THE ROAD TO SAGADA: Quick Stop at Mount Polis

I’d like to stay longer at Banaue and savored more time with this childhood-dream-come-true experience but there are still other wonders of Cordillera that waited for me and my 11 equally bold friends. Thus, I left Banaue with a promise of coming back. And I promised to see more of what it has to offer.

…and so this Cordillera journey went on! From Banaue, our land trip continued – target destination: the quaint town of Sagada, Mountain Province.

Mount Polis Cordillera (54)As we headed forward, I was beginning to get sleepy. But just as I thought I can just drown myself to sleep, the breathtaking view of the countryside seemed so irresistible I can’t help but make my eyes wide open not miss every single scenery we would pass by. Countless of rice terraces we saw on the road, friendly local waving by, cotton-candy-like fogs were all over – they were so picturesque I can’t afford to miss.

Mount Polis Cordillera (29)Barely an hour since we left Banaue, we found ourselves stopping over at the District Highway Boundary between the provinces of Ifugao and Mountain Province. A signage signaled that the place is called MOUNT POLIS.

Mount Polis Cordillera (40)I haven’t heard of this place nor learned about it from my research. My travel buddies didn’t mention it to me. To my surprise, I learned that Mount Polis is the 3rd highest mountains in the Cordilleras, and 124th in the entire country with an altitude of more than 6,000 feet. What’s more, Mount Polis borders the provinces of Ifugao and Mountain Province.

Mount Polis Cordillera (15)It was the cool and crisp mountain breeze gave me a warm welcome as we got off the van. From a distance, I can see thick fogs covering the misty green mountains both Ifugao and Mountain Province. At one side I saw the giant statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and I hurried for a photo. But of course aside from the giant statue, the place is just scenic and worth some memorable photographs.


The Travel Teller and the Statue of the Blessed Virgin
The Travel Teller and the Statue of the Blessed Virgin
Coffee Station at Mount Polis
Coffee Station at Mount Polis
The Cordillera Highway Camwhore
The Cordillera Highway Camwhore
Clean and Fresh
Clean and Fresh
Mount Polis' simple allure
Mount Polis’ simple allure
CORDILLERA, I worship thee!
CORDILLERA, I worship thee!
The scenic cpuntryside
The scenic countryside
Me and my two constant regular buddies Sarah and Pen
Me and my two constant buddies Sarah and Pen
Photo by: Jade Abulencia
Photo by: Jade Abulencia

Researching now I learned that Emilio Aguinaldo, President of the First Philippine Republic along with his company once passed through this mountain en route from Tirad Pass to Abra province to escape from the American forces during the Philippine-American War.

Mount Polis borders the provinces of Ifugao and Mountain Province.
Mount Polis borders the provinces of Ifugao and Mountain Province.

From Mount Polis, we continued our trail and this time I focused on the sceneries we passed by. I have traveled in some mountainous highways in the country including Mindanao where I hail from but traveling the Cordillera’s is different. It seemed surreal.

Mount Polis Cordillera (25)


 This is The Travel Teller’s Ifugao-Mountain Province-Benguet Diaries

3. THE ROAD TO SAGADA: Quick Stop at Mount Polis


Sunkissed. Sunburnt. Suntanned.

I am writing this post today still bearing the ache of first degree sunburns I’ve got from a long trip I made to one destination in my Island Mindanao that I have long wanted to visit. But these itches and pains are worth it knowing I was able to realize one dream – to finally set foot in the southernmost islands of the whole Davao Region, the three islands of Municipality of Sarangani in Davao Del Sur.


Do not be confused. I am not referring to Manny Pacquiao’s Sarangani Province but to this town more popularly known as Balut Island. 

Have you ever seen a boiling hotspring no one dares to swim or bathe? Have you ever witnessed a huge colony of flyingfox bats flying out of dusk? Or seacows playing freely underwater? Have you ever wandered around to a 17-hectare oval-shape island surrounded purely by sparkling white sands? 

These are the many things to savor and enjoy in the side of the Philippine Archipelago. These are among the many reasons why I got sunkissed, sunburnt, suntanned while relishing every single moment I stayed at Sarangani.



AMAZING THAILAND: A Travel Series To Cherish

Three days. Three Nights. Three Cities. One amazing country. The Kingdom of Thailand. This is The Travel Teller’s recent travel series.

Bangkok. Pattaya. Ayutthaya. These are three of the most important destinations in the central part of the Kingdom of Thailand. Three cities that showcased and shared the most diverse culture, breathtaking sights and wondrous sounds that make up and prove the country’s marketing slogan Amazing Thailand. Known for its cheap but nice hotels in Bangkok, secluded beaches and delicious food, this country if full of unforgettable experiences.

Accompanied by my Canada-based bestfriend Jay Kristoffer Ty and his buddy Shane Heinrich with the help of our childhood friend Lennyl Go and her Thai husband Sanit Isaarat who both served as our tour guides, we toured around the three cities in central Thailand mesmerized by its stunning sceneries and spectacular sights that truly depict and accentuate the rich historical, natural and cultural highlights of the Thai people.

Talking about tourism, Thailand is the leading tourist destination in the whole Southeast Asian region. In fact, tourism is a major economic factor in this country. Thus, as a traveler from ASEAN, I find it essential to visit this part of our region to see and experience its great variety of attractions.

With my travel buddies Jay and Shane with hosts Lennyl and Kaii

In three days and three nights, we got to taste and experience the best of what central Thailand has to offer. These include sandy beaches, varied night-life, archaeological sites, museums, palaces, a huge amount of Buddhist temples and some World Heritage sites. Three days were not enough to see those incredible sights but it was more than enough to claim that we were lured by the magic and spell of Amazing Thailand.


Join me as I chronicle this exciting adventure from my home in Davao City, Philippines to the many interesting places in the coastal City of Pattaya, to the breathtaking temples of the century old Ayutthaya and to the grandeur and majestic that is Bangkok. This is a kind of foreign trip I surely will never forget.

This is “AMAZING THAILAND: A Travel Series To Cherish”.


JAY KRISTOFFER TY – for the best friendship that never ends! Bestfriends FOREVER!
SHANE HEINRICH – for being such a cool and understanding travel buddy. I’ll see you in Canada soon.
LENNYL GO – for being the best host ever. You’re a definition of a true beauty inside and out.
SANIT ISAARAT – for being the best tour guide in the world. I learn to love Thai because of you!

…and from the bottom of my heart, KHA KHUN KRAP!


The Municipality of Dalaguete in Southern Cebu is also a destination of its own. I discovered this when we hurriedly toured around the town before ascending to Osmeña Peak. The town in itself is a heritage site to consider. It is dotted with several historical structures, heritage parks, and old colonial houses that defined the antiquity of this once a sleepy town. The most famous among these structures is the baroque-rococo church of Dalaguete – the Parish Church of San Guillermo de Aquitania.

The institution of Dalaguete as a town started when it became a Visita of Carcar in 1690. It was later established as an independent parish in 1711. The present church today that erected at the town’s Poblacion was constructed in 1802 and was completed in 1825. Following that year, a church rectory was constructed and was finished in 1832. In 1860, a grand octagonal three-story church belfry was also built.

From the inscriptions found on the front door, I learned that in the early 1800s, the church served as a fortification protection of the townspeople against the Moro attacks. In the following years, the church underwent series of renovation and restoration. On April 16, 2004, Parish Church of San Guillermo de Aquitania is declared as National Historical Landmark. Today, it is one of the most well-preserved baroque-rococo churches in the whole Province of Cebu.

Dalaguete’s San Guillermo de Aquitania Church is a significant example of Filipino-Spanish great architecture and now one of the few remaining grand church-fortress complexes in the Philippines. 

Traveling to Dalaguete made me see how blessed the Province of Cebu is being home of the different heritage sites to boast in the country. In fact, it makes the town worth seeing and discovering. Visiting the town is very easy. It is two hours away from Cebu City. There are no classy hotels to stay here. If you’re the type of a traveler looking for posh hotels, you cannot find it in Dalaguete. But rest assured all the destinations that await for you there will definitely take your breath away. 

DALAGUETE is the Summer Capital and Vegetable Basket of Cebu Province

Aside from historical places and heritages sites, there are other destinations worth visiting when in this southern town of Cebu. Being the Summer Capital and Vegetable Basket of the Province, Dalaguete is host to some of Cebu’s remaining natural heritage sites – breathtaking mountain ranges with its chilling natural breeze, enchanting forest patches that are home to some of the world’s most endangered flora and fauna, and coral reefs teeming with diverse marine life.

Mantalongon Highlands, the gateway to Osmeñs Peak

MOST OF ALL, Dalaguete is the gateway to reach Cebu’s highest point – the photogenic OSMEÑA PEAK. Watch out for my next post.

Getting to Dalaguete From Cebu City
One can find the Municipality of Dalaguete in the Southern part of the beautiful Island Province of Cebu.  Once you arrive in Mactan International Airport, just call for a taxi or a vehicle for hire to bring you to the Cebu South Bus Terminal. From the terminal, choose any of the buses available:

Air-conditioned Vehicles:
– Ceres Bus Liner
– Sunrays Bus Liner

Non Air-conditioned Vehicles:
– Ceres Bus Liner
– Sunrays Bus Liner
– Natalie Bus Liner
– Villahermosa Bus Liner
– D Rough Riders Bus Liner

The Travel Teller with the Locales of Dalaguete


Two years ago, when I was planning holidays in Borneo, I listed several must-see places based on my research from the internet. Most of those are within Kota Kinabalu, the heart of the tropical island of Borneo. Just when I thought everything on the list is superb, my unplanned adventure to Kinabatangan River outside of Kota Kinabalu as recommended by some locals proved that there is more to discover, more to explore than relying everything on the internet. Tip of advice, just ask the locals.

The same thing happened during my South Cebu trip. If I never asked a local about other spectacular destinations other than what’s on our list, I would have no inkling of how exciting South Cebu can be. Just like the ones in Alcoy. If I never asked what lies ahead there, I would never have a clue that there is one beach in this town endowed with crystal clear blue sea and sparkling white sands so beautiful yet open to the public. They call this – the Tingko Beach.

Highly recommended by the locals, Tingko Beach was our next stop after our informational tour at Boljoon. And so from Boljoon, we took a bus bound for Alcoy. As we traveled our way to our destination, the inviting coastal view of Southern Cebu made me more thrilled to see this spot. I remembered how excited the local was while narrating beauty of this beach. I should find that out, I said to myself.

After twenty minutes of traveling, the bus conductor signaled we were already at Tingko Beach. As we dropped off, the midday sea breeze gently caressing my suntanned skin was the first thing that I noticed. “Oh the beach, I can feel the touch of the beach”, I thought. Excited, we followed the trail from the main road going exactly to the shores of Tingko Beach. In just a minute or two, we found ourselves marveling at one of the finest white sand public beaches in the Southern Cebu.

Tingko Beach boasts of its extensive stretch of arcing shoreline, about a mile long with sparkling powdery white sand and crystal clear blue water. Adjacent to the shoreline are lined up coconut palm grooves and some limestone cliffs attributing more to the beauty of the beach.

Stunned by what I saw, I put down my backpack and hurried to the shores. We were so lucky there were only a number of beach goers that day. That meant the beach can be ours as along we wanted it. Not wasting a second, I took every opportunity photographing every inch of this paradise. The view was just so implausible. More than its picturesque seascape, the tranquility of Tingko Beach is so infectious. Being on the road almost sleepless for two days was really exhausting but seeing the serene beauty of this beach awakened my senses. I felt so recharged.

Talking to some local beach goers there, I learned that the beach is so famous among the locals of Alcoy including its neighboring towns. It becomes even crowded during weekends where beach lovers from different places, locals and foreigners alike, flock to enjoy the sand, sea and sun. Although a public beach, Tingko retains its clean and sparkling environment apt for swimming or just bumming around. At nearby limestone cliffs, I noticed numbers of charming white houses and stunning arrays of nipa huts specially built for visiting guests who want to spend overnight or stay for a short vacation.

Still overwhelmed by the enticing allure of Tingko Beach, we stayed there for a couple of minutes trying to memorize everything it has to offer. I wished I had the luxury of time I could stay there even for a week, I muttered to myself. But only in my dreams, I added.

After luxuriating ourselves by the marvelous seascape before us, we decided to move on and head off for our next destination! Thanks to the helpful locals of Cebu, it was not on our list but we’ve made it. We had a taste of Tingko Beach! It was such a lovely public beach!

TRAVELING TO ALCOY: The Municpality of Alcoy can be reached in less than two hours from Cebu City. Buses that travel to the Southern part of Cebu province including Alcoy are all stationed at Cebu South Bus Terminal.