A Visit to CDO and Iligan - Day 1: Panagatan Restaurant
Our water rafting activity ended at past 1 in the afternoon. After dressing up, we are now going to eat lunch at Panagatan restaurant – a floating – like / seaside restaurant. Hehe. 
Another resto beside Panagatan
We ordered buttered chicken which I think is the house specialty. I love the breading. It’s not the typical super crunchy chicken skin that I usually eat. It’s soft, yummy and not salty. Hehe. Definitely a must-try.
We also ordered fish (I forgot what kind). It’s more delicious when dipped in a soy sauce with chilli and calamansi. 
We also got Gambas. Actually, I was surprised when the dish was served because I was expecting a shrimp sautéed in oil with lots of chilli and garlic. But theirs is unique – small shrimps dipped in sweet red sauce with small slices of chilli. I didn’t like it that much though, but not bad to give it a try.
We ordered for plain rice, soft drinks for Boyps and his Dad and I got their calamansi juice. Their calamansi juice is too sour. I think they forgot to put a little sugar on it.
Overall, I enjoyed having lunch with Boyps, his family, the wind and sea @ Panagatan. My food and nature tripping have just started. =D

Panagatan Restaurant
Opol, Cagayan de Oro City
A Visit to CDO and Iligan - Day 1: White Water Rafting
Let's have a break of my Taiwan Adventure. I just want to share my latest out of town trip with Boyps. Last January, we booked a flight bound to Cagayan de Oro for another 4-day vacation. We'll just have 1 day in CDO and the rest will be spent in Iligan - Boyps hometown. I've always wanted to go to their place for a visit and tour as well that's why I immediately said yes when he invited me to go there with him. We were at the airport as early as 4AM since our scheduled departure is at 6:05AM. We arrived in CDO at 730AM - still on time even if our flight was a bit delayed (good job captain =D)

Our first itinerary is to try White Water Rafting. Ever since I saw this sport, I said to myself that I must try it. I'm not into an extreme sport (or any sport at all. haha) so it's more of an experience for me to go extreme. Boyps do the contacting but I did the reservation. haha. He's stressed because his contact is not replying and if they do, only 1 question is answered. hehe. So I decided to text the number posted in the internet and they're constantly replying. I also called them but let Boyps do the talking since they are more comfortable speaking Bisaya language. Boyps is also complaining why the contact is not replying when he's the one texting, but when it's me, Kuya is replying back immediately (well not all the time, but at least :p).

Rafting Experience
We waited for a jeepney with 2 rafts on top. Everytime we saw 1 passing, we keep on saying "naku baka ayan na yan". So I texted Kuya Gary and told him that we are waiting at the exit area of CDO airport. After 30mins of waiting, 1 jeepney stopped in front of us and introduced themselves as our guides. Since Boyp's dad brought a car, we had to park it at the finish line. Then we transferred to the jeepney so we can go to the starting line of this water adventure. we dressed up, put on the head gears and floaters, listen to the briefing and we're now ready to conquer the Cagayan de Oro river. The guide always reminds us to listen to his commands. What we usually hear from him are "5 front paddle", "back paddle", "stop stop", "high five" and "picture picture". 

High Five
Forward Paddle

We only tried the Beginner's Course which has 14 rapids. But there are plenty of rapids waiting for your raft. haha. Some of the names of the rapids I remember are, Kris drop (it's the name of the last person who fell on that rapid), dan drop, surpise, rapids with 3 ways - brave way, coward's way and no way, kiss the wall and the last rapid. Haha, I just can't stop laughing whenever Kuya throws a joke like "kita mo ba yang batong yan:.. me answering yes,, he replied back. "ako din". "KG: sorry laging 5 paddles lang tayo, hanggang dun lang kasi kaya kong bilangin e" Corny but funny for me. There is fear and excitement every time we are reaching the rapids. The water is so cold and calm that I love to go down the raft and swim. Just lie down and you'll go with the flow. After more than 2 hours of rafting, I just found myself saying "Yes" when kuya said that we're now approaching the last rapid. 

 Back Shot

I had another summer blast because of this experience. Thanks to the Kuyas (Gary, Richard, Joel) who consistently makes the whole trip fun and alive. I also salute our official photographer, Kuya Keith, for the good photos.
The Kuyas

Safety Tips:
  • Follow your leader's commands. He keeps on saying that the person who does not paddle are the ones who usually falls on the water
  • Keep your foot on the foot lock
  • Hold your paddle in a way that it will not hit the person near you when your attacked by the waves
  • Wear your head gears and floaters properly
  • Put on sun block or wear long sleeves to avoid sunburn (I bought those sleeves that most tricycle drivers used)
  • Sandals is better than slippers

Rate: 700 per person
Picture: 250
[sample pictures above :) 2 thumbs up Kuya Keith!]
Contact Details:
Kuya Gary

Taiwan Adventure: The Hotel
I had a bad experience staying at a hostel so I told Boyps to stay in a hotel this time. I don’t know the difference between the 2 except for the stars and price. Hehe. All I want is to have an accommodation that is in good location and free of pests.  After all the research and inquiries, I’m down with 2 options – Star beauty Hotel (near Shilin Night Market) and TS Hotel (Ximending Area). Rates in Star Beauty are much cheaper than TS but most of the reviews really favored the other so we chose TS hotel.

1. TS hotel has nice and clean rooms. I booked for 1 twin bedroom for Mar 5-6 and 1 double room for 7-8. Twin bedroom is only available on those dates so we have to book another room. 
2. Complimentary supplies are provided daily. 
3. They also have accommodating and friendly staffs. We had problems with our NTD because we have their old bills thus they are not accepting it anymore. The receptionist guy volunteered to accompany us to Bank of Taiwan to exchange our money with the new NTD. 
4. Location. They are located near food stalls, shops and Ximen MRT station. 
5. They also arranged airport pickup to and from hotel. Rates are 1200 (from airport to hotel) and 1100 (from hotel to airport)

Not so Good:
1. Slow response time on emails. I have to wait for at least 3 days before I can get their replies. I even tried to call them but they just told me to communicate with them thru email. 
2. Very few of them can understand and speak English. Whenever we have questions or we ask for directions, they’re having a hard time explaining. They will start with English but eventually end up speaking their language. Thanks to Boyps who can speak and understand Chinese (not sure if it’s Mandarin, but Boyps said mixed). :p 
3. Few variety of food for breakfast. We ate the same food set for 4 days. If I’m not mistaken, there’s a new viand served on our 4th day but can’t remember what it is. J

Overall, I enjoyed my stay in this Hotel. There’s no perfect accommodation but clean rooms and nice people that provide great service are enough reasons to make customers go back. So despite all the not so good things about this hotel, TS will always be part of my hotel option list on my next visit to Taiwan.

Twin Room: NTD2480 - Discounted Price (NTD4560 Original Price)

Double Room: NTD1880 - Discounted Price (NTD3360 - Original Price)

TS Hotel
No. 170-172, HanZhong St., Taipei (near ChangSha St.)

Taiwan Adventure: The Preparation
It has always been my dream to go to places I've never been to. I grab every travel opportunity may it be domestic or international. I started to travel international last Mar 2010. Since then, my cravings for out of the country vacations have increased terribly :p
Last Mar 5, 2011, Boyps and I flew to Taipei, Taiwan for a 4 - day vacation. Boyps actually did the itinerary planning and I completed the hotel reservation. The ticket was booked as early as November 2010 if I’m not mistaken and the itinerary was completed a week before the departure date. There are so many places that we wanted to visit but it seems like 4 days is not enough to do them all so we eliminate some of the activities. 
Taiwan requires Filipino citizens holding a Philippine passport to have a visa upon entry. Here are some tips / procedures that we did for visa application and processing.

Visa Requirements:
Ø  Passport – valid for at least 6 months
Ø  Completed application form – downloaded from http://www.boca.gov.tw
Ø  2 Taiwan Visa ID - must be taken within the last 6 months
Ø  Supporting documents (listed below are the papers that we presented)
·         Birth Certificate issued by NSO
·         Income Tax Return (ITR)
·         Bank Statement / Bank Certificate
·         Flight Tickets
·         Certificate of Employment (COE)
·         Hotel Reservation Confirmation
·         Photocopy of all of this.
·         Valid ID (please bring any government issued ID for deposit at TECO reception)

We arrived at RCBC at exactly 8AM (Feb 11) but the receptionist told us that the office will open at 830. Since we're too early, we decided to have breakfast first and go back at exactly 830 to avoid long queues. We line up and register but the receptionist told us to get a number first at the open area of RCBC. But we didn’t see anyone distributing numbers so we went back to the lady receptionist. After getting the numbers from her, we proceed  immediately to the 41st floor.

We asked for new application form at Information window so we can have the latest copy/version of the form. We fill up the form and wait for our turn. Once called, we presented the documents at the window then wait again to be called for payment. The cashier will call your name, proceed to the cashier window, pay for the visa application (PHP 2, 400 for single entry) and then take the receipt. Finish! :D They will return your passport after 3 working days with your visa attached.

We went back last Feb 16 to get our Passport (and hoping that visa application got approved :p). We arrived at 120PM and we're kinda early again because distribution starts at 130PM. We register first at the reception and went to the open area again because numbers will be distributed there (this time it’s for real :p) Names will be called for number distribution.

We proceed at 41st floor and wait for our number to be flashed on the screen. Yipee, We got our Passport with our tourist visa attached to it. They also returned our birth certificate and ITR.
Visa Application Time: 8:45-11:45
Visa Releasing Time: 1:30-4:50
Visa must be used 1 month after the date of issuance.
TAIPEI, Economic and Cultural Office (TECO), Taiwan, R.O.C.
41F, Tower 1, RCBC Plaza, 6819 Ayala Avenue, Makati City

Check out this sites for more details: