Resort Review: Bravo Beach Resort, Siargao

Address: Barangay 5,, Tourism Rd, General Luna, Surigao del Norte
Wifi: Only in the Restaurant. Barely reaches the room.

I first found out about Bravo in 2016, when my boyfriend and I went there for drinks one night. We were both so amazed at how lively and full their restaurant was, that we regretted not staying in this resort. The place we were staying in at the time was dead during the night. Here, it was filled with all sorts of travellers who brought with them their youthful energy. Some were eagerly playing cards on the table next to ours, while most were just talking in a bubble of enthusiasm. Just observing this was already fun for us. So as we were about to go home, Douglas and I agreed that we’d stay in Bravo the next time we came to visit Siargao.

Well, I followed through on that agreement sans Douglas (sorry babe), and Bravo Beach Resort did not disappoint.

The Room

1. It’s super clean.

You know how sand just accumulates inside your room or bathroom after you get inside from the beach? Hate that. Luckily, that had never happened in Bravo because they clean the rooms every day. For a mere 920 pesos per bed per night, that’s quite luxury.

And for the sake of comparison, we paid 2,000 pesos/night for our room, in our previous resort, but the staff didn’t bother to clean it at all.

2. It’s spacious.

Although I shared the room with four other people, it was still big enough that it didn’t feel cramped.

3. It’s got lockers inside.

Because where else would we put our valuables away from the strangers we’re sleeping with? Bring your own padlocks.

The Necessities

1. The Bed

It was quite comfortable. I can’t say the same for the pillows and the blankets though. I would say that the pillows touch the fine line between being comfortable and not so much. The blankets are so thin that it felt like I had no blanket at all. I got cold every night, even when we set the airconditioning higher (also thanks to the night breeze).

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2. The Bath Necessities

They offer one beach towel, one room towel, and an unlimited supply of toilet rolls. That’s it. So bring your own necessities 🙂

3. The Toilet and The Shower

These two are in separate doors, which makes the place even more comfortable. You don’t have to wait for your roomate to finish showering, just so you can take a dump.

The Restuarant

1. Free Breakfast

You would think that paying 920 pesos a night won’t get you much for breakfast. Wrong. Bravo’s got quite a good selection of food. Out of the options, you can pick at least three orders for no extra charge. And just to compare (again), our previous resort only had the usual egg, rice, and bacon for breakfast. How boring.

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First Breakfast in Bravo: A fruit bowl, two pancakes, and greek yogurt. Coffee.
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Second Breakfast in Bravo: baked beans, poached eggs, bread. Water. Lemon Juice

2. The other meals

The food in Bravo is far from disappointing. It’s actually one of the restaurants that I would keep going back to. But even though the food I had there were all flavorful, I can’t say that they were the best.

Aside from that, they’re mostly focused on Spanish cuisines, which I don’t mind but a little variety would have been interesting. Anyway, I was able to visit other restaurants, so I won’t dwell on that.

They have the best signature drink though, which is called a Pomada – a cocktail of gin and lime and probably honey (?) Who knows. They mix it with crushed ice, so it’s like drinking a 7-Eleven Slurpee. It’s perfect for the tropical heat. It’s what everbody was drinking over there, I noticed.

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BLT Panini

3. The Plunge Pool

Their adorable plunge pool is right in front of the restaurant. Sometimes, it can get crowded with men with perfect abs, so it makes for a good view. LOL. Or you know, it’s useful for when you want to take a dip after that monster of a burger.

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4. The Sofas

Their restaurant also makes for a great spot to hangout in; this is obviously why it’s always packed from the afternoons into the evenings. When everybody just feels like lounging around, Bravo’s sofa beds are there for you. Plus, the wind coming through this place is heaven sent!

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The Beach

I saw that people don’t really use Bravo’s beach for swimming. Women mostly just lay on the sand to tan and that’s it, which is a waste because Bravo’s beach is clean, calm, and less rockly than most of Siargao’s shores. They also have the best views of the sunrise and the sunset. Bravo placed themselves in such a good spot that it makes me mad that I don’t live there.

Siargao Solo Adventures: I celebrated my birthday with strangers! (PART ONE)

Okay, so I said in my previous post that I wanted to be alone for my birthday. Yeah that didn’t happen. But as you know, you meet people and plans change.

The Introduction

The first people I befriended were two brothers from the Netherlands. We rode on the same propeller plane. Matthias and Jonathan were seated together while I was in the same row, but at the other side of the aisle. Right after the captain turned off the seatbelt sign, Matthias stood up to get a jacket from the overhead bin, since this tiny aircraft was getting surprisingly cold. He had been wearing only a tank top and khaki shorts. This amused me, so I made a comment about the temperature. Our conversation started there and only stopped once we retreated to our respective resorts.

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This is what Matthias’ back looks like. lol. I unfortunately wasn’t able to take a pic of the brother

The second is a beautiful Irish lady, Rebecca, who also came as a solo traveler. She’s been traveling for two months, and will be done after her sixth. She was my roommate for the three nights I stayed in Siargao (did I forget to mention that I’m back in the city?). She was really nice to let me stick with her – from eating breakfast, to lazing under the sun, to napping on the beach sofas. For the outsider, it might have looked like we were bestfriends who came backpacking together from Ireland (or from Australia since that’s where Rebecca lived before travelling). Funnily enough, we also left Siargao on the same day!

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Rebecca and I reading on the sofa-couch-bed

If only I didn’t look like such a local.

For other people, this would have been weird. But Rebecca seemed like such a sport about it; so did Marianne and Gerard, whom Rebecca and I met while we went island hopping. We were in a small pump boat that had 9 other people on it, including the local boatmen. And aside from those boatmen, Mariane, Gerard, and I were the only Filipinos there. We hit it off after I approaced them on the shore, telling them I wanted a way to take my bikini shots without feeling embarrassed. They were so nice to have offered to take my pictures. Gerard ended up instructing me how to pose, while taking my pictures.

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That’s Marianne taking a pic of Gerard. #FrienshipGoals

So nice of him!

You are my Italy, Siargao. 


I fell in love with you in 2016, and now you’ve pulled me in even deeper. 

You are probably the only island I’ve ever been to, in the Philippines, that’s made me feel like I wasn’t in our own country. I love how you keep everyone here on their guards, because we might just stay longer if we’re not careful. I admire how you’ve influenced everyone living here to keep you clean and green, forcing restaurants to use metal or stems as straws. 

You fill me with adoration every time i stop to take in the moment. Even just looking at your street now, it makes me giddy with excitement. 

I love how, as I’m sitting here, both locals and expats passing on their motorbikes, will look me in the eye and nod their heads, as if they know me. And i find it cute hearing people shout the names of passers by because, here, everyone knows. Every. Body. Save for the tourists. 

It’s great here. It’s beautiful. Watch out Siargao, I might just move to this island.

4 things I love about Hamamatsu Flower Park

If I were to rank my favorite places to visit in another country, flower parks would probably be somewhere at the bottom of that list. You can imagine how a bit disappointed I was when, in Hamamatsu, our first order of business was to go to one.

Before buying our tickets for the Hamamatsu Flower Park, I didn’t feel any excitement or appreciation towards it. I mean, what else was there to see aside from flowers?! I’ve always been a see structure, see buildings kind of girl. Even while we were inside the gates, watching my mom pose for pictures, I told myself that the day was going to be excruciatingly slow. It was, but not for the reason that you’d think.

I was surprisingly the one who slowed down the group, because I ended up taking pictures in every corner of the place. There were so many parts of the flower park that I couldn’t get over with.

The rose garden

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The roses took up a big portion of the area. It’s landscaping is circular and a bit like a maze. Different colors were spread in every part of the circle, so rich in vibrance. If it were possible to go blind from looking at those flowers, it probably would have happened to me (and my mom).

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It’s shameful of me to have forgotten the name of this room, but just look at this arrangement. I can see romantic photoshoots and movie scenes happening here. It’s like a picture taken out of a fairy tale book.

This could be a place where the princess spends most of her time, singing to the flowers and talking to the butterflies.

I can tell that this room was very well planned out, seeing that the colors match each other.

These backgrounds

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I’m sure that you can’t tell by simply reading these words, but I am getting giddy just looking at these pictures. The striking colors, and the fact that they show such peaceful harmony, make me think of hopeful tomorrows, and achievable dreams. Flowers do create a sense of happiness!

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The rose flavored ice cream

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The flower park had a green house where their guests could sit and recover from the brilliant sun. Inside it, is a store that sells differen flavored ice creams. I ordered the rose flavored one since I’ve never heard of this before. I’ve had matcha and sesame seeds, but never rose flavored. The store sells sakura flavored ice creams too, but unfortunately, we came late for sakura season.

The ice cream tasted sweet, just like every other ice cream in the world, but it definitely had the aftertaste of a rose. It actually felt like I was smelling rose rather than tasting it.

There are still so many aspects of the flower park that I admired, like the many options of desserts and snacks inside their souvenir shop. But the ones I listed above are those where I took my time more. It’s safe to say that I fell in love with the place, despite my previous cynicism.

4 Things to Admire about Taipei 101

Ever since I posted about my trip to Taipei, ads on the admirable country have strategically popped up whenever I scroll through my facebook feed. Whenever I see them the only thought that forms in my head is, “I hope other people are seeing this,” because they should know how stunning Taipei is!

Along with these ads come striking photos of the famed Taipei 101 – the iconic skyscraper that looms over the rest of metropolitan. Consisting of 101 floors, Taipei 101 held the title of Tallest Building in the World, from 2004 until it was surpassed by the Burj Khalifa in 2010.

But I have insuffecient knowledge to be able to talk about the architectural achievements of this geniusly-made tower. I’ll let Snarkynomad’s article, “Why Taipei 101 is the coolest skyscraper in the planet” do that. His extensive write-up is amply detailed, yet easily understandable that it’s nowhere near a burden to finish.

I’m really here to talk about what’s inside the tower.

 The Food Court

It’s no surprise that Taipei is home to great food selections, as is the rest of the Asian countries. The food court, on the lower ground floor of Taipei 101, brings together all these delicious, aromatic Asian cuisines at such an easy reach. Literally, it is easily accessible but also figuratively kind to the pocket.

Once you enter, your senses will immediately engage as you take a whiff of the flavorful smell of food; hear the chaotic noise of utensils clinking, oil sizzling, and people with different languages talking – loudly.

I wouldn’t call it an ordinary food court though, otherwise, what would be the point in talking about it if it were, right? Taipei 101’s food court is a premium joint that offers the “real deal” for not-so-premium prices. At least, that’s what my boyfriend likes to point out.

Din Tai Fung

There are heaps of gems inside the acclaimed tower, but for food enthusiasts, Din Tai Fung may be their piece of cake. Sure the Michelin rated restaurant has a number of branches in all of Taipei, but if you’re already in Taipei 101 (to go up the observatory no doubt), you might as well enjoy the goodies in this branch.

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There will always be a mindblowing amount of people waiting outside this particular Din Tai Fung, since it is inside a tourist attraction. Consequently, waiting for an hour or even more is an experience that needs a great deal of patience. But it’s worth it once you get a taste of their famous xiaolongbao, along with their long list of dimsum goodies.

What to eat at Din Tai Fung

I can’t say the same for all the branches but in this particular one, you can see the huddle of neatly dressed chefs expertly making their celebrated dumplings by hand. This is what makes the place worthwhile since one is able to enjoy his food and simultaneously get entertained by the deftness of the restaurant’s kitchen staff.

The second fastest elevator in the world

Taipei 101 formerly held the title of having the fastest elevator in the world, moving at 60 km/h, before the Shanghai tower came about. And according to wikipedia (no shame), the contraption can bring you from the 5th to the 89th floor in 37 seconds. There’s no harm in me believing the questionable website as this statement is proven by the video that my boyfriend posted when he rode on Taipei 101’s elevator.

Snarkynomad also points out that the elevators go up so smoothly that someone actually balanced a coin on its edge, and it stayed upright even as they reached the top! Clearly, a ride on the skyscraper’s elevetors isn’t one to miss. It’s like an amusement park ride that everyone, who went, should be able to say that they rode on. The space mountain in every Disneyland.

The Starbucks on the 35th floor

Every tourist, who knows about the Starbucks on the 35th floor of Taipei 101, likes to think of it as a secret that no other tourist is aware of, even though they already are. Be that as it may, I’m calling this not-so-hidden gem the best treasure for the reason that it offers a bird’s eye view of the city without burning a hole in your pockets.

View from Starbucks on Taipei 101

Going up to Taipei 101’s observatory can cost you 600 TWD. Starbucks, on the other hand, charges only a third of that price. Not only can you get comfortable in front of an astonishing view, but you also get to delight yourself in a fulfilling brunch. The only downside to this is that visitors are only allowed to stay for an hour and a half. Although an hour and a half is more than enough time to get over the serenity of the city.

DIY trip to Jiufen: How to get there

If you enjoy street food, cheap shopping, mersmirizing views of the Pacific Ocean, or if you’re just a really big fan Hayao Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away,” then you need to get yourself to Jiufen.

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A former, almost forgotten gold mining town, modern day Jiufen has transformed itself into one of the most visited tourist destinations in Taiwan. This comes as no surprise, as the energy from hawking food vendors and shuffling tourists is a cultural experience of its own – one that you wouldn’t want to miss.

Going to Jiufen is one of the easiest excursions that I’ve done in my five years of DIY traveling. If I, the most worrisome person that I know, was able do it alone then I’m pretty sure that everyone else can. So if you ever find yourself planning a trip to Taiwan and including Jiufen in your itinerary, here’s how to get there:

1. By Tripool

Great news! I recently found out that Round Taiwan Round has come up with a revolutionary, but most importantly, cost efficient way for group travel. They’ve introduced to us Tripool, which enables us travelers to enjoy the cost-benefit of carpool, but also have the luxury to customize our itineraries for our chosen areas.

For only 30 USD per person, or 70 USD per person for an English tour guide, not only will you enjoy the privacy of a smaller group during your ride to Jiufen, you will also have the chance to see other notable spots within the area! This is the easiest way to go, if you ask me.

The even greater news?

You can get 5% off your purchase if you use the code CebuAdv at https://www.rtaiwanr.com/jiufen/jiufen-custom-shared-tour

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2.  By Train

This is probably the fastest (50-60 mins.) way to get to Jiufen, although it won’t bring you directly to Jiufen.

For around 50 to 80 TWD, your first leg of the ride will start in Taipei Main Station, from there you will need to ride whichever railway train that will bring you to Riufang Railway Station. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you which platform or what color line the trains run on, because their platform numbers change and railway trains do not have colors like the MRT. You’ll be on your own on that one, buddy.

Once you step out of Riufang Station’s main entrance, make sure that you’ll face Mingdeng Road Sec. 3. Cross to the other side of the road and look for the lone bus stop. Wait for the Keelung bus with Jinguashih as its last stop. I’m not sure about the bus number but the bus will most likely have a big flashing sign in front of it that says JINGUASHI. If not, you can ask for the number from the personnel at the information booth inside the station.

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Jiufen is the last stop before Jinguashi. It will take about 10 – 15 minutes to get there from the station.

3. By Bus

By bus is how I traveled to Jiufen, so I can be a little more specific here. This takes about 2 hours and it will bring you directly to Jiufen for 113 TWD, which isn’t so bad.

You will need to start from whichever MRT you’ll be nearest at and navigate your way to Zhongxiao Fuxing Station, which is where the blue and brown MRT lines meet.

This is the train station that you need to go to for Jiufen Old Town Taipei

At the station, get out at Exit 2 and follow the sidewalk to your right until you find a bus stop below an overpass. You can also go through Exit 1 and just cross the street towards the second exit.

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The bus to take to get to Jiufen Old Town in Taiwan

At the bus stop, wait for the bus 1062 with Jinguashi as its last destination. As I previously mentioned, Jiufen is the destination right before Jinguashi so watch out for that on the indicator inside the bus. You’ll know you’re there once the bus stops in front an extremely fine view of the ocean.

The view from Jiufen Old Town, Taipei Taiwan