Monday, 16 March 2015

4 Things That Only The Sea Can Offer You

Banul beach, Coron, Palawan. (2014)

I so love the sea! And why not? Perhaps these pictures can explain better and entice you to head over to the nearest beach the soonest you can!

1. Tranquility

Whenever I go to the spa or search for music that offers peaceful sounds, I usually hear the sound of waves. Listening to the waves feels like being lulled to sleep while on a swing. Zzzzz....

The gentle waves at Capones Island, Zambales. (2015)

2. Surfing!

I just tried surfing this year and though I am not really good at it, I would like to do it again because of the thrill.

Baler, Aurora. (2015)

For those residing in Manila and the South and thinks Aurora is way too far, fear not. You can find more surfing spots here.

3. Colourful Marine Life

I'll be honest, I dig the beach so I can snorkel. I enjoy swimming idly while watching colourful fishes and corals. And you can't blame me, hails the Philippines as the world's center for marine biodiversity and cited that this is because of the warm climate, stable water temperature and lots of sunlight which sustains marine organisms. These photos are proof.

Marlin was looking at the wrong place. Nemo was in Anilao, Batangas all along!  (2011) 

Feeding the fish at a marine sanctuary in Puerto Galera. (2011)
Coron, Palawan (2014)

Coron, Palawan (2014)

4. Breathtaking Seascape

As has stated, the Philippines has one of the longest coastlines in the world. And with more than 7,100 islands, there's one view that will surely captivate you...

White Beach, Puerto Galera. (2011)

Patar Beach, Bolinao, Pangasinan (2014)

Kayangan Lake, Coron, Palawan. Saltwater from the sea beyond the walls of
Kayangan Lake meets freshwater from within. (2014)

Coron, Palawan (2014)

Capones Island, Pundaquit, Zambales (2015)

There are more reasons to go sunbathing, water-splashing and what-have-yous. These are just my top four. And wherever you'll decide to go, don't ever forget your sunblock!

All photos taken by hubby. Check out more of his works here.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Pulau Tioman | Discover. Swim. Snorkel. [Day 2 &3]

I had the impression that holidays and Saturdays are opportunities for sleeping in, but no, not today. Firstly, we arrived late for dinner last night and got left-overs. So much for buffet deals. Secondly, our snorkelling excursion was scheduled in the morning as well and I would like to try wearing fins so I need to get to the rentals area early before all the good ones get taken away. So we had to get up early to get a decent breakfast, get my fins and buy snacks and water to take with us for the excursion.

The beach looked peaceful again as ALMOST ALL of the guests at the resort joined in the snorkelling trip.

Day 2

Big breakfast for a big day!

We have two destinations for our snorkelling adventure: Renggis Island and Marine Sanctuary. 

Our first stop is at Renggis Island and I have read that turtles frequent the area so we were excited to spot one!

It was quite a sight to behold but the corals appear dead.

Hubby is fond of free diving. Using an SJ4000, he scours the bottom of the sea,
hopeful to catch a glimpse of a turtle and have it on record.

We snorkelled for about an hour but, sadly, we weren't able to see even one turtle. Perhaps the turtles were scared away by the splashing and noise of the snorkellers. Note to self: avoid snorkelling with a large group to enjoy the moment and see more fish and marine animals.

Next stop is the Marine Sanctuary. The area is marked (facing the beach) by a hill on the left and a bridge on the right and roped off to warn snorkellers away from the deeper parts of the sea.

From the jetty, guests can jump right off into the water or walk to the beach.

Instead of corals, broken concrete structures are found at the bottom of the sanctuary. Over time, these became home to the countless fishes roaming the area. Tourists were allowed to throw bread crumbs (sometimes the whole bread!), thus, the fish became used to the tourists coming to the place. And they also don't mind snorkellers swimming close to them

(Top left) A man slowly feeds the fish by shaking bread out of a bottle.
Why'd he put them there in the first place?
(Top right) The pillars of the bridge got covered with shells. The bottom of the sanctuary looks similar to this.
(Bottom) Fish here are too cheeky. they'd swim up close to you!

I find the fish here look less colourful than the ones in Palawan and Puerto Galera, Philippines. But I only got to experience fish swimming past me idly here! Wait, perhaps I appear like a mermaid to them. Ha-ha!

We cannot resist a selfie inspite of fogged masks.

We stayed at the Marine Sanctuary for about an hour. Before 12 pm, we headed back to the resort for lunch.

After a short rest, we felt the tug of the sea once more. Believing we haven't had enough snorkelling yet, we went back to the beach. Knowing it was low tide, we just need to find the perfect spot to take a dip. 

The sea looks promising even if it's a low tide.

I only had to get in this deep to see beautiful corals.

I liked the corals near the resort better. Too bad the water level is too low for snorkelling,
I'd probably scrape my knees if I try to and damage the corals.

Day 3

All holidays need to come to an end. Our holiday was short but full of adventures. We had our fill of our favourite hobby (snorkelling) and even met new friends.

Food is a bit pricey at Paya Beach Resort so we looked for other choices at Kampung Paya
and found this burger joint.
Ryan & Jamie: new friends we met at Tioman.

The way back to the jetty looks long and weary.

Hubby also made a video of our adventure in Tioman island. If the video below does not play, watch it here.


Here's the timeline of our trip to Tioman Island:

0630 meeting time at DFS
0640 depart from DFS and travel towards woodlands checkpoint (show passport only)
0645 from woodlands, travel to Johor Bahru immigration 
0700 from immigration, travel to breakfast area for 30 minutes
0730 breakfast time
0815 from breakfast area, travel to Tanjong Gemok for 2 hours
1030 arrival at Tanjong Gemok
1100 board ferry and travel to tioman for 2 hours
1310 check-in at Paya Beach Resort

It was a nice joyride through Malaysia. In fact, the only thing I didn't like about the whole trip was the ferry ride, which was very uncomfortable due to poor air-conditioning and hard seats. 

Nevertheless, the journey maybe long but it was worth it because of two reasons: we enjoyed the snorkelling and freediving activity; and the resort itself offered sights and gest. Plus, we met new people! 

Hope you'll enjoy Tioman Island like us!

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Pulau Tioman | Discover. Swim. Snorkel. [Day 1]

So, I wanted name this blog a journal but honestly, I am posting my travels randomly, so I decided against it. And this time, I want to share our holiday at Pulau Tioman in Malaysia in celebration of hubby's birthday last October 2014.

The rich marine life of Pulau Tioman. Doesn't it look inviting to go snorkelling there?

Pulau Tioman, or Tioman island, is accessible via ferry either from Mersing port or Tanjung Gemok jetty. I bought the deal from Groupon thinking I can save more because of the following inclusions:

  • 3D2N Paya Beach Resort Standard Chalet Stay 
  • 2 Way Ferry 
  • 2 Way Coach Transfer 
  • Daily Breakfast 
  • 1 x Lunch
  • 2 x Buffet Dinner 
  • Welcome drinks upon arrival (non-alcoholic) 
  • Choose 1 Activity: Snorkeling Excursion to Renggis Island & Marine Park (exclude equipment) or Trekking Trip to Rock Fall through rainforest

But I had to pay surcharges for the weekend stay. Turns out those who booked straight from the resort's website did not have to. But check for yourself. Here is the link  to check the resort's seasonal packages.

Day 1

We were up before 5 am to catch the bus ride and by the time we got on the ferry which will take us to Tioman, hubby and I were getting restless and grumpy. But all that crankiness faded away when we caught sight of the island. 

What a breathtaking sight!
Seeing this makes me just want to drop my bags and jump into the water!

We had to wait awhile, though, because our getting off at kampung Paya (meaning village), which is the next stop.

Hubby enjoyed snapping photos of the beach and everything so we lagged behind all the other guests. Naturally, we were accommodated last and we had to wait for a looong time to get our keys to our chalet.

I love how the wooden bridges connect us and the pond separate us from each other. Sweet contrast.
Different view of our chalet. We were intrigued by the body of water behind our chalet and we were delighted with what we have found out. More of it later!

This our room. Pardon the mess, though, there isn't time to clean up. An adventure awaits us!

The resort was quite HUGE so it was nice of them to provide us with a map. Brilliant idea!

Instead of taking a nap, we opted to explore the place. Armed with the map, cameras and sunblock, we set out to discover more about the resort and the beach.

What a view!

Low tide kicks in at noon. No wonder ferry trips are scheduled in the morning as the water is too low and ferries cannot reach the jetty in the afternoon.

The jetty during low tide.

This island is at the far left of the resort if you are facing the beach.
It is accessible during low tides so we decided to go there.

This swing offers shade, rest and enjoyment to the, um, sunburned (and drunk?) tourist. 

Low tide offers new ways to enjoy the beach. Doesn't this photo make you want to rock-skip all the way to the sea?

Before we reached our destination, we saw a path on our right. We got curious as to where it leads to so we took a side trip. 

The path leads to where ATVs can be rented. The other guests who walked further returned quite fast so we assumed that the ATVs were not available.

Remember the body of water behind our chalet? We realized that the body of water leads to this swamp. Hubby enjoyed taking more photos that something came and almost freaked me out. But its gracefulness captivated me and left us watching out for more.

Anyone looking for a pet?

It was quite a huge monitor lizard compared to what I have seen at Pulau Ubin in Singapore. Perhaps it was the father of all monitor lizards, ha-ha!

It was getting late and hubby wanted to take a dip in the beach so we reluctantly left the place.

I chose to go investigating in between the rocks to see what I can find.

(Top) I believe those were sea cucumbers.
There were mud skippers everywhere but they were either too fast for me or they blended well with the rocks.
Can you spot the mud skipper in the bottom picture?

The tide rises up again at dusk.

The distance of the bar from the beach made me realize how high the tide can get.
The warm glow of the lamps gives the resort a 'cozy' feeling.

And this is just Day 1. The adventure does not stop here! Discover more about Tioman island and our stay on Day 2.

Photo credits go to hubby. See more of his works here.