Hire multiple habal-habal if you are travelling in a group.
  • Swimming is allowed on a certain part of the river. Local tourism has prohibited swimming in the deeper part (darker blue) of the river to ensure that fishes are protected.
  • Do not wear sunblock if you are planning to swim in the river. Locals say that sunscreens can be toxic to the fishes and other sea creatures in the river.
  • And, please include your habal-habal driver in your lunch or snacks. If you have spare money, give them tips. The tourism industry in Surigao del Sur is struggling since the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao.

List of Siquijor Resorts, Accommodations, Hotels, Lodges and Pension Houses

Breathtaking Cambugahay falls

Siquijor Island is one among the underrated Philippine tourist destination amongst Filipinos. When we visited the island, we were surprised that Siquijor is becoming a popular travel destination to foreign tourists specifically to Europeans. If you are planning to visit the breathtaking province of Siquijor, there is  a good number of resorts, accommodations, lodges, pension houses and even home stays in the island.

Note that the below list is from Siquijor Provincial Tourism Office as of January 1, 2017. I highly recommend to book your Siquijor resort or accommodation prior to your trip as most these resorts and accommodations get fully booked both peak and non-peak season. I have included in the list the  online booking facility of some resorts.

List of  resorts, accommodations, hotels, lodges, pension houses, home stays in Siquijor Island Philippines

There are various municipalities in Siquijor Island. The list below is arranged by municipalities.

Municipality of Siquijor, Siquijor

Swiss Star Guest House & Restaurant

Owner: Geri & Aurelia Luginbuhl

Location: Pangi, Siquijor

Contact Number: +63 9274473010

Room Rates:

  • Aircon room 2 single beds: 950 Php
  • Aircon room with king size bed: 650 Php
  • Fan single room: 400 Php – 500 Php – 780 Php
  • Aircon single room: 500 Php

Villa Marmarine

Owner Toshito Harada

Contact Numbers: +63 9194659370

Room Rates:

Hifumi – aircon: 3,000

Blue Wave Inn Beach Resort & Restaurant

Location: Dumanhog, Siquijor

Contact Person: Venus Santarin

Owner: Edilberto Bravo

Contact Number: +63 4809190 / +63 9209826995

  • Economy: 1,150 Php
  • Standard: 1,600 Php
  • Deluxe: 2,200 Php
  • Superior: 2,500 Php
  • Entrance fee – consumable for swimming with dining only: 250 Php

Blue Wave Inn discounted room rates HERE.

Diamond de Siquijor

Contact Person: Leothy Siangco

Location: Calalinan, Siquijor

Contact Numbers: +63 950 127156 / +63 4805533

  • Aircon room for 2 PAX: 1,050 Php – 1380 Php
  • Fan room for 2 PAX: 650 Php – 1,100

All rooms have toilet & bathroom. Free breakfast for airconditioned rooms only.

Replica Manor

Owner: Mary Ann Jumawan

Contact Numbers: +63 9298401358

Location: Dumanhog, Siquijor

  • Aircon room for 2 PAX: 850 Php
  • Fan room for 2 PAX: 650 Php
  • Family room for 4 to 5 PAX: 400 Php per PAX, 200 Php for extra person

Tori’s Paradise

Owner: Ria Limatoc

Location: Dumanhog, Siquijor

Contact Number: +63 9122095781

  • Beach view room for 2 PAX (fan): 650 Php
  • Beach view room for 2 PAX (aircon): 1,250 Php
  • Family room for 6 PAX (aircon): 3,200 Php
  • Family room for 4 PAX (aircon): 2000 Php
  • Mixed dormitory: 300 Php

Tori’s Paradise discounted room rates HERE.

Das Traum Guesthouse

Owner: Joy Deandrade

Location: Pangi, Siquijor

  • Aircon room twin bed for 2 PAX: 700 Php
  • Fan troom twin bed for 2 PAX: 350 Php
  • Non aircon room with common toiler & bath for 2 PAX: 250 Php

Guiwanon Spring Park

Contact Number: 0926 4606010

Location: Luyang, Siquijor

  • cottage: 300 Php

Municipality of San Juan, Siquijor

 Salamangka Beach & Dive Resort

Contact Person: Felix or Grace

Contact Number: 09266603534/09175886837

  • Bayview (5 rooms): 5980 Php
  • Oceanview (4 rooms): 9989 Php
  • Garden Cottage (8 rooms): 3480 Php
  • Superior room (4 rooms): 10980 Php

Discounted rates HERE.

Coco Grove Beach and Dive-in Resort

If you are looking for a complete luxurious relaxation in Siquijor Island, Coco Grove Beach and Dive-in Resort is the right place for you. This resort is the largest and has the most number of  rooms compared to other resorts in Siquijor.

entrance of coco grove beach and dive resort entrance of coco grove beach and dive resort

Since we did not reserve a hotel before our Siquijor trip, we walked-in at Coco Grove Beach Resort. Unfortunately, this hotel/resorts easily gets fully booked both peak and non-peak season.

Coco Beach Resort online booking HERE


Backpacking 3 Negros Occidental cities in 6 hours (Bacolod, Talisay and Silay)

Lacson Ruins

Bacolod City is the capital province of Negros Occidental. Pegged as the city of smiles, Bacolod is home of the famous annual Maskarra Festival held every October. If you are travelling Negros Occidental, make sure to visit Bacolod and its nearby cities as the region is not only popular for warm and friendly people but is also rich in culture and heritage.

Having a limited time backpacking could be challenging. Well, this happened during my Bacolod trip.   I had to tour around the area from morning until early afternoon as I had to be in Dumaguete the same day. Coming from Iloilo City, I took the earliest possible fastcraft from Iloilo to Bacolod. I arrived in Bacolod port at around 8:30 AM. (related: How to get to Bacolod from Iloilo)

8:30 AM – From Bacolod Port to Nowhere

I was clueless which way to go when I arrived in Bacolod port. I just rode one of the jeepneys waiting in the port and made sure that it was headed to the city proper. While in the jeepney, I started googling and checking tripadvisor for tourist attractions in Bacolod and nearby cities. I was lucky enough to have seated to very welcoming and friendly locals. They  gave me tips on what to visit and where to go in Bacolod. It happens that the nearest tourist spot from the port is the famous “Lacson Ruins” in Talisay City.

me with some locals
me with some locals

As instructed by one of the locals, I disembarked in Bacolod north bus terminal (Ceres Terminal) in Lacson street and took a cab instead of tricycle. A special tricycle trip from the main road to the site of Lacson Ruins would be more expensive than taking a cab. I hailed a cab from Bacolod north bus terminal and arranged a two-way trip from the terminal to Lacson Ruins. 300 Php was not bad for a two-way trip considering that the taxi driver will have to wait for me while touring Lacson Ruins. Note that the ruins is quite far from the main road and there are rarely taxis or tricycles that would bring you back to the main road.

9 AM – Lacson Ruins in Talisay City

I was very excited to check-out the Lacson Ruins as it is one of the most photographed tourist destination in Negros Occidental. I asked the taxi driver to come with me inside Lacson Ruins since he hasn’t been inside the complex. Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of leaving him outside the parking area while I’m touring around the vicinity of Lacson Ruins. Luckily, the attendant was very nice that he let my taxi driver in for free.  I also paid the discounted rate of 50 Php for PWD instead of a 100 Php regular rate.

Lacson Ruins
Lacson Ruins

Lacson Ruins or also known as The Ruins is said to be the Taj Majal of Negros and os one among the 12 fascinating ruins in the world. The ruins is said to be the remains of the burnt mansion of Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson. It was built-in 1920s and was burnt in 1942.

A post shared by Ed Puno (@onearmedwanderer) on

Talisay City to Silay City

Right after touring and taking photos around Lacson Ruins, we headed back to Bacolod north bus terminal. The driver was offering to bring me to Hofilena Museum in Silay city. I refused the offer since it would cost me additional 300 Pesos. Since he dropped me off in the bus terminal, I just asked few locals which bus should I take going to Silay City.

I paid for a 12 Php fare, hopped into the bus and asked the fare collector to drop me off near Hofilena Museum.

A post shared by Ed Puno (@onearmedwanderer) on

The bus dropped-me off in along Rizal street just across an old Spanish architecture building of El Ideal bakery in Silay City. Using google maps, I walked to Hofilena museum which is just three blocks away from El Ideal.

10 AM – Hofilena Museum in Silay City

Hofilena museum is located along Cinco de Noviembre street. Hofilena ancestral house is said to be the 1st house in Silay city to be opened to the public in 1962. It is also the first house in Silay, still inhabited, to be declared as a museum in 1980s.

A post shared by Ed Puno (@onearmedwanderer) on

Hofilena museum is said to be the home of one of the Philippines’ fine art collections such as antiques owned by the Hofilena family.

10:30 AM – Stroll the street of Cinco de Noviembre, Silay City

Since I was already in Cinco de Noiembre street, I decided to stroll along the street. It was fascinating to see that most of the houses are preserved making Silay city a must visit destination for architecture and heritage enthusiasts.

A post shared by Ed Puno (@onearmedwanderer) on

Cinco de Noviembre (5th of November) street was named as such because it is was in November 5, 1898 on the exact place where locals rose in revolt against Spanish.

11.00 AM – Balay Negrense

Also located in Cinco de November street, Balay Negrense is also known as Victor Gaston Ancestral home. This mansion was built using baling hardwood in 1898 and is said to have the most beautiful exterior of any house in Silay.

Balay Negrense Silay City
Balay Negrense Silay City

A post shared by Ed Puno (@onearmedwanderer) on

Balay Negrense entrance fee is 60 Php for adults and 30 Php for children. I paid a 45 Php discounted rate for PWD/senior citizen.

After touring inside Balangay Negrense, I further wandered around Cinco de November and nearby streets. If you are into architecture, culture and heritage, walking around Silay would truly be a delight.

Silly City has 29 heritage houses which are considered today as Negros Occidental’s architectural landmarks.

11:30 AM – Benita Jara Ancestral House, Silay City Hall and Church of San Diego de Alcala

I was ready to head back to Bacolod City and passed by several landmarks.

Benita Jara Ancestral House Silay Negros
Benita Jara Ancestral House Silay Negros


Silay City Hall Negros Occidental
Silay City Hall Negros Occidental


A post shared by Ed Puno (@onearmedwanderer) on

Church of San Diego Alcala was built-in 1925 with the donation of Don Jose de Ledesma. The Italian architech Lucio Bernasconi is benind beautiful architectural design of Church of San Diego de Alcala.

After checking out the beautiful architecture of old houses and landmarks in Silay City, I took a Jeepney headed to Silay terminal which is just across the Bacolod north bus terminal. From there, I rode a jeepney bound SM Bacolod.

12:30 PM – Manokan Country in Bacolod City

Just across SM Bacolod is Manokan County. If you are a foodie traveller, do not dare to miss eating at Manokan Country. This food complex is the best place to fulfill your Bacolod gastronomic adventures. Manokan Country has a wide array open-air restaurants serving Bacolod Insal.

Yummy Chicken Inasal
Yummy Chicken Inasal


I visited one of the many restaurants in Monokan Country. For my full review visit Where to Eat in Bacolod City – Manokan Country.

1:30 PM  – Rest at SM Bacolod

Right after a sumptuous authentic Bacolod inasal meal, I decided to go to SM Bacold to freshen up and relax.  After resting in a coffee shop for about an hour, I hailed a cab and headed to Bacolod South bus terminal where I’ll take a bus going to Dumaguete.

Overall, I enjoyed my short trip to Negros Occidental. I should say that the highlight of my trip was seeing the beautiful architecture of houses in Silay City. Having the authentic Bacolod inasal was also great. I know that there are many tourist attractions in Negros Occidental and I’d definitely return to the province. The next time I visit, I’ll make sure to stay longer and not just wander around the province in 6 hours.