I’d Like To Visit…

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Everyone has their own “Top Places To Visit” and so, I’m going to share mine too! 🙂 These are the local and international places that I would like to visit for this year; hopefully, I’d be able to visit them ALL. I know that the expense will be my greatest hindrance here, but hey! If there’s a will there’s a way. 😛

1. Masbate Province, Philippines

Photo grabbed from: http://www.idreamedofthis.com/

I first found out how wonderful and what Masbate can offer is through the blog post HERE’S WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT MASBATE. of my personal friend and a fellow blogger as well, Simon Gonzaga. I wasn’t really interested in visiting Masbate until I’ve seen his post. Now, it’s number one on my list! Thanks for sharing it and inspiring me, Kuya! 🙂 Then another friend of mine went to Masbate recently and posted his photo of the Milky Way! I repeat, MILKY WAY! Really, wow!

2. Sagada, Philippines

Photo grabbed from http://dangwerelost.com

I’ve been in Baguio for many times already but have not gotten any chance to visit the gorgeous Sagada. This place became even more popular because the movie “That Thing Called Tadhana” – where do broken hearts go, eh? 🙂 I even read somewhere that there is this place called Marlboro Country where you could spot wild horses. I wonder if I’d still be able to spot wild horses in there because if yes, that would be really one of a kind experience for me! I also know that it’s always crowded in there now but, I don’t care! 😛

3. Japan

Photo grabbed from http://thetummytrain.com

Tell me, who doesn’t want to visit Japan?! Definitely, not me! My dream country to visit since I was a child, probably influenced by my Otousan who worked there for years and of course, the Anime. Currently, I don’t know which city to visit yet because I think I’ll enjoy the place as long as it’s in Japan. Haha! I prefer to visit during Autumn instead of the season of Cherry Blossom~

These are my current top picks, though I’d like to visit more than three places for this year.
How about you? What are the places you’d like to visit? 🙂


We Live To Explore

In my previous blog, I have shared that I bought my first camera, Fujifilm X-A2! The Fujifilm X-A2 is a mirrorless camera that is good for entry-level and upon research, these are the key features of X-A2:

  • 175° tilting LCD screen with face and eye detection (hello, selfie!)
  • 16.3-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Newly-developed Eye auto focus (AF), Auto Macro AF and Multi-Target AF
  • 5.6fps burst shooting
  • Built-in wi-fi (photos from the camera could transfer immediately to mobile phones)
  • A pop-up flash and external hotshoe
  • Classic Chrome film simulation mode
  • Full HD video recording capabilities at 30 frames per second and a multiple exposure mode

I am currently using the new XC 16-50mm II (24-76mm) F3.5-5.6 OIS zoom lens, which I think is the most basic kit lens of X-A2 (correct me if I’m wrong). What I also like about this camera are the built-in range of film simulation modes and creative effects, which helps me to take better photos. 🙂

Last week, I have spent my off-days to get lost and wander with my camera, just so that I could try out its different features… They think I’m crazy for doing it, but no! You know how much I like going out, right?! Haha! That’s why the title of this post is “We Live To Explore“. With that being said, let me share with you the unedited photos that I have taken. SOME of the photos that I have uploaded on my Instagram account are edited and filtered using VSCO app. However, if you’ll look at the unedited photos, there’s no need for filter anymore. 🙂

Any thoughts, comment or suggestion about my shots? 🙂 If you haven’t noticed, I like playing with sunlight and shadows. <3


Weekend Getaway at Baguio City V.2

It was surely an unplanned Baguio visit with my team mates. Februrary 26, 2016 – we didn’t even know that it’s Panagbenga Festival! *chuckles*

We all agreed to meet in Victory Liner, Cubao at around 5AM. I told them that I’ll buy bus tickets for us since I’m the first one to get there. Sad to say, the earliest possible that we could get was at 10:30AM. Yes, I did buy the tickets because #YOLO, it’s now or never! Haha. So we had to wait for 5 more hours and was hoping to be a chance passenger in earlier trips, but still nah.

Chance Passenger

Arrived in Baguio City at 5PM then we checked-in Hotel Veniz. I have missed the Lomo Ribs of Canto so I dragged them at Ketchup: The Food Community to have our dinner.

Lomo Ribs

No definite plan afterwards, so we just had a night walk around Wright Park, Burnham Park and Session Road. After the long night walks, we finally decided to go back to hotel at around 11PM then watched The Conjuring on HBO!

Burnham Park
© Dominic Dawat

Burnham Park

On the next day, we went back to Burnham Park. The gorgeous scenery and the cool weather, oohh… the things that I always miss to see in Baguio City!

Mines View Park

Nothing much have changed since my last visit. Still a popular place to get cheap pasalubong, plants and to have a cliff overlooking the mountains.

The Mansion

We rode in jeepney from the Mines View Park going down to The Mansion –  the summer residence of the Philippine President. Only good for taking pictures because going inside the mansion is not allowed and other than that, there’s nothing else to do.


Wright Park

Right in front of the Mansion. We often joke that the place and the vibe look like the same from what we see in Koreanovelas. 😛 We have enjoyed the sight of the people walking around, the horse back ride, the pine trees and all the other things that the Wright Park could offer!

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Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden is just 10 minutes walk from the Wright Park. A cool place with nice flowers, photo opportunities and interesting structures such as Chinese pagoda, Golden Gate Bridge, various other bridges and walkways with plenty of shade.

Golden Bridge, OTWOL feels!

Laperal White House

Another famous spot along the Leonard Wood Rd. is the Laperal White House. A Victorian style house with a dark history but it was now transformed into a gallery of Filipino artworks based on bamboo and wood.

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Bagiuo Museum

It was my first time here. The Baguio Museum is a 4 storey building that proudly presents the history and the transformation of Baguio City. There are also displayed paintings that they sell.

IMG_0018 IMG_0011Panagbenga Festival

Just a few shots of the Panabenga Festival because it’s almost time for us to go back to Manila. 🙂

Long walks around Baguio City is so worth it!

CD-R (CJ, Doms and Rika)

Weekend Getaway at Baguio City V.1


Make Your Dream Travel Come True with DLC Backpackers: Your Travel Expert

Travel PR photos 1

Backpacking is definitely in! Not just as a popular mode of traveling, but also as a way of life.

Backpacking was often considered for hiking and camping but in many ways, it is now slowly transforming into an independent and low-cost international travel options for individuals or a group of people.

This trend started as an economical solution for the aspiring travelers who have major budget constraints and now became the most preferred option by many. No matter how well their budget is, the experience of backpacking is truly different.

Travel PR photos 2

Since backpacking is now considered as one of the trendiest travel options by many people from different countries, DLC Backpackers: Your Travel Expert brings the trend in the Philippines! Your travel expert will help you get the best travel packages that will give the worth of your money and an adventure like never before.

DLC Backpackers: Your Travel Expert will make you experience a life changing travel – an adventure that will touch people’s lives. Our travel packages are way more different than the other agencies could offer as we are focused on having a travel adventure with an impact: connecting people, learning other country’s culture and letting you appreciate life in a deeper manner. We are DLC Backpackers: Your Travel Expert.” Says the CEO, Trishie dela Cruz

DLC Backpackers is under the Dream Lead Create or simply DLC Enterprise a company that DREAM about a better society, LEAD a team of highly-motivated young individuals and CREATE innovative and sustainable products and services. DLC promises to deliver state-of-the-art merchandise while restoring humanity through #WeTouchPeople Charity that will receive 5% of the total income to feed hundreds of kids. Know more about their company at dlc-enterprise.com.


Why choose this newest and trendiest travel option, DLC Backpackers?
Because not only that you can help the society by contributing on the “We Touch People Charity”, you will also be able to save as much as Php10,000 compared with regular travel options!

No minimum travel persons required. Solo Backpackers are very much welcome!

Travel Asia for as low as Php6,300/person and experience the adventure of backpacking! Save money while traveling, explore and learn more instead of having a travel agency that will double your travel expenses.

Countries/Cities Available:
Batam Indonesia, Hongkong, Macau China, Shenzen China, Kota Kinabalu Malaysia, Genting Highlands Malaysia, Johor Bahru Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Siem Reap Cambodia, Vietnam.

Here are some of the sample packages that they offer:
They offer FLEXIBLE INSTALLMENT PAYMENT OPTIONS starting for as low as Php2500/month is also available just to help you make your dream travel come true!

You will also get a chance to make new friends from all over the world because DLC Backpackers offers hostel accommodations where you could meet like-minded people – The “Travelers at Heart” kind of people.

Traveling alone? No need to be afraid!
Because you will be able to sleep safely on an 8 to 12-bed dorm-type of room together with other solo travelers!

Hotels are so last year! Hostel is the new in!

Want your privacy?
Private Rooms are also available upon request!

And wait! There’s more! DLC Backpackers also offers LOCAL DESTINATIONS!


DLC Backpackers offers UNIQUE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE and so they want you to reach places that are a lot of people haven’t been yet! Indeed Secret Places and Hidden Paradises!

The destinations on the photos below are just some of their offers starting for as low as Php2,500 per head!

Check out one of their local packages below:


Still confused about the difference of their offer than a regular tour?
Check out this article here: Are you a Tourist or a Traveler?
Take note that what they offer you is to become a TRAVELER.

So, what more could you ask for?
DLC Backpackers even include freebies from their product brands such as the Terrestrimin First Aid Travel Essential and the Terrestrimin ALL-IN-ONE organic spray to protect you during your travel adventure! A perfect travel companion!


What are you waiting for? BOOK NOW!
DLC Backpackers will make traveling easier! And will also help you make your dream travel come true!

Use the discount code AURIKAMATIAS that is specially made for my readers to get 10% OFF when you book a travel deal with them!

No budget yet? Don’t worry!



1.) Like Gumala with Aurika Facebook page.
2.) Like the DLC Backapckers Facebook page, the DLC Enterprise Facebook page and their partner brand Terrestrimin.
3.) Share this blog post on your Facebook wall with the caption “TRAVEL AROUND ASIA FOR FREE! DLC Backpackers will give you an adventure that touch people’s lives” to be followed with your answer on why you deserve to win this giveaway. Don’t forget to use the hashtags #WeTouchPeople and #DLCbackpackers to make your entry eligible.
4.) Tag 7 of your friends on the comments section of your post.

Giveaway Banner 1

We will closely monitor your participation so best of luck!
Winners will be drawn randomly on April 24, 2016.


Mt. Manalmon: Day Hike And More Adventures At Sitio Madlum

We went to Sitio Madlum, San Miguel, Bulacan by a private car but if you prefer to commute, there are buses in Cubao that are bound to San Miguel, Bulacan. Arrived at Sitio Madlum around 10:30 AM; packed the things to bring for our day hike, left our extra clothes inside the car then we headed to registration area immediately. Glad that I’m with two people who have been there for three times already so they already know the way around. Expenses will be at the bottom of this post. 🙂

Upon arriving in the registration area, the officer informed us about the new rule: No Permit. No Entry. Thankfully, even though we do not have a permit, they allowed us to hike just for this time because we were obviously not aware with the new rule.


The tour guide gave us an option if we want to start from Madlum Cave or hike the Mt. Manalmon first. We chose option 2.

It was a short hike from registration area to Mt. Manalmon’s peak (1hr the outmost), the trail is good for beginners. Well, if you find the hike too short, there are also other mountains around such as Mt. Gola. 🙂 There is a small cave that serve as an entrance to Mt. Manalmon’s trail and we also had to go through the strong current of the river. We rest and had our snack at the peak while enjoying the strong wind and the beautiful view.


Mt. Manalmon

At exactly 1PM, we went down from the peak then headed to the river where we spent some time to swim. There are also cliffs around where you could jump off into the deep parts of the river.


From the river, we headed back to the registration area to rent headlights for our next activity – spelunking inside Madlum Cave – something tick off my bucket list! Since spelunking requires you to use both hands… and your whole body, we thought of leaving our mobile phones inside our bags in the registration area, so we do not have a photo of our spelunking moments. Haha! We have now a reason (an excuse) to go back. 😛

For adventure seekers, you’ll love this Monkey Bridge where you have to go to the other side by walking on wire! But only if you are brave enough to do it because there is another option, use the normal bridge. Haha. Also, they do have a harness now unlike before. Can you imagine yourself walking on a wire without a harness? I might have chickened out!

money bridge


Too much adventure in one place for a day. For my last hike for year 2015, it was one heck of an experience!

Expenses for group of 4:

Registration Fee – Php 40 (Php 5/person)

Tour Guide – Php 500 (Php 125/person)

Headlight rental – Php 30/person

Wash room – Php 10/water gallon (bought 2 gallons per person)

Total expense per person: Php 180 🙂


5 Days Trip Around Surigao

We availed a package for our 5 days trip around Surigao and the first thing that I have noticed with our itinerary is that it takes up a lot of time to travel around Surigao del Sur and Surigao del Norte. Availing a package tour made our trip more relaxing since van rental and accommodations were already included. Package details can be found at the end of this blog post. 🙂

Day 1: Enchanted River, Tunuy-an Falls and La Entrada Resort

bancasi breakfast

Cebu Pacific Air and Philippine Airlines have a direct flight from Manila to Bancasi Airport (Butuan City). Upon arrival, we were immediately greeted by car rental drivers so I guess if you plan to have a DIY trip, you could easily rent a car/van. 🙂

Our tour guide let us taste their Toasted Siopao while driving our way to D’ Home Maker’s Cafe to have some breakfast before we head to Hinatuan Enchanted River. Butuan City to Hinatuan took us 3 hours of travel time.


Rain poured heavily minutes after we arrived in Enchanted River so no fish feeding for us! 🙁 Before we go to swim, we had lunch at Sibadan Fish Cage Resort which is just a short boat ride from Enchanted River. What’s fun about Sibadan is that you could swim with the stingray named Brenda and feed the big fishes!



Even though we did not experience the fish feeding, I’m still amazed by its bluish clear water and also curious about what’s inside the underground cave of Enchanted River. Nothing much to do though, we just spent an hour swimming around the river before going to Tinuy-an Falls.


Tinuy-an Falls is said to be the little Niagra Falls and the widest waterfall in the Philippines. It was already getting dark when we arrived in Tinuy-an Falls and the waterfall was strongly splashing but you could still see how beautiful the little Niagra is! 2 hours away from Tinuy-an Falls, we have finally reached the famous La Entrada Resort where we had our dinner and spent the night.

La Entrada

Day 2: Britania Group of Islands, Cagwait and Cinnamon Island Resort 

Started our day with an island hopping! Britania Group of Islands is composed of 24 islands and islets but we managed to visit Hagonoy, Naked and Boslon islands only. Snorkeling is not part of the activity since there’s nothing much to see under the water.


After 3 hours of travelling from La Entrada Resort, we stopped over at Spacebar Beach Resort which is known as the Boracay of Cagwait – where we rest, enjoyed the beach for a while and had lunch because our next destination will be at Hayabangon Port which is 4 hours drive away! Then 45 minutes boat ride from the port, we have reached our final destination – Cinnamon Island Resort.


Cinnamon Island Resort is located in Bucas Grande, Socorro. Cinnamon is called such because of the cinnamon trees that grow in the island. They also served cinnamon tea which for me, it taste like cinnamon blended with peppermint. 🙂

Day 3: Sohoton Tour

The tour consists of going to Tiktikan Lake, Hagukan Cave, Makukuob Cave and Sohoton Jellyfish Sanctuary.

Tiktikan Lake

12241492_10205465377539983_917263160359584953_nWill need to trek for about 5 minutes from the cottage before you could see the Tiktikan Lake. The lake water is calm and surrounded with forest trees – a very serene view. Water creatures such as big fishes and crabs also live here.

© Jila Reyes

Swimming in the lake is not advisable but don’t worry, there’s a diving board near the cottage!

Hagukan Cave

The guide said that we should be there during low-tide because the entrance of the cave gets submerged during high-tide. But what we did is different, we dived to get inside the cave! When inside, you’ll hear a snoring sound as the water slams into the cave. The ample light coming from the entrance of the cave makes the water luminous green color.

Makukuob Cave

Inside the cave awaits majestic stalactite and stalagmite formations so don’t forget to wear a helmet for safety. Once you’re inside, the only way out is to jump off the cliff!

Sohoton Jellyfish Sanctuary

© Erika Arcamo

My first time touch a real jellyfish! 🙂 They are stingless, slimy and cute. Haha. The best time to visit is from April – June. Just a reminder, do not lift the jellyfish out of the water because they easily dry up and die.

Day 4: The Board Walk at Cloud 9, Siargao and Ronaldo’s Inn & Resto Bar

We packed our things early in the morning because we will now transfer to Siargao. It was a 2 uncomfortable hours boat ride from Cinnamon Resort to Siargo. We checked in Ronaldo’s Inn first before proceeding to our most awaited activity, surfing!


© Jila Reyes

The Board Walk at Cloud 9 have the best access and views of the famous Cloud 9 surf break. The weather was bad so the waves are strong and heavy but not bad enough for us not to surf.


We also tried the three layered cheese of Avenito’s Pizza! Yum <3

Day 5: Siargao to Bancasi Airport

Pasalubong day and a short side trip at Bood Promotory Eco-Park in Butuan City wherein they believed that the first blood compact happened. No planned activity other than that since most of our time was spent for travelling back to Bancasi Airport.

Package details:

You may visit this site to check their packages or you may contact directly our tour guide Kuya Philip through this number: 09985590527

For our package, it was Php 8,950/person – foods, accomodation and transportation included. Price may change depending on your itinerary or accommodation requests. 🙂 If you have any questions, feel free to ask me!


Mt. Pinatubo: Weekend Escapade

Mt. Pinatubo

The volcano’s eruption on  June 15th 1991 was truly a nightmare; it caused several earthquakes which resulted in the collapse of summit and the creation of caldera. It was a nightmare that surprisingly left us a beautiful crater lake.

For this trip, we had a package deal from Majestic Mount Pinatubo which costs Php 1900/person. Foods, snacks and van rental are excluded but they have a public van from Manila going to Tarlac and vice-versa. The 4×4 ride made it quite pricey.4x4 ride

rocky road Trekking Mt. Pinatubo doesn’t necessarily need to camp out since it was just a 2 hours trek, excluding the 1.5hr 4×4 ride. Expect the trail to be bumpy because it was badly damaged by the eruption and sometimes you have to cross rivers so it’s better to wear a wettable shoes.

crater lake

Reaching the crater lake will make you see the worth of all your effort and sweat. Though swimming in to the lake has been prohibited since 2013, the breathtaking view of the crater lake will leave you in awe. The surrounding is really wonderful and peaceful!


group pic


We were lucky enough that the weather is nice and cool during our trek. 🙂

Mt. Batulao: Traverse Day Hike


Mt. Batulao

Mt. Batulao is located at Nasugbu, Batangas and is 811 meters above sea level. The accessibility, the 360 degrees breathtaking view of Batangas and the amazing landscape of the mountain makes it one of the perfect getaway from city. It is also one of the top mountains for beginners.

new trail

Mt. Batulao have two trails, the Old and New trail, which gives you an option on which trail to take first. Our group took New to Old trail which I think is easier than the other way around because if you took Old trail first, you have to climb through boulders.


mt. batulao

We may have encountered challenges such as muddy trails, leg cramps, steep slopes and long walks under the scorching heat of the sun but overall, everything went good because the trail is so easy that you won’t get lost. I suggest to buy a bamboo stick for Php 10 as your trekking pole if the trail is muddy, it will make your trekking easier!

We immediately ordered Halo-Halo upon reaching the summit. Yes! they sell Halo-Halo at the top of the mountain! Something to enjoy while resting after a long walk. 🙂


The usual group photo and photo ops when you reached the summit 😛


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So here’s the part where we have to rappel down via Old trail. Some locals just ran on it like a ninja while we struggle our way down! Unbelievable!


After rappelling down, we had another long walk going back to registration area. That’s all for Mt. Batulao! Personally, this is my easiest day hike and I like it there because they sell Halo-Halo. Haha!

Throwback: Birthday Travel at Singapore


Another #TBT post!

I started a Throwback Thursday post last week to motivate myself to post more. 🙂 Last week was about Hong Kong trip with my family, so for today, it will be about my Singapore trip.

As a birthday gift for myself, I decided to book a flight going to Singapore together with my boyfriend months after our trip to Hong Kong. I will share some of what we did during our stay at Singapore. 🙂

Day 1: Manila to Singapore

We were supposed to depart at 1:30 PM from NAIA Terminal 3 but got delayed for 45  minutes, though we were compensated with a free round-trip ticket on our next flight by Cebu Pacific airline. <3

Arrived in Singapore at around 6 PM. We went to Lucky Plaza after leaving our bags in hotel because according in our research, that place is where we can get the best exchange rate. Then had dinner at ION Orchard before going back to hotel.

Day 2: Universal Studios Singapore and Skyline Luge Sentosa

Universal Studios Singapore one day pass ticket costs S$74 and each each regular price day pass has a validity period of 30 days from the selected date of visit. Since it was weekend, we assumed that there will a lot of people that day so we bought another ticket called Universal Express a.k.a V.I.P Pass for S$30 and it can be used only one time at each participating attraction.

It only took us only 2 hours to explore the whole USS because we were able to skip long lines. 🙂 We had a Japanese cuisine for our lunch (I forgot the name of the restaurant. Hehe) then explored the rest of Sentosa afterwards.

We have tried the Skyline Luge Sentosa for S$25 (combo 3 Luge and 3 Skyrides). There was a sudden rain that day but will still managed to enjoy both rides. After exploring the whole Sentosa, we moved Suntec City to visit the Fountain of Wealth.

Day 3: Premium City Pass Sky, Land and Sea Adventure

We bought a package deal from Singapore City Pass that costs S$79.90. Package includes:

BubbleJet River Hopper (Usual Price: S$25) – Cruise along Marina Bay and Singapore River on a Bubblejet in cool, air-conditioned comfort!

FunVee Open Top Bus Hopper  (Usual Price: $34.80) – Explore sunny Singapore! On-board the FunVee open-top bus and feel the refreshing tropical breeze!

Singapore Sling Flight or Signature Cocktail Flight (Usual Price $69) – Daily Flights: 2.30pm, 3.30pm, 4.30pm, 5.30pm

Gardens by the Bay (Usual Price: $28) – Visit the 2 cooled conservatories (Flower Dome and Cloud Forest) and marvel at the magnificent floral and botanical wonders.

After exploring Gardens by the Bay, we went to see Merlion Park.

Day 4: Pasalubong and flight back to Manila

Before our flight going back to Manila, we had a quick lunch with a friend and Pasalubong shopping at Chinatown Heritage Centre. You could find cheap bundled souvenirs, bags, mugs, key chains and etc. there. 🙂

We haven’t explored the Whole Singapore yet so we will definitely go back. Also, as far as I know, there were newly open rides in USS!

VISUAL: Weekend Getaway at Baguio City

Baguio City is also known as Summer Capital of the Philippines because of its cool climate. One of the favorite destination of locals and tourists anytime of the year.

Last weekend, we had a chance to visit Baguio City again. It’s been a rainy week but I still chose to wear shorts at Baguio City despite of its cold weather. Damn, never again! Haha.

Some may not know yet, I like mobile photography. You may check some of my shots in my Instagram and Twenty20 accounts. 🙂

So below are some photos that I randomly took:

Ketchup Food Community
Ketchup Food Community
Ice Cream Dessert at Canto, Ketchup Food Community
Ice Cream Dessert at Canto, Ketchup Food Community

Starwberry Icecream at Strawberry Farm, La Trinidad
Starwberry Icecream at Strawberry Farm, La Trinidad
Butterfly over Daisies
Butterfly over Daisies
Cemetery of Negativism  at Camp John Hay
Cemetery of Negativism at Camp John Hay
The Manor x Trees
The Manor x Trees

Painting inside The Manor
Painting inside The Manor
Mt Cloud, a hidden bookstore at Hill Top
Mt Cloud, a hidden bookstore at Hilltop Station
Baguio City is a perfect destination if you want to unwind or chill for the mean time. 🙂

Hope you had a great weekend too!